This post is fairly self-explanatory: we shall be discussing the hardest things about writing. Well, actually, I’ll be discussing it into the void, so if you fancy an actual discussion add a comment or find me on twitter. Anyhoo, let’s crack on, void.
1 – Working out when to write
Some freaks out there recommend just picking up a pen and writing. I get it, truly I do – some people just need that kick start BUT if someone handed me a pen and a piece of paper and told me to write something I’d just write ‘help me’ and start crying.
I like to schedule my time. Hell, I like to schedule what I write. I used to be a pantser, but nowadays I find that having what I’m going to write already up in my head is the only way to get me to be productive.
I’ve got a post coming up about how to schedule time to write, but let me just give you a depressing little preview: if you want to be a writer you need to write. If you don’t have time to write, make it. If you can’t, you’re the only person that’s losing out. No one else cares, except possibly your mum.
2 – Working out what to write
For a very long time, I thought I was a terrible writer because ideas didn’t spontaneously happen upon me all the live long day. As it happens, that rarely happens to anyone. Inspiration strikes every now and again, but then it wanes and I sit and stare at the page feeling betrayed by my own brain.
Sometimes you have to just sit and stare at the page. Sometimes you need to go for a walk. Check out this post for some ideas for finding inspiration.
3 – Working out how to write
Computer? Pen? Your own blood?
Apart from the blood one, don’t knock either method until you’ve tried them. I used to be a computer only-type writer, but I’m currently writing a second draft by hand and I find it…easier? Being able to doodle and gaze around without the accusing white glare of a screen is far better for getting the juices flowing.
Obviously, computers are easier to edit on, and if your handwriting is illegible that they’ll be your bestie. Just don’t immediately discard the idea of writing by hand.
4 – Working out where to write
This doesn’t matter as much as writers like to think it does. I started writing this post at the kitchen table because it’s where I’m most productive, but then my boyfriend put Journey 2: The Mysterious Island on in the living room so I’ve migrated in their with my laptop on my knee. Judge all you want but it contains tiny elephants, enormous bees, and The Rock. What else does a film need?
We all have that dream of writing a novel in the Pinterest-worthy writing den at the bottom of the garden, but you’ll need to sell your first book to finance that. I’d recommend writing your first book somewhere cool, like at your local bus stop, in a nearby forest or at the bottom of a well.
When they’re making a TV documentary on your monumental rise to fame and success, you’ll want a good sob story.
5 – Are you plagiarizing?
I always worry that I’ve read what I’m writing before, but as far as I’m aware, I haven’t. I’ve just written, thought and dreamed about the same story for so long that it’s stuck inside my brain. Chances are, you’re fine. If not, hopefully, your editor will pick it up :/ That’s why they get the big bucks!
6 – Do my characters have stupid names?
You can’t write a novel set in medieval England and have Jessicas and Callums everywhere.
Don’t replace every ‘i’ with a ‘y’ and think your readers won’t notice.
See also: keyboard smashing. We see you. Stahp. Make it easy for movie producers to make a great film 😉
7- Sharing vs. not sharing
We all have moments when we feel like our novel is incredible and we want to share it with the world. It’s exciting! But then when someone asks to actually see it, we get rather, er, Gollum-y about it. MY PRECIOUS BITCH. LEAVE ME ALONE.
I still to just giving people a vague outline, but have never, ever, ever shown anyone my writing. Just the idea of it makes me a bit sweaty.
8 – Daydreaming big and feeling like you’ll jinx yourself
Ever read a blog that says that the writer never, ever, ever, dreamed of making it this big? Yep, me too.
I highly doubt they NEVER dreamt that people would be interested in what they had to say. What they mean is that they thought about it, but didn’t think it would actually happen. Every writer that’s ever put pen to paper has hoped that someone somewhere would like what they’ve written.
Otherwise, why bother?
9 – Reading a book and realising yours is shit in comparison
Someone else will think yours is better. You just need to find them and make them read your book. You know how everyone hates Twilight? I LOVE it. As do my mum, dad, brother and his girlfriend. I hate Lord of the Rings, but I know that millions of people love it. BTW, I love the LOTR films, but I find the books a bit long-winded. IF JK Rowling would rewrite them, I’d be much obliged. Ta.
10 -Trying not to get nos 1- 9 get to you
Hahahaha good luck.
Being racked with self-doubt is just part of being a writer. You just have to carry on. The more you practice, the better you’ll get.