I’m a firm believer that the quieter a writer is the more they’re writing. This has certainly been the case with me. These last few months I’ve buried myself in my work in order to reach a pretty extreme deadline. The thought of missing it fills me with dread, but I mustn’t let my desire for progress get in the way of the quality of the final product. All told I have around a month to get things in order.
I’ll make more announcements closer to the deadline, as I’ll have a better idea of what’s happening. In the meantime rest assured that every free moment I have is spent agonizing over the hobby that I so dearly wish to make a career.
Everyone needs emotional support from time to time. We’re human, no-one is an island. And even if you ARE an island you’d probably still enjoy company.
It’s something I’ve taken for granted for quite a while: having someone close who supports your creative pursuits makes such a massive difference. My partner has always been supportive, whether its reading my stories for me, making me tea whilst I write, or just having blind faith that it’ll all lead somewhere.
I can’t stress enough how much blind faith is needed when it comes to creative things.
I guess what I’m saying is – if you have someone who supports you then make sure they know you appreciate them.
And if you don’t have someone like that don’t despair! If you have that creativity within you then it’ll find its way out. It better to be alone but believe in yourself than it is to be with someone who puts you down/gets between you and your dream.
To those of you who don’t know:
Discworld is a comic fantasy book series written by the English author Terry Pratchett, set on the fictional Discworld, a flat disc balanced on the backs of four elephants which in turn stand on the back of a giant turtle, Great A’Tuin.
Isn’t it perfect? How many fantasy books are out there with their own worlds? How many weird, made up names have authors created? Yet none are so memorable as the Discworld. None match its creative simplicity. Why is this? I think there are three reasons:
- The absurdity of it – (see above description)
- It plays on the silly idea of a flat earth – (Any flat earthers in the house??)
and perhaps most crucially:
This last one I find the most interesting. Go up to someone and say ‘Discworld’. They may well tell you to fuck off, but at the same time they’ll get an image in their head, perhaps not of the turtle and the elephants, but of a disc shaped world. It marries two words that people understand: ‘disc’ and ‘world’ and builds something amazing around it.
How can a writer match that?
In my current novel: ‘Proper Magic’, I have a fantasy world. I have a concept that I hope will set it apart from its peers, but it still needs a name and I can guarantee it’ll be no Discworld…
Ah well, aim for the stars. Who knows: you may hit an elephant.
Perhaps you’ve read that title and gone:
‘Well, duh! I’m writing a hundred things!’
‘But all my effort is going into this one project!’
Neither response is wrong and we all have our own systems, but if your answer was the latter then might I suggest having two projects on the go?
Back when I focused on one thing at a time I got mired in the effort. This is partly due to forcing my storytelling into one particular type of story, even when my mood was elsewhere because ‘I have to focus on this to get it done.’
I don’t suggest writing loads at once. Having a dozen novels on the go leads nowhere and you end up drowning. But have two stories, or like in my case I have the Death Echo series in the background while working on my novel, Proper Magic.
It helps clear out the creative cobwebs which turn up after too long spent cleaning the living-room but ignoring the attic!
When you hit a block in one project dive into the other. The less wasted time the better, and the more you’ll learn about your writing.
You’re a writer! You must be really good at spelling!
You’re a writer! You must get really annoyed when some has the wrong grammar!
You’re a writer! That’s so intellectual! I could never write a book!
I’m pretty bad at spelling, I have a real concern that I might not understand commas and I mostly write about wizards with silly names (and death, a lot about death).
I’m making it up as I go along. So is every writer. Don’t worry.
TL;DR – Don’t overthink it, just do it! Overthinking is for the editing phase.
That title is a bit misleading. Every writer is a struggling writer. If you’re not struggling then you’re not writing!
Below are a series of tips in no particular order. Some may not apply to you at all, but some might. They’ve helped me!
- Write a little every day (even a hundred words is a hundred words in the right direction!)
- Never force the words (If the words aren’t coming perhaps you should do some…)
- Research, research, research (We all have google – it’s easy)
- Set BIG goals (This year I want my novel written!)
- Set little goals (This week I want 2000 words written)
- Don’t be scared to delete (Just because we’re sitting on our asses doesn’t mean our writing should be bloated)
- Try writing short stories (I put this off for too long!)
- Read your genre(s) (Duh)
- Learn from what you read (Others make mistakes so you don’t have to)
- Don’t be afraid of making mistakes (Fear stops people from achieving their dreams)
- Treat writing like a job (You HAVE to read up on dragon lore before the end of the week or your boss will be on your ass [you’re the boss])
- Enjoy your job! (Oh boy, dragon lore!)
- You don’t have to pick a side when it comes to self publishing and traditional publishing (You can do both – just not with the same manuscript)
- Be brave (Don’t be ashamed of what you’re writing! Embrace it!)
- Write from the heart, edit from the brain (Some things need passion, other things need logic)
- Don’t overuse words (Yet again I used yet one too many time… yetyetyet)
- The ‘Find’ tool in word is your friend
- The ‘Replace’ tool can easily become your enemy
- Be Patient (Good things take time. Take a deep breath.)
- Don’t be bitter (Don’t hate others for their success)
- Give a story time to breath (Put it aside for a month, reread it)
- Every correction you make is a lesson (Learn that lesson!)
- Back-up everything you write (email, hardrives etc)
I often see fellow writers on twitter post about not being able to write, and I’m guilty of the same posts.
This got me to thinking – how hard do you all find it? I always feel like I don’t have enough time, like whatever I do there’s always more to write. I tend to have a few projects going on at once and chip away at them. Nearly every free moment is spent working on them – research, planning, editing etc.
There’s so much more I know I could be doing, but there’s only so many hours in the day. Like many writers I dream of a day my writing will support me financially. Would I be more productive with every day spent writing? Or would all that free time be detrimental?
Perhaps I’ll look back at this period of working two jobs and writing and think ‘Damn I was motivated,’ or alternatively: ‘How did I ever manage to get any of it done?’
I think I DO find writing easy, because I enjoy it. I love editing paragraphs down, making them slicker, I revel in finding my own mistakes and restructuring scenes so that they flow better. I love starting a new short story, I love deleting pages of unnecessary text.
I just wish I had more time!