Life sometimes moves faster than we would like. Other times it moves too slow and can become unbearably frustrating.
All this can affect not only your writing but also how you view your writing. It’s easy to start putting pressure on yourself to perform more and to do more, all of which can disrupt your natural pace. In order to find your natural pace again you may need to backtrack and to remember your original enthusiasm for your writing.
Instead of keeping the post general this time, I’m going write something more personal. As a rule I prefer to keep talk about myself to a minimum and to focus on the writing advice but I’m going to break that rule today.
A Personal Note
When I first learned how to read and write, I loved stories. I would be sent home with just a few lines to read but would read the whole book instead. It was at the age of four when I realised that some lucky person got to make up these stories for a living and it was then that I decided I wanted to be a writer – specifically a writer of fiction books. So I started writing whenever I got an idea. I would ask for sheets of paper and a pen when I went to visit relatives and had a story idea and would write every chance I got until it was finished. If I got stuck, I waited until I had come up with the next scenes and then carried on. After all, I wanted to know how they would end. I never planned stories much except in my head and I never thought about whether it was good or not or how well written it was and so my writing was my freedom, my own little piece of world/s to explore.
Each story I wrote was longer than the next until I was eventually writing novellas and then finally full-length novels. I played with poetry and I always wanted to be a writer but even at this time I thought that if I never got published it wouldn’t matter as long as I could still do what I loved.
The problem was that over time writing became something I struggled to find time to do. My work-life balance got poorer over the last few years and working full-time while writing began to take its toll to the extent that even when I got time to write I didn’t write because I was too tired and run down. This went on for so long that I reached the point of burn-out and began to worry that I was writing so little that I would never reach my goals of publication and a job `writing books’.
What happened to me is easy to trace back now that my mind is clear. I forgot why I wanted to write in the first place. I became so determined not to give up that I created writing quotas and writing days but for me this kind of plan never works because I work at my best when I’m enthusiastic and not when I’m forcing myself.
So what’s the purpose of this lengthy post? Why am I wandering into the history of the ups and downs in my writing journey so far? I just wanted to really stress to other writers that forcing yourself when you are exhausted and unenthusiastic is the quickest way to stop yourself writing. If you are finding that you are working at other people’s pace instead of your own, go back to your own way. After all writing is individual to every person. Some people love to write in rushes as I do, sometimes writing several scenes all at once and other times writing nothing until the next string of words and images come to mind. Other writers thrive on their writing being a regular, planned event, setting aside certain times and places for their writing.
The most important thing is that neither is wrong. Don’t look at other writers and think that you should be following their footsteps exactly. Similarly if you are just starting out, try to tap into that essence of writing from your own view and in your words and not in how you think a novel should be. Even though you may be writing a story about a fictional character you are writing it how you view it. If you only want to write in one genre, only write in one genre. Don’t let yourself be tainted by notions of exactly what a writer should be.
Finally, the biggest barrier most people will come across is the view that they should not call themselves a writer if they are not published. This is the worst myth of all. If writing has been a large portion of your life or is something you are passionate about then you are a writer. It’s not pretentious, it’s not showing off, it’s part of who you are even if people may not always understand this.
The main reason I created this blog was because I wanted to support other writers, especially new writers and keep them on track. I also decided that I was unhappy that I wasn’t writing much anymore and wanted to get myself back into that place where I was focussed and happy. I purposefully decided that I would write what I believed and not try to fit it to what I felt was expected of me, as I might have done in the past.
The message I wanted to share today is to keep writing in the way that you feel is right for you. Advice from others can be wonderfully helpful but make sure to keep your own pace when writing and not the pace that others want you to have. After all, it’s you that experiences what you write. It’s you that is the one that gives your time and effort to your stories/poems etc. It’s okay others telling you how to go about it but you’re the one that knows how much work you can put in at any given time.
Above all, don’t give up just because you go through a difficult patch. It happens to most people at any given time and is not permanent.
- Becoming a Brand Versus Writing What You Want to Write (justinelarbalestier.com)
- Laura Levine answers The Questions (seattlemysteryblog.typepad.com)
- Still writing! (thewritingblues.wordpress.com)
- Guest Post: Writing vs. Storytelling – What’s the Difference? (addictivestory.wordpress.com)
- ASPIRING WRITER: The User Guide and Maintenance Manual (3) (zenscribbles.wordpress.com)
- The Writing Life (Part 1): What does it mean to be a writer? (theindieexchange.com)
- Revelation (betharnstein.wordpress.com)