I want to chit chat about writing.
Because y’all – writing is hard.
I’ve been working on my novel for going on three years. I am also co-writing a trilogy series with one of my very best friends, David.
Whether you’re writing independently, or as a team – writing is hard.
I’ve shared 7 Things I’ve Learned While Writing My First Novel, but this isn’t that tale.
This is the raw-gritty and uncensored version.
Writer’s Block is Legit
I feel “inspired” to write, way less than I feel completely frustrated with my story. I would venture to say that 70% of the time I want to scrap the whole project. Yet I keep writing it because it’s a story I want to tell.
One thing I’ve had to learn along the way is that you have to be okay with writing complete crap. Any book you pick up off the shelf started out as rough and disjointed as your book. I swear. If it didn’t – editors wouldn’t have a job.
YA Author Nicola Yoon gave David and I some advice at a book signing once that has helped tremendously – The first draft of any novel is YOU telling yourself the story. The next drafts are you making it a story for others to read.
You never feel more defeated when you think that you’ve crafted this grand scene that everyone will love, only to find out it’s the same scene from that one Rom-Com with Ryan Gosling.
Cliches happen. They happen because they’re common. They’re a cheesy way to get a point across. The best way to get past them? Just write the damn things. I host a weekly writing group full of people I trust who will gladly call me out on them. I circle them – and move past them with the knowledge that I will rewrite them later.
But! Because I’m human – with every cliche I unintentionally write, I beat myself up when I find it.
Change is EVENTUALLY Good
Anyone who writes for a living will tell you, “Write everyday. It’s the key to success.” While this is definitely true, what they don’t tell you is this – “Don’t go back and rewrite, yet!”
Rewriting is a formidable black hole that I am 100% guilty of falling into. But it’s a mirage. A mirage, I say!
You think, when you’re doing it, “Yes! Progress.” Which, sometimes it may be – but only staying in one chapter won’t finish a story.
It’s so hard to move away from something that feels unfinished – at least for me. So I set specific time to go back and read previous chapters. It’s important to go back and reference your story and ensure continuity, but flag things. Use comments. Make notes on what needs to be rewritten if it’s significant, and then move forward.
Author Envy is a Thing
I am a huge fan of following other authors and their journeys. If you’re passionate about something, you should be connected to it.
I love scrolling through my Instagram or Twitter feed and seeing relatable posts about writing experiences. I also get a pang of guilt when I see posts about them editing their final drafts when my first draft isn’t even finished.
We are only human. Generally speaking, we writers are dreamers, hence the career choice. But dreaming of being a published author and allowing yourself to become discouraged because others are getting published around you isn’t healthy. It won’t help you become a published author, and in fact it will probably make it harder to finish your story.
I have found that supporting and uplifting others in the writing community will give you the same in return – and sometimes that’s just as inspiring as a good plot line.
Writing every day is important. Writing on the same thing every day doesn’t always do more good.
I always have a small side project, or multiple quick-write ideas, on hand to go to.
I don’t always feel like working on my big projects. It’s real life. If I’ve been stuck on a scene for a lot, my brain needs a break. Plain and simple. Don’t fault yourself for writing a prompt or something other than your novel.
We are all our own worst enemies when it comes to our writing. Anyone who says they’re not and they never hit any hurdles – I would love to meet them, because they’re a unicorn.
Writing is hard. It’s hard, but it’s worth it. I encourage all of you to find a community of writers – and not just writers who write for your genre. Surround yourself with variety and you will find inspiration in places you never thought possible.
Remember that until you’re published, everything is a draft, and it doesn’t have to be perfect.
If I can do this, you can do this.