You are a writer – whether you write something every day or not doesn’t change what’s in your soul. Deny it all you want. Procrastinate, make excuses, let life control your agenda, but deep down inside you know you’re driven to write because for you every written word is oxygen. Denying yourself oxygen is silly, even stupid, because to do so kills you. So here are eight things to do to keep you writing:
1) expect to rewrite
Perfect prose isn’t achieved with the first tapping of the keys. Good writing is complicated and may take a few tries to get all the aspects right and that includes things like grammar, the plot, character motivation, character interaction, voice, point of view and the hook. Writing is a creative process and creativity evolves and grows. Nothing is ever perfect the first time so get over it and write!
2) don’t get frustrated by your responsibilities
Family and work are responsibilities we all must honour. On that ride to work dictate your thoughts to a recorder. Go to work a half hour earlier and spend that extra time writing – every word counts! Don’t watch TV to relax after the kids have gone to bed – read a book (that’s research), work on your story or write a blog. And when the kids are doing their homework, do yours! There are days and months when demands are high and you can’t write but that’s not a reason to totally abandon your passion!
Set realistic goals. 50 words a day, a week? Research and brainstorming for a month? Meet the deadline for a workshop or submission. Goals can be a moving target and that can be frustrating. But no goal means nothing to strive for and nothing will be achieved. Always celebrate when you reach a goal be it small or large. You’ve done something no one else has and that’s worth celebrating!
4) write what moves you
Don’t put off writing the novel because you’ve heard there are more markets for short stories. Don’t limit yourself to a novel when it’s a trilogy you want to write. And, write what moves you. If it’s the current popular fiction which sparks you, write that. If it’s something way out there, write it. If you’re not passionate about your story, the reader won’t be either.
5) don’t worry about the publishing industry
If you have a finished product, research the options for selling your work. BUT, if you’re still working on the first draft, don’t worry about it. The industry is changing and what you figure out today may not apply tomorrow. So write now. Worry later.
6) conquer your fears
Fear of failure, fear of sounding stupid, fear of being criticized because you’ve put your heart and soul into your creation and someone may not like it. Everyone has an opinion (including you) and it’s valid. For whatever reason, a publisher may not want your first book but that doesn’t mean it’s not publishable. Sometimes it’s the second or third book which gets published first and then the rest follow.
7) keep learning your craft
Expressing our creativity is a lifelong learning skill – that’s what makes it so exciting! Every time we learn another trick to hook and keep the reader, we’re closer to achieving our goal. Every new piece of information on craft, background research, on the publishing industry keeps our grey cells spinning and the oxygen flowing.
8) love the kid in yourself
Sounds corny, I know. But remember, we’re just grown up kids with responsibilities. Using our magnified lenses called imagination and twisting our heads this way and that, we writers explore our world with wonder and excitement – just like kids do. And we have a fantastic tool, the written word, to relay that wonder to the rest of the world. So cherish that kid inside and let your imagination build those new and wonderful worlds.
And most importantly, have fun! Creating new worlds and sharing them with readers is the greatest fun any of us can ever have!