Friday, September 13, 2013
Making Yourself Write (Podcast #2)
OR - http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/110163816
I received a lovely email from a gentleman who found FundsforWriters and fell in love with what it represents. Those emails make my day, I'm telling ya. But after he stroked me a bit and complimented the site, he dove into his concerns...concerns I hear often from readers. He wasn't alone though I imagine he felt he was.
In general, he thinks about writing all the time. It even keeps him awake at night. But he dabbles, with no two days of writing alike. He sees the cursor, starts writing, then it never comes together like he likes. So he gets up and cleans the house. When he does go back, he researches how to write better, reading all sorts of advise, paralyzed by fear to actually write. Then he puts it off to another day. He edits as he writes, having spent six hours on a 500-word blog post. He's thinking of giving up writing altogether.
We all have our problems with writing. I hate first drafts of anything, because editing is what breathes life into a piece, in my opinion. I hate anything pulling me from my daily routine, because then it's hard to get back into it. Every writer has negatives and aspects of the profession he hates. Following is my response to him. If you've felt frustration lately, I hope it resonates with you.
I hear you, fella. I hear this from lots of folks. But the power is simply in your hands, not on a website (even as much as I love you reading mine). I tell people at conferences to write daily, without fail, starting with 15 minutes each day. After 90 days, you'll be hooked. Do NOT let yourself venture online until you have performed your daily ritual. Soon you'll have an itch to write daily, and you won't want to stop at 15 minutes. That's how I started.
And hey, I edit as I write. I don't care what others say about free-writing and not editing as you go. It's how I write. It's served me well. I adore editing. I profess that editing makes the story, creates the voice, makes the story pop. Of course I edit many times after the first draft, but I hate writing crap, so I edit somewhat as I go. Nothing wrong with that. However, you have to face the fact that if you write like that, you will write slower. It's simply a law of physics.
Nobody is going to save you from yourself. It has to be something you want. Try my above exercise daily and then decide at the end of 90 days whether it's what you want to do. There's nothing wrong with thinking about writing all the time. Heck, I do the same thing. But it does matter whether you sit before the computer and make it come to fruition. Publishing will not happen fast, and you cannot develop your voice "thinking" about writing. That comes with lots of practice and failure. So accept the fact your early writing will always need work and will read amateurish and raw. Time takes care of that, but only if you use it wisely and write. Thinking never replaces the doing.
So go forth and write.
There isn't a pill. There isn't a magic website or all-encompassing how-to book. It's a two-step forward and one step back process. If you don't like tripping over your feet for a while, often a long while, then don't write. But I can't begin to describe the joy of seeing all that work make it to print.