First of all, so sorry it’s taken me so long to finally start posting. You know how it is, life got busy. So in order to not waste any more time, let’s start talking.
Writing. It’s hard, like, really hard. I’m not sure anyone ever gives writers enough credit. I’m not directly trying to pat myself on the back, but people are extremely quick to talk about what books they loved and which books they did not. I just got my first negative (2 out of 5 star) review recently and it was a swift blow to the gut. Now, I’m no stranger to rejection. Anyone trying to get published knows the thick skin you develop from all the rejection responses you receive when you submit your work to publishers, agents, and reviewers. And yo do need a thick skin. If you want to be a writer, then it’s mandatory. Otherwise you’ll plummet into a deep depression and start questioning every word you put to paper.
So why did this 2 star rating gut check me? Well, because I self-published my first book. Aside from the year it took me to write the book, I put hundreds of hours into developing the cover, going back and forth with editors and proof-readers, and shelling out a decent chunk of change to get it out there in the world. Readers, at no fault of their own, don’t often think about the passion that goes into books.
But enough about me dealing with my emotions. I guess what I’m trying to say is that: WRITING IS HARD. One of my favorite quotes of all time is by Ernest Hemingway. He said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” And this couldn’t be more true! Granted, most, if not all, now use a laptop or desktop computer instead of a typewriter, but the sentiment still stands. Writing is one of the hardest things ANYONE can do. It’s not just coming up with a story and throwing it onto a page…even though that’s the core of it. Flexing the imagination takes time. It takes work. And it takes a piece of your soul to do it.
Many have heard the saying, “You write what you know.” And I believe that’s true. Even the craziest stories ever conceived. The wildest tales set far in the future, in the distant past, or the relevant present all feed off the author’s own personal experiences and acquaintances. It’s inevitable. So, if you write what you know, then why is it so hard to write?
That’s a tough question to answer. I should say that I don’t believe in writer’s block. I really don’t. I do believe in motivation block. Let me explain. It’s difficult to justify taking the time out of a busy (and sometimes not so busy) day to sit down and write about something that you never know if anyone will see or read. It’s extremely easy to tell yourself you’ll get to it tomorrow, or, what’s it matter because I’m not making money off it and no one will read it anyway. And that’s just the tip of the ice-berg on motivational excuses. Excuses are easy. Writing is hard. But anything worth anything is hard. So the only advice I ever give anyone looking to get into writing is, just do it. Stop making excuses, stop telling yourself that you don’t know what to write about, it’s all bullshit. Force yourself to sit down in front of your computer, typewriter, or pad and pen and just start.
You don’t have to have your entire story figured out. Sometimes you just need to spill to get going. I had a writing teacher in college that used to make us do strain of thought exercises. I highly recommend doing them. They’re a simple and easy way to get you into the habit of JUST WRITING…something, anything, even if it doesn’t make any sense. All you do is sit down and start writing the first thing that comes into your mind. And don’t think it needs to be something you are intending to write a book about. The exercise is to train your mind to wander creatively onto the page. Don’t worry about grammar, spelling, punctuation, formatting, structure, plot, character development, none of that. Your only task is to write as much as possible with as little breaks in thought as possible. Sometimes you get complete garbledy-goop, but other times you wonder into a fantastic core idea for a story.
I guess what I’m saying is you’ll never be a writer if you don’t write. And you’ll never be an author if you haven’t written anything. And writing is the hardest part. You just have to force yourself to do it. I promise that once you going you’ll not want to stop. Well, if you do want to stop, then maybe writing isn’t in your future. I think the biggest misconception about writing is that it’s purely a creative endeavor. Spoiler alert, it’s not. In fact, being creative is half of it. The other half is very technical. If you don’t have a team of editors and designers, you have to know how to format a book, how to create compelling story arcs and characters, nail grammar, have an eye for cover art, etc…etc… the list goes on and on.
But don’t be scared. Or do, fear is a compelling driving force. Yet, know that I, while not a crazy successful author, will still be here trying to share tidbits about what I learned from writing and self-publishing my first book. I’ll also be diving into tangents about the creative process I use to get words to page. Sometimes I’ll even talk about things that have nothing to do with writing at all and more about life in general. My goal is to try and put out at minimum a post a week. So stay tuned! Also, please take everything I say with a grain of salt. Everything you’ll read here is based on personal experience and opinion. Nothing should be taken as fact unless I specifically say so 😉 And know that writing is an extremely personal process. There is no one “right” way to write. Also know that I am a firm believer that everyone CAN write. It’s just a matter of finding what you’re good at writing. Even being “bad” at writing has an audience.
So, remember, yes, writing is extremely hard. It might even be the hardest thing you ever set out to do. But the reward far outweighs the struggle. And I’m not talking about making millions of dollars either. The harsh reality is that most writers don’t 😦 But I promise, when you see the first copy of your very first book in your hands, you’ll know what I’m talking about. So stop waiting for the right idea to pop into your head. Nike. And get to writing. The pain begins…NOW!