Monday, April 12, 2010

Definition Please: Flexibility

And we're not talking about back flips and doing the splits. (Although that's being flexible, too.)

One of the things I've learned about writing recently is that you have to be flexible. There are just too many variables to life to have a rigid idea of what writing is and how to do it. What works for one person really won't work for me. My writing process is unique, just like what I write is unique.

As a mom, I cram in my writing time. I have to take what I can get between boo-boos and naps. Some days, there's a bunch of time, but other days, I'm doing really great if I get to open the file and read what I wrote last time. If I weren't flexible, I could easily decide that it wasn't worth it. I mean, who wants to keep working on a project that gets sporadic attention and may take months to finish?

Not only do I have to be flexible about when I write, I have to be willing to bend on what I write. This has become especially true with revision. I have to set aside what I have already written and look at what would be better. Keep the options open. Avoid being rigid in my ideas. Being flexible keeps the story growing and changing until it's something that I never dreamed it could be and is infinitely better than what I first envisioned.

So what does flexibility mean to you? What are you flexible about?

8 comments:

T. Anne said...

I usually take one day off from writing each week. I'm very flexible about which day that is. Usually monday or Sunday.

Talli Roland said...

Oh, I am SO not flexible when it comes to my writing schedule - a real downfall in my programming! I must adhere to my 8 am start or everything goes out the window. I'm really envious of your flexibility - I wish I could be more like that.

Krista V. said...

That last thing you said, about being able to set aside what you've already written so you can write something better, is what flexibility means to me these days. In the past, I've been far too married to my first draft. I'm trying to do better this time around.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Flexibility in my world right now means compromise. Three kids + activities, hubby, full-time job and WIP = lots and lots of compromise. :-)

Tahereh said...

this was a really great post. and i totally agree. i think a writer always has to be open to the possibility of change and compromise. this is such a subjective industry that it can be detrimental to be too rigid.

thanks for sharing :D

Jennifer Shirk said...

Yeah, you have to be flexible with writing, especially being a mommy. :)

India Drummond said...

When I'm really being good about writing, I set a flexible schedule. The schedule part I need because I just write and think better first thing in the morning... by afternoon I'm busy, crabby, and am just wanting the day to move on!

KM said...

I definitely have to be flexible with my schedule, too. I just can't write during the week - school takes over my life Monday to Friday and sometimes invades my weekends. And after writing a zillion papers and reading tons of classic literature, I just can't make myself write anything. Thank goodness for Christmas break and summer! :)