I thought that I needed some community to get things going; the problem is that as with most things that involve more than one or two people, massive groups of aspiring writers wind up in sniping wars or discussing everything but the actual writing.
So, one of the things I'm doing today is putting all of my writing related social media groups on silent.
I'm in the rewriting process on the novel that I've been working on now for a good two years (by the dates on the various file versions on my laptop). This week, as I have figured out some of the larger problems with the plot, I've been getting side-tracked by the writers' groups that I'm in. This is in part because so many of the writers in those groups sound like former freshman composition students of mine. Questions like "how long should a chapter be" or about things that are easy to look up on Google are common. Need to know an Irish slang word? Google it. If you can't craft a search term that leads to results, revise your search terms.
I taught writing and reading (literature courses) at the college level for well over twenty years. I've been writing since I was about 11 years old. I have three degrees in English/Literature.
And once in a while over the years someone has published a little something I've written.
In addition to having fears that anything I produce independently will get lost in the mountains of material being self-published right now, I also have come to the realization that my previous job helped spawn this seat-of-your-pants-vomit-on-the-page phenomenon. I'm just going to say it:
You can't teach someone to write in five weeks, six weeks, eight weeks, or even fifteen weeks. Can you give them tools and strategies to help them move along the spectrum toward better sh*t than they walked in with?
But they have to be willing to pick up those tools and use them. And, they have to be willing to, as the by-now-cliched saying goes "kill their darlings." One of the reasons that this rewrite is taking me so long is that there are some lovely twists and surprises that are in the original novel that really should be parceled out to four or five other books. The plot is great for long dog walks and pondering by the writer but to a reader it's all too much. I need to keep my plot twist dart game to myself.
Does my writer self whine to my editor self that it is important to keep X in the story? Sure, but I console myself by putting that plot idea in my treasure chest for later. Will it turn up in another story? Most likely not, but maybe.
Time to go cut some paragraphs and change some names/relationships.