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Patience and Writing

Many writers are probably aware that writing can be extremely tiring. It’s not so much that it’s not enjoyable (I know that I personally love writing), but it often requires a lot of patience. After all, what do we want more as writers than to publish our work? To get it out there for the world to read? However, the reality lies in the fact that truly good writing usually does not occur over night – it takes time.

There is nothing wrong with being a little impatient when writing. In fact, in my opinion, it’s almost a good thing! I think it tends to show how dedicated we are in achieving our final goal of finishing our projects. On the other hand, though, we must be aware that there is a difference between feeling a bit impatient and actually rushing through our work. Rushing when writing isn’t something that I recommend – especially if you don’t absolutely need to finish your project by a certain date.

Again, I understand wanting to finish our work – to get our writing published and share it with those around us as soon as possible. There’s nothing wrong with that. Our writing is important though, and by extension, so is waiting until it’s at its very best to share it with the world. While I believe that no writing can ever be perfect, I do believe in putting our best foot forward and I don’t think that we can do that by rushing.

So here is my view on having patience when writing – I think it’s essential. I think it’s important to stay excited about whatever you’re writing, while keeping in mind that rushing through your work will not make it better.

 

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Trust Your Instincts!

I learned an important lesson the other day.

As many of you may know, I’d been struggling with my current work in progress. My plan for the novel was to write it a little differently than my other two books, so naturally I was a bit worried. Self-doubt caused me to start over from the beginning twice and let me tell you, each time I rewrote the draft, I was even more unhappy than I was with the previous copy. In the end, I realized that my first draft was indeed the best and that nothing was really wrong with it. In fact, I liked how it had turned out.

As writers, we all half self-doubt. Is our work good enough? Is it something people will want to read? Will it get decent reviews? Are we talented enough to pull this off? All of these questions enter our minds as we write our hearts out. There is nothing wrong with wanting to put our best foot forward, but sometimes we overthink our writing so much, that we end up digging our own holes. The deeper we dig, the harder it is to get ourselves out.

I decided that I needed to let things go. I decided that the more I nitpicked at every single sentence I wrote, the worse things were going to get. You know what? I was right. I read over my original draft and really liked it. I was almost upset that I wasted my time doubting myself. Instead of obsessing over whether or not my writing was good enough, I could have been working on my original draft. Sometimes we just need to step back and trust our instincts. I realized that I’m a good writer and although I’m not perfect, I should allow myself to write without thinking too much about what I’m putting down on paper. This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t care, but we shouldn’t convince ourselves that we’re not talented, when in reality, just the opposite is true!

 

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Pushing Yourself To Write

I have mixed feelings about forcing oneself to write. When I was younger, I used to focus a lot on counting words – I don’t do that anymore. Unless I’m writing for a contest where there’s a minimum/maximum amount of words one can write in order to be eligible to win, I really don’t concern myself with word count. Another area in which I don’t believe in pushing oneself to write is when you absolutely, positively do not feel like writing. I strongly believe that writing should be something that one enjoys – something that one wants to do.

Let me be clear. The above statement does not mean that I don’t think writers should never force themselves to sit down and work. Especially lately, I’ve been putting off working on my current work in progress. Why? Because the writing process seems more difficult than with my previous works. This story has many plots, parts, and the writing style is more complex. Do I want to write this story? Absolutely! Am I excited to see the finished product? One hundred percent, yes! The problem (or rather, the truth of the matter), however, is that in order to finish a project, you have to work on it!

Sometimes we don’t feel like writing. Sometimes we’re too scared that we’ll write something and mess up what we already have. As stated by Scott Berkun (a quote I recently saw on Instagram), “It’s not the fear of writing that blocks people, it’s the fear of not writing well; something quite different.”

It’s hard at times not to fear poor writing. After all, our goal as writers is not just to write, but to write well enough that others will want to read our work. Remember that there is no rush when writing whatever you’re writing. Remember that if you take your time, work consistently, and have faith in yourself, you can and will write something that you’re proud of!

 

 

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Why Honesty Is The Best Policy

Let’s talk honesty. Let’s talk kindness and respect. Let’s talk about how we should use both of them when sharing our opinions.

When someone asks for our opinion about their writing (or really anything), I firmly believe that honesty is always the best policy. Period. However, I also believe that we should share that honesty in a kind and respectful way. For example, if we read a book and we don’t care for it, I don’t think we should say something like: “Your writing is awful! or “Your plot makes no sense!”. Rather, we should find a nice, but honest, way of expressing our feelings.

Honesty is the best policy for many reasons. Most writers and authors (including myself) want to know how they can improve their writing. We take our work seriously and we don’t want people to say they like our writing just to spare our feelings. Simply being kind without honesty does not help us become better writers, it merely makes us feel that there is nothing we need to work on. For most of us, we want to be the best we can be. This doesn’t mean we have to point out every little flaw to each other, but it does mean that if we don’t like something and we think it’s relevant to mention, that we should.

Honesty, however, is very different from going out of your way to be hurtful. Like I said, there is a huge difference between being honest in a kind, helpful way and just being cruel. So when someone asks for your opinion or a review, tell them the truth, but try to do so in a considerate manner. Chances are that the writer will appreciate you taking the time to discuss any issues with them while also, of course, appreciating your kindness while doing so.

The bottom line is this – don’t be afraid to be honest. Just do so in a way that is respectful.

 

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Stuck.

As a writer, I hate to admit the following. At the same time, however, I think it’s important for us to share our experiences with other writers – to show each other that we’re not alone in our writerly struggles. So tonight I’d like to talk about feeling stuck when working on our stories and other written work.

I’ve mentioned in earlier posts that I’m working on a romance/fantasy novel. While I love the concept of the story, the plot, and the characters, I feel like I’m having a bit of a hard time getting from points A to B. I have a pretty good idea of how I want the story to end and what I want to happen throughout the course of the novel, but actually writing the story is proving to be a bit more challenging than expected.

The problem I’m having is that I feel a lack of action in the story. As I was writing, I just slowly felt like I was losing momentum, like the story was stalling and I wasn’t sure where to go next. The need to come up with something ‘big’ to take place seems essential and at the moment, I don’t know what that ‘big’ event is going to be.

While in a way I guess you could consider this issue writer’s block, I consider it more along the lines of being stuck. To me, writer’s block is not knowing what you want to write and being completely devoid of ideas. I know what I want to write; where I want my story to go. It’s just that getting there seems a bit tricky and I’m still trying to figure out how to figure out the gaps so that my story can be a successful one.

I may be experiencing some issues with my current work in progress, but I’m not ready to give up on it. I actually quite like what I’m working on and abandoning the story is not something I want to do. While I hate the fact that I’m stuck and that the story is at the moment just sitting there, waiting to be written, I’m not ready to walk away. I see a lot of potential and that’s what’s important.

If you’re going through the same thing that I am and you like your story, yet feel a bit confused as to how to get from points A to B, don’t be too quick to give up on your project. Sometimes what we’re working on takes a week and sometimes it takes a year. Heck, it might even take longer. The amount of time it takes to write your short story, novel, poem, or other piece of writing doesn’t necessarily matter. What truly matters is that you’re happy with what you write and that you feel it’s done properly.

Here’s a piece of advice: if your having a difficult time with your work in progress, take a break. If you still like the idea, characters, and overall plot, read over your story and try hard to think of what to do next. Don’t immediately abandon your project just because you’re struggling with it. Just because something takes time to write and isn’t the easiest work to produce, doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve to be written.

 

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An Author’s Tools – Balance & Patience

Writing your book isn’t always easy. Many times it’s difficult and time consuming. However, I think that any writer who has finished working on their writing can admit that it’s worth the effort.

Something else that’s worth the effort is advertising your written work once it’s published. This is something else that’s difficult and really, is a never ending commitment. Let’s face it – every single author wants to sell as many of their books as possible. It’s not just about earning money as a writer, but it’s about having others appreciate our work and add it to their literary collection. I think we can all agree as writers that having someone purchase your book is a fabulous feeling.

As writers and authors, it only makes sense that we want people to purchase our books. It only makes sense that we get excited after we hit that publish button or when our books come out in stores. We start wondering when we’ll get our first copy sold, our first review written, etc. This is only natural and we shouldn’t feel guilty about it.

However, at the same time, sometimes excitement can lead to anxiety. We become worried that our books won’t sell, that our ratings and reviews won’t be as good as we’d like, and that maybe – we’re not as talented as we thought. These are also normal feelings. What’s not normal or good, is when you allow these thoughts to overtake your life.

Writing (whether you’re making money from it or not) should be fun. Above all else, writing should be something one enjoys doing. If you start obsessing about how many books you’ve sold or whether or not your work is appreciated, remember the main reason for writing.

I’ll admit, I can get a little impatient when it comes to selling my books. I knew that it wouldn’t be easy selling my books as a self-published author (most promotion is self-promotion which isn’t an easy thing to get done), but I also expected to have more sales by now. This has led me to feel a bit anxious about whether or not I’ll sell more copies and when it will occur. I’m appreciative for every sale and review I’ve gotten so far, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t wish I had more. I don’t think this is totally greedy, but rather normal when it comes to wanting others to own your work. After all, part of the reason that authors write is to share their work with others.

Still, I realize that something I can get a bit too stressed out and too impatient. Part of the process of being an author (in addition to writing and publishing), is self-promoting and being patient with the results. Not everyone is going to rush out and immediately purchase your books. It takes time to make money. Also we have to remember as self-published authors that every author has to start out somewhere. Before Stephen King was the King of Horror, he was just a first time writer like all of us.

When it comes to looking forward to sales, remember that it is perfectly normal to want as many people as possible to purchase and enjoy your work. However, we also have to understand that things take time and sometimes things don’t work out quite how we expected. Don’t let yourself start to obsess about things that you can’t control. When someone decides they want to purchase, read, or review your book – they will. I know that waiting is hard, but it’s something that we all must learn to do.

P.S. If you’re having trouble selling your work, don’t lose hope. Keep trying the best you can to promote your work while still enjoying the fact that you’re a writer and a published author!

 

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Writing Advice: Don’t Force It!

You’ve probably heard that as a writer, you should be writing every day. I both agree and disagree with this piece of advice. While I think that we should try to get some form of writing done each day (whether it’s posting on Instagram, blogging, working on some other form of social media, writing stories or poetry, etc.), I don’t think that we should necessarily get angry with ourselves if we go one or two days without writing.

I don’t think I believe that writing just for the sake of it, is always a good thing. I feel like writing should be something a person wants to do. I think that by saying, “I’m going to make myself write every day”, we sometimes run the risk of making ourselves frustrated with something we’d normally love doing.

Don’t get me wrong, when we’re working on a writing project or setting goals, I think it’s important that we find a way to push through and accomplish our goals. I think that we need to stay dedicated to our craft and not give up on what we’re passionate about. What I’m talking about are the times when we’re in between projects – I think it’s okay to take a break from writing if we want.

Again, I’m not saying don’t write at all. While I don’t consciously tell myself that I have to write every day, I probably do manage to get words written down on a daily basis. Right now, I’m blogging and earlier, I was posting on Instagram – both are forms of writing. However, I don’t think that it’s vital to always be writing a huge novel or even a short story or poem. I think it’s more than okay to give ourselves a break and just relax.

Not every minute has to be about making sure we’re working on our next big story. As writers, we don’t always have to push ourselves to write every single day just because we think it’s what we should be doing. Write when you want to write, when it’s going to make you feel good about yourself and when you can enjoy it. I do believe that there’s a such thing as pushing yourself so much that you start to dread the things you love the most. That, my friends, would be a shame.

What do you think? Should we push ourselves to write every day or is it okay to take breaks from writing sometimes? I’d love to hear your thoughts below!