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View Full Version : Which is better: writing or having written?



stefanie_gaither
04-08-2010, 04:01 AM
I'd always thought of the writing process along the lines of the whole 'it's not the destination, it's the journey' type thing. But the other day I went to a convocation at my university featuring a visiting author who admitted that she hated the actual writing part--but she loved having written, which is why she did it. At the time I thought it seemed kind of backwards and unwriterly evenÖwhy would you write if you didnít enjoy the process?

In honest reflection, though, there have been some projects that were torture while I was working on them, but I persevered anyhow because I wanted that satisfying feeling of having completed a work. On the other hand, Iíve written a lot of things where, upon completion, I had mixed feelings. Excited because it was done, but also a little depressed because of the same reason.

So Iím curious about you guysí take on this.


Do you write mostly because you enjoy the process, or the satisfaction of end product? Or both?



When you finish a project, are you generally glad itís over with? Elated by its completion? Can you move on to a new project right away, or do you go through a withdrawal period?

BrooklynLee
04-08-2010, 04:04 AM
I think I enjoy writing -- I actually like doing it, and look forward to spending time with my current writing project. But having done it provides a level of satisfaction that is beyond that day-to-day enjoyment, and is actually one of the most satisfying things I've experienced.

The best parallel I can think of is running. I run for exercise, and part of the way I keep motivated is by doing little races periodically. Just local things. Five miles is my favorite distance, but I'll also do 5ks and 10ks. I could run for exercise without doing the races -- they tend to be fun run type things, and I'm far from a contender -- but the satisfaction of having run a whole five mile race is just better than any workout, and it keeps me coming back for more.

kurzon
04-08-2010, 04:20 AM
Both, but the writing process can at times be slow-going.

My favourite part is probably the first full rewrite/read-through following first draft.

MonaLeigh
04-08-2010, 04:31 AM
When I'm in the zone I love the process of writing. When I'm struggling to get words on the page, I'd like to have already written.

incognitopress
04-08-2010, 04:43 AM
What Lisamarie said. lol. And generally, when I finish a project, I am totally happy and excited and relieved that it is DONE!! I always have other ideas floating around in my head, trying to compete with my current project, and when I finish one book I feel like I'm that much closer to getting to work on the next one - and that is an exciting thing!

larocca
04-08-2010, 04:49 AM
Writing.

I feel great knowing that yes, I can write a book, because I've done it seven times not counting the ones I threw out. I enjoy, once in a while, reading one of the oldies and marvelling that yep, I did that.

But the joy of the actual writing trumps all that. This could be why I keep bringing my only new novel from this century back out of the finished pile for one more rewrite. Three years of revision and still going. :-)

DeleyanLee
04-08-2010, 04:50 AM
A little of both, but usually a lot of "having written" because what I really want is to sit and read it. I'm like my dad in that--he will sit for hour after hour and carefully build models. He doesn't do it because he enjoys building the models (though he occasionally does). He does it because he enjoys looking at the models, but he has to do one to do the other. I've got to write the story in order to read it.

I don't go through a "withdrawal period" when I've finished something, though. It takes a long time for me to play with ideas and get them to a point where I'm totally geeked about writing them, but I don't sit and think about the old book once I've declared it "finished" and moved on.

larocca
04-08-2010, 05:02 AM
Good point, Deleyan. I don't have withdrawal periods.

(Five years ago I would've probably said that finishing a novel leads to a period of great relief, but I'm not that cynical now.)

Tracey Bentley
04-08-2010, 05:08 AM
You can mark me in the "have written" camp.

stefanie_gaither
04-08-2010, 06:30 AM
The best parallel I can think of is running. I run for exercise, and part of the way I keep motivated is by doing little races periodically. Just local things. Five miles is my favorite distance, but I'll also do 5ks and 10ks. I could run for exercise without doing the races -- they tend to be fun run type things, and I'm far from a contender -- but the satisfaction of having run a whole five mile race is just better than any workout, and it keeps me coming back for more.

Love this analogy :)

bettielee
04-08-2010, 06:42 AM
hmm... both. :)

Sometimes, writing feels like laying bricks rather than bringing words up out of the aether, but regardless of how it sometimes feels, when I'm done, I feel so much better than if I'd sat around doing something else....

When it's going really well, though, there is nothing more fun than sitting down and finding out where the story is going.

And I've said it before and I'll say it again: There's nothing more satisfying than finishing a novel length piece of fiction. :)

Shadow_Ferret
04-08-2010, 06:43 AM
Having written. Because then I have the whole piece to look and be excited about.

The whole writing process for me is so filled with angst and self-doubt and feelings of worthlessness as to make it almost unbearable.

backslashbaby
04-08-2010, 07:49 AM
I like the finished work. It's so cool when it's in a form you'd hand to others and expect them to enjoy :)

But I like the building blocks, too. It's puzzle-like and I find that very fun. I may feel like I suck, but getting out the suckiness is fun ;)

shadowwalker
04-08-2010, 08:42 AM
I like the writing more than "having written". Oh, there's satisfaction that I've actually done it - but once it's done, it's... done. Where's the challenge in that? ;) I love the process of making the characters come alive, and figuring out how to get them from point A to point B in a survivable state, doing the research to make sure I'm not making a complete idiot of myself, having that brilliant phrasing occasionally pop up... I even love the part where I'm pounding my head into the wall ('cause... well, you know :tongue) I love all of that. Having the finished product sitting there just doesn't thrill me like that.

Celia Cyanide
04-08-2010, 08:54 AM
Having written.

The process can be slow, and I know your first draft is supposed to be shit, but I hate writing shit, and I hate looking down at shit and knowing I wrote it.

I love having written something I'm proud of.

CheekyWench
04-08-2010, 09:14 AM
When I'm in the zone I love the process of writing. When I'm struggling to get words on the page, I'd like to have already written.


Same here.
I also get some sort of smug satisfaction of saying, "yeah I've written a couple of books." and getting :Jaw: from people.

Ruv Draba
04-08-2010, 10:31 AM
Neither. On the whole, writing is painful and frustrating. Having written is depressing.

Learning though, has some satisfaction.

shaldna
04-08-2010, 12:23 PM
Writing is awesome. although I have to say that I like watching the pages stack up. There is something very satisfying about a page full of handwriting.

That said, I think writing is better than having written

aadams73
04-08-2010, 01:15 PM
Both. I love the creative process, putting my hands on the keyboard so words can fall out in an interesting manner. But there's also no denying I enjoy looking over something I've written and going, "Ahhhhh... This isn't dreadful!"

Writing is fun. Having written is satisfying. How can I not love both?

KTC
04-08-2010, 01:22 PM
Do you write mostly because you enjoy the process, or the satisfaction of end product? Or both?

I write because I love the process. For me, it's a journey of discovering the story that came to me as just a nugget of almost nothingness. I don't outline at all...so my fingers just fly and I come along for the ride to see how things work out. I quite often don't care about the end product. I have discovered what happened...so it is time to discard the body to a corner and move on to the next adventure. I feel apart from the story...I lose interest in it.


When you finish a project, are you generally glad itís over with? Elated by its completion? Can you move on to a new project right away, or do you go through a withdrawal period?

I'm elated by its completion...because I finally know what happened to that thing that began as just a line or a word or an image. It has grown--swollen--to a story and I have 'uncovered' all the details. I get an AWWWWWWWWWWW moment when I can say, "Aha! That's what happened. Cool!" And then I move on to the next nugget.

shaldna
04-08-2010, 02:04 PM
Neither. On the whole, writing is painful and frustrating. Having written is depressing.


You make it sound awful. Why bother doing it then?

Jamesaritchie
04-08-2010, 05:26 PM
I'd always thought of the writing process along the lines of the whole 'it's not the destination, it's the journey' type thing. But the other day I went to a convocation at my university featuring a visiting author who admitted that she hated the actual writing part--but she loved having written, which is why she did it. At the time I thought it seemed kind of backwards and unwriterly evenÖwhy would you write if you didnít enjoy the process?

In honest reflection, though, there have been some projects that were torture while I was working on them, but I persevered anyhow because I wanted that satisfying feeling of having completed a work. On the other hand, Iíve written a lot of things where, upon completion, I had mixed feelings. Excited because it was done, but also a little depressed because of the same reason.

So Iím curious about you guysí take on this.


Do you write mostly because you enjoy the process, or the satisfaction of end product? Or both?


When you finish a project, are you generally glad itís over with? Elated by its completion? Can you move on to a new project right away, or do you go through a withdrawal period?



I think it's a sound bite moment, something that comes across as oh so literary, but probably has no real meaning. I doubt any writer who really felt this way would keep moving on from book to book to book to book.

Maybe there are a few writers who really feel this way, or think they do, but it seems a pretty senseless way to spend your life. Any writer who actually hates teh process of writing is probably not going to be terribly sucessful. In my mind, I think she's failure, even if she is successful.

I enjoy the process of wriitng, else I'd never write another word. Life is too short to spend it doing something day in and day out that you hate.

CaroGirl
04-08-2010, 05:34 PM
I like both. Writing, to me, is like a puzzle. I need to figure out how and where to tell each piece of it. The satisfaction of having written a whole novel (even though mine are always too short, especially in 1st draft) is a great feeling.

C.M.C.
04-08-2010, 06:34 PM
I'm always glad when something is over. Going through the actual process feels like it will never end, and it frazzles me as I worry I'm not going to make it to the end without wanting to give up.

milly
04-08-2010, 06:38 PM
hands down I enjoy the process of writing, the joy it brings me is immeasurable and unlike some of you, I have had severe withdrawals in the past when I've completed a novel so, for me, having written doesn't even compare to the writing of the novel itself :)

icerose
04-08-2010, 06:39 PM
I love the writing part, the creating is very exciting though I'm always a bit impatient for it to be done because I want to get out there and try to sell it. At the same time I dread finishing it because it means I have to do the editing and rewriting. I am elated as heck and usually mentally exhausted when I get the editing and rewriting done, and pissed off when I find out I have more to fix.

Penguin
04-08-2010, 06:55 PM
Well I'm working on three novels right now. I had written the first one about eleven months ago and got really depressed when it was over. But now I'm doing an entire rewrite and I feel annoyed, confused, scared and worried, yet excited that I can "play" with the characters again. As for the other two, I enjoy the actual writing and I love to read it over and over once I finish a chapter (I know, I really shouldn't be doing that lol). The thought of having to rewrite them and edit them makes me want to pull my hair out. But I know that once I'm done I'll get depressed because it's over :(.

Ryan David Jahn
04-08-2010, 09:03 PM
The pleasant feeling of "having written" lasts about, oh, two days (for me, anyway). Why anyone would spend three months or six months or a year or three years on work they didn't enjoy to get that finished-project high is beyond me.

Mr. Anonymous
04-08-2010, 09:05 PM
having written, no contest.

Namatu
04-08-2010, 09:25 PM
I prefer writing to having written. Like KTC, I almost don't care about a work once it's finished. The best parts of the process are behind me then. (I don't mind editing, but the fun of discovery is gone.) I love figuring things out as I go and learning how everything's going to pull together.

thehairymob
04-08-2010, 09:29 PM
Writing because once you finish a tale you need to start the next. You could sit an look at the words on the screen but you wouldn't get to much pleasure from that. But when you are typing away at the new story you feel the highs and lows that go with creating something new. The victories and the rewrites to get it just as close to how it is in your head. Sorry must go story waiting, hehehe :D

ishtar'sgate
04-09-2010, 12:05 AM
Do you write mostly because you enjoy the process, or the satisfaction of end product? Or both?


When you finish a project, are you generally glad itís over with? Elated by its completion? Can you move on to a new project right away, or do you go through a withdrawal period?

Good question. I write because I love the process even when I'm tearing my hair out with frustration over scenes that won't work the way I want them to or characters who refuse to take direction. Once a story is completed I'm relieved more than elated. Revision work is its own kind of torture and I'm relieved when that's done too. Withdrawals? Not a chance. I'm usually chafing at the bit to get on with the next project.

jennifer75
04-09-2010, 12:09 AM
I'd always thought of the writing process along the lines of the whole 'it's not the destination, it's the journey' type thing. But the other day I went to a convocation at my university featuring a visiting author who admitted that she hated the actual writing part--but she loved having written, which is why she did it. At the time I thought it seemed kind of backwards and unwriterly evenÖwhy would you write if you didnít enjoy the process?

In honest reflection, though, there have been some projects that were torture while I was working on them, but I persevered anyhow because I wanted that satisfying feeling of having completed a work. On the other hand, Iíve written a lot of things where, upon completion, I had mixed feelings. Excited because it was done, but also a little depressed because of the same reason.

So Iím curious about you guysí take on this.


Do you write mostly because you enjoy the process, or the satisfaction of end product? Or both?



When you finish a project, are you generally glad itís over with? Elated by its completion? Can you move on to a new project right away, or do you go through a withdrawal period?


Even though I haven't written a word or struck any keys in over a year - I'd have to say it's the writing that I enjoy...then again I haven't finished anything yet.

:)

Christyp
04-09-2010, 12:28 AM
I agree with most of the others...I adore the actual writing process, sometimes to the point where I rewrite the same story in several different ways. I currently have three books going at the same time so that I'm never without something to work on during a writer's block!

M.Austin
04-09-2010, 01:11 AM
I think writing is the best part.

Having written means queries, agents, and long dreadful waits.

Now published vs. writing... that's another story =P!

stefanie_gaither
04-09-2010, 01:42 AM
Having written means queries, agents, and long dreadful waits.


lol, that's a good point! hadn't thought of that.

DeadlyAccurate
04-09-2010, 01:49 AM
When I'm in the zone I love the process of writing. When I'm struggling to get words on the page, I'd like to have already written.

This.

This book: having written
Previous book: writing

Claudia Gray
04-09-2010, 07:57 AM
Writing is better than having written.

But having edited is better than editing.

MartinD
04-10-2010, 03:24 AM
When I'm in the zone I love the process of writing. When I'm struggling to get words on the page, I'd like to have already written.

A wise woman. Exactly how I feel.

S.J.
04-16-2010, 08:34 PM
I dunno. For me, both, I think. I definitely enjoy writing or I wouldn't do it - but watching that bar to the right of the document shrink is also very satisfying.

Celia Cyanide
04-16-2010, 09:47 PM
Writing is better than having written.

I have a question for you, then. If writing is really better than "having written," why would you finish anything? You could just keep writing forever, and never worry about "having written."

lucidzfl
04-16-2010, 11:12 PM
I have a question for you, then. If writing is really better than "having written," why would you finish anything? You could just keep writing forever, and never worry about "having written."

Why do people finish having sex? If it feels so good, why ever stop?

C.M.C.
04-17-2010, 12:13 AM
Why do people finish having sex? If it feels so good, why ever stop?

Dehydration?

S.J.
04-17-2010, 12:34 AM
Why do people finish having sex? If it feels so good, why ever stop?

Bedsores?

stefanie_gaither
04-17-2010, 12:48 AM
:ROFL:Well this conversation's taken an interesting turn...

backslashbaby
04-17-2010, 01:12 AM
Chafing, definitely...

lucidzfl
04-17-2010, 01:55 AM
Interestingly enough, you've all provided analogistic(imaginary word) reasons for finishing a novel.

Relief.

Doesn't mean you wont f**k again.

scarletpeaches
04-17-2010, 01:56 AM
Why do people finish having sex? If it feels so good, why ever stop?They live in this city?