Write Fast, Edit Fast, Improve Publicly

To a certain degree, I like doing things publicly, if only because I need a forcing function. When I started robotissmiling.com, sort of a blog/self-publishing mash-up 6 months ago, I did it because I had been writing a book for about 4 months which is now the serial Sol. And to be honest, I started to get bored writing the book and that feeling of boredom is the first feeling  before I decide something isn’t worth it and I move on.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Weaksauce! There is a daily trudgery to writing that you have to work through if you really want to write. I felt the same way…about myself. Now, me and me have been great friends for over 38 years, except for those few years during High School and maybe 6 months during my early twenties…and last week for a few days. But right now, we’re good, me and me.

All this is to say that I know myself quite well and I know that I need a gauntlet to be thrown. I need both intrinsic and extrinsic motivations to spur my progress. That’s why I put the first chapter of Sol out into the world before I was finished with the whole book, because I am desperate to get better at writing, and I’m absolutely terrible at toiling away in solitude, being the inherently gregarious person I am. So in some sense, I use the very existence of this site to remind me that I must always write stories. It pushes me further and challenges me in ways I didn’t know I could or wanted to be challenged.

Which brings me to the title of this post. I write fast. I have to. I’ve got precious little time. A full-time job, often more than full-time, two incredible daughters, and an amazing wife. All these things deserve and require my time, and I love to give it to them. So writing is fourth in an already packed list, which means it gets the least amount of my time, about 7-10 hours a week on average or however long my commute is (I had an extra 30 minutes Wednesday because of Police activity on my train).

That is not a lot of time, so I write fast. I lexically vomit onto every page so I can get what’s in my head out before my stop and it’s time to start my work day or cook dinner for my kids. And because time is still a constraint, I also edit quickly. And because I hate myself, I schedule posts before I’ve finished editing. Once I’ve done that, I don’t turn back. The chapter or story will go out so I better work fast. If you can’t tell, I’m impatient for progress.

What I realized about this site and the amazing people who read it is that you are all a part of my constant improvement. You are making me better a writer, sometimes through comments, definitely by bearing witness. A number of you keep coming back and are actively reading/liking what I put out there, and, for that, I thank you. For those who lurk, I thank you too. Lurkers qualify. For those who give me feedback or tell me they didn’t like something I wrote (verbally or in comments), I thank you very much. It’s fun for me and it makes me want to write more and more.

If you’ve thought about something while you were reading and wished you could tell me but felt like you didn’t want to hurt my feelings.  It’s all fuel, and I’d love to hear from you. Afterall, the more you tell me, the better I’ll get, the better the stories will get. I eat it up. You are a part of my process. If you love the last chapter, question the tech or motivation of a character, if you let me know about it, and I agree (that’s important), I will find a way to fix it up in the next go round, and give you a shout out next time I post.

Hit me up in the comments, on Twitter (@robotissmiling) or send me a direct email on my about page.

If you want some more cannon fodder for critique, take a look at some of my Short Stories or On the Train series.

If you want another serial to read, check out charmacolson’s Ember’s Heart.