Writing to a Deadline – A Debate!

I read an article on Write To Done today that was interesting to me.  The overview of the article was covering steps that a lady has taken in order to go from 0 to published over the span of several years.  Naturally, this is dear to my heart, so I wanted to hear how it was done.  There were several components:

The Usual Stuff:
Just keep writing.  Don’t give up!  Keep going!
Have patience!  It takes a while, but it’s worth it!
It always takes longer than you think it will.

The Vague Stuff:
She learned to work the system on Amazon… Is that the actual navigating the interface, or learning who to talk to and how to actually make it work?
Just let the silence guide you.  I’m all in favor of artsy, so I let it go… But my silence hasn’t guided me yet.

The Gold Nuggets:
She got help from a dozen sources (social media expert, brand consultant, book publicists, etc).  I just wish I knew how to find these people.  I imagine it’s years of circling the community and building connections.

The number of edits and rewrites made, both by her and professional editors is telling for what it takes to reach a quality end product.

But this wasn’t meant to be a review.  This is the foundation of a debate.  The first point she makes is to “Accept The Flow of the Creative Process.”  I’ve heard this before.  Basically, the premise is that if you try to force it, your writing will come across as stiff and unnatural.  To quote Miracle Max in the Princess Bride:
“Don’t rush me sonny.  You rush a miracle, you get a rotten miracle.”

Let’s look at the other side of the fence though.  Nanowrimo’s entire foundation is on just get to 50,000 words.  There are lots of ways to set deadlines, all date driven.  Maybe it’s driven by a publisher:  Have the draft of your next book ready by September.  Maybe it’s an artificial word count goal:  1667 words per day.  Regardless, the act of writing every day keeps people engaged and making progress.

I’m torn on this subject.  I am eternally grateful to Nanowrimo, and have extolled its virtues in other posts.  I truly believe it helped me get over the hump of writing and make sure I made progress on my novel every day rather than “when I’m feeling it.”  But I do read all the drivel slushed around out there and wonder how on earth somebody felt it was okay to finish writing that.  If you don’t believe in what you are writing… Don’t write it.

I pose this question to you, my readers.  Is it better to write as the words come to you?  Ensure that you don’t spin out garbage that you are going to end up deleting?  Or is it better to keep writing no matter what because that’s the only way to get to the end?


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