Friday, March 13, 2009

Commitment: What it Means to a Writer

The definition of commitment is a pledge or promise; obligation.

Commitment is something all writers need; to themselves, stories, characters, and of course, their critique partners. I’m writing this post, as I sit at my desk at work after hours, several hours late on this post. This week has been crazy for me, and I’m looking forward to the much needed weekend ahead. Being busy doesn’t mean I can put the blog aside; I have an obligation to both my blog partner and the readers. This got me thinking about how big of a commitment writing really is, so I decided to break it down, at least what that word means to me in my writing life.

Commitment to story: Committing to a story can mean many things. Vague, I know, but hear me out. A writer has a certain duty to keeping with the plot of their story. Of course changes come as you complete your story and also in rewrites/edits. Most of the time, once you’ve done research and outlining/plotting the theme of your book will stay the same.
On the other hand, a writer has to commit to a story to be able to rip it apart in edits. You have to know yourself and your story enough to know what you have to do (possibly rewrite the whole story) will be better for your overall story in the end.

Commitment to characters: Committing to characters is a must when writing a solid story. Writers has to dig deep within themselves and question exactly who their characters are, what drives them, makes them who they are throughout the story. Once those questions are answered, you have to be committed to listening to what those answers means to the characters’ actions.

Commitment to critique partners: We’ve talked too much on this blog about critique partners and how important they are to a writer’s improvement. It can’t be said enough. Being a part of a crit group is all about commitment. When agreeing to join a group, a writer has to understand the work that goes into it. If everyone isn’t to everyone within the group, it will not work.

Commitment to finishing: This has to be the most important. Without finishing the book, you have nothing. No matter how hard you commit to the items I listed below, if you don’t see your work to the end, then really you’ve committed to nothing.

2 comments:

Jenny Beans said...

Wow, fantastic post!! All of this is so true, especially the last one. You know how many pieces I have sitting here just waiting for their endings. You gotta finish 'em, or they aren't even stories.

Jenny Bean
http://theinnerbean.blogspot.com/

Tami Klockau said...

Thanks, Jenny! I sat at my desk Friday night, late on posting to the site and had no clue what to write. My husband mentioned the commitment to the blog and I knew that's what I had to write.

Commitment is the hardest thing in a writer's life, IMO. To sit down day in and day out, finish the stories that can't be complete without the writer is crazy when you think about it. I have the first draft of my current WIP done, and am having trouble editing it. It's not the editing, it's sitting down and doing it. I can see how I can make it so much better, but it will never happen if I don't sit my butt in the seat.

Like you, I have way too many stories sitting half finished.