Every story must have a beginning, middle and ending. As you write your story, you know this and want to make sure these story stages are intact. But do you know when you begin to feel tired of your story? In the middle of your first draft! Whether you are drafting your first novel, […]Continue Reading..
Writing is more of the journey than the destination. As wonderful as publication is, it isn’t the point of the writing process. It’s just a stop along the road.
As award-winning author Anne Lamott points out, “Being published isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Writing is.”
So don’t let your non-published status get you down. Just enjoy where you are right now.
– K.M Weiland – Author, Writing Coach
“I am not published.”
And so what?
Enjoy where you are now. Be proud of the writer you have become. We are are on this endless road. Everyone keeps moving, published or not published, keep moving. Enjoy the journey.
As a creative, you are bound to struggle with perfectionism all your life. As far as your writing or art is concerned, things are never ever as you wanted them to be. If only you could change this or that, it would be as it shoulld.
Yet, when you change this or that, you find out it’s not as satisfactory as you wanted it to be, still. You keep changing things until you are totally used.
The crazy thing about perfectionism is that you know it’s like making a mountain out of a mole hill – a flawless writing is impossible, yet you try hard to achieve the perfect work.
No writer has totally overcome perfectionism. You definitely need to have a way to curb it each time during your writing, otherwise, you get restricted by it in a bad, bad way – you will find letting your work reach the public eye difficult. Of what use is your writing if no one other than you will ever see it? Here’s what I do to put perfectionism back in it’s proper place.
– Whatever happens, I do not revise my writing until I’m done with my first draft, all of it.
A year ago, when I thought I had outgrown this malady, it hooked me while working on my story. I wrote a scene of 632 words and each time I read through, I came face to face with something that was not sounding well. I tried to restructure that scene to thrill the perfectionist in me.
I changed good sentences to ‘better’ ones and tried to change them to perfect ones and more perfect ones. I ended up ruining the entire scene and had to begin afresh. Chunk of time squandered!
There was this particular line I changed many times, fifteen times or more, yet it didn’t come out as I wanted it to.
There was always a better way to present it, a better way to write it – it was an endless futile efforts to make it better.
I made up my mind to allow my words to flow through my hands and without casting a second glance at them until I’m done.
When the draft is done, I allow it to sit for a while before revision.
– I began with sharing my amateur writing with others
My writing is not good enough! And so what?
Do you wait until you have got it all flawless before you publish it? Its true you shouldn’t allow your work to be seen with wrong spellings and awkward grammar. So, get your spellings and grammar alright and you’re good to go.
When I started writing, I didn’t know the basics. I only learned along the line through reading and from other writers. I’m still learning. So, I posted my story draft ( I still do) on my website. Initially, it was very hard to post them for public because I felt they’re not good enough. I kept posting them anyway, until my writing confidence soared.
– I stopped taking writing seriously
If mathematics can be fun, why won’t writing be. Writing should be fun. Do not think too hard or try forcing the perfect thought out of your head. Write them as they come. Do well not to cast your ideas away as useless. Write them down. Write as if your words come from your hand. Do not bother about what you’re writing. Enjoy it.
– In writing, honesty turns out to be my enemy
You shouldn’t tell yourself the truth about your writing. You should be giving perfectionism a chance. Avoid criticisizing your work as much as possible. Let someone else do that for you. You already have a handful of critics waiting at the other end. They should have one or to flaws to talk about.
I also learned that perfectionsm and procatination work hand in hand. So, avoid procrastination. Write everyday.
How do you deal with your writing perfectionism? Do share with us.
Writing could happen the same way you relax on a beach stretcher sipping on your choicest drink as long as you are at peace within you, On the other hand, writing could be almost impossible when there is rioting in the mind due to a pressing issue.
If you are able to continue with your normal writing schedule when hit with an overwhelming difficult situation, do accept a thousand bow.
It’s hard to continue with a normal writing schedule when your world is falling apart.
You could be concerned and probably shaken by the hubbub around the world and except you decide to focus on writing about the covid-19, and it’s related topics like social distancing or fear management, you should as well be chasing the rats around while your house is on fire (or so your mind will tell you).
At the beginning of the year, I made my first writing resolution ever and it’s to add a thousand words a day to a book I’m working on. I was doing just that when the covid-19 became the talk of the world and I’m left with the news of the confirmed cases and thousands of deaths by the virus to deal with.
Each time I find myself before the keys, unusual questions keep popping up; Who are you writing for? For the sick? The dying? The worried, The scared? Who are you writing for, Florence?
But one thing is certain
The world doesn’t stand still when difficulty comes. The tick-tack of the clock hanging on your wall tells you that life goes on even in time of difficulty.
People still eat, people take their bath, they still smile and joke around about their worsening situation, they exercise to stay fit, they read books to calm their nerves, they talk and get involved in activities.
Write through a difficult time
To do this, you may have to deviate from your normal writing schedule if you’re is not strong enough to stick to it despite the rattlings in your head.
- Write about your feelings
This works to keep you writing wether you are mourning a loved one, just received a rejection letter, facing a break-up or battling with bankruptcy. you can write about how you feel about your present situation or what you think about them.
Not all writers like writing about their emotions especially when it’s too personal but go ahead and write them anyway. After all it’s not a must that you share them with someone. You can delete them whenever you want from your note.
The reason why you should write from you feeling is because at this time, this is all you are left to deal with and to keep writing and feel better.
- Keep a journal
This is the time you need a journal most. In your journal, write daily how you feel about the situation at hand – what is getting better and what’s not_ your interactions with others, survival or healing ideas, inspirations feom your surrounding – whatever comes to mind.
Write whatever you decide to write in your journal at your normal writing time if this time is possible in your current difficult situation-
Through your Journal writing you’ll discover how it helps you deal with the situation at hand and at the same time keeps you motivated to write every day.
- Write on a related topic
Writing on the topic that is related to your present predicament could help you keep you write about what interests you at the moment. For example, if youre faced with the death of a loved one, you could decide to write a profound tribute or a memoir or beautiful memory you have of him or her. If it’s a natural disaster that left you with nothing, you could write about your plans to bounce back after a disastrous tornado.
- Read and write on an inspiration
Take some time to read. Reading can help your recovering process and offer you some inspiration, humor and encouragement. Write on how the book has helped your situation or how the book has inspired you.
Try to write but do not push it
If you feel like writing is not the right thing to do at the moment, do not push yourself. Take a break and try later. Writing is not a do or die afair. It’s what you do when body and mind are in a good or at least a manageable state.
Difficult times can kill your writing zeal but know that life is not completely free from difficulty and if you should allow one difficulty to stand in the way, you’ll never write.
Image source: Unsplash.com
Whether you’re writing for a client, writing as a team or writing your first book, time is your only enemy and if ever you want to achieve a completed project, you must set a deadline.
You probably have a job, family to spend time with, friends to keep up with, groups to meet with and so on.
These are time-consuming perfect sources of distractions and ground for excuses and procrastination.
I had these projects I worked on for three years before realising how much I needed to do something about it.
When I started, I was writing up to a chapter a day, and then a chapter in a week, then a chapter in three months and then, one year, before I knew it three years had passed without achieving much.
When I set a deadline and started working with it, I made some alarming progress.
Without a deadline, a writer will be looking for trouble.
What does setting a deadline do for you as a writer?
It snatches you away from your comfort zone and fights with procrastination until you’re done.
Assuming you had a lot of projects to write, for example, you’re writing for many clients, for sure there should be pressure here and there. Setting a deadline helps to reduce pressure to make your writing less stressful.
Deadline just like goal helps you to stay focused and work hard to finish a writing task within a stipulated time.
When you’re known with meeting up with deadlines, you become a reliable writer before your clients. You gain a good reputation and this means more respect, more and more clients, more work assignments and more money of course.
Set Your Deadline.
List all those projects you need to complete.
Starting with the ones you want to write first, write down the lists of projects you need to be completed.
It’s important that you understand that you are human and not some robotic machine. Take as much as you can chew at a time. One at a time.
Do not take too many projects from clients or decide to write ten books at a time. It won’t work.
Break up your projects into small manageable tasks.
Manageable in the sense that even if it’s large, you’re sure to finish within the stipulated time, otherwise you reduce the task.
Create a daily time table and stick to it
For example, you want to finish the draft of a book within a month or two months.
You may decide to be writing five or more pages a day. This five pages you have distributed among the 30 days in a month and will be coming up with 150 pages a month or 300 pages in two months. No more, no less. The key is in writing those five pages a day.
You need to be very disciplined to be able to stick to the deadline. Discipline is the key.
I remember the funny words of Douglas Adams, the author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,
“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”
You know it’s always easy to talk about deadlines and the need for it but hard to meet up with it due to the time factor and human weaknesses.
That’s when discipline comes in.
Need to finish a book or pressure from clients won’t make you work hard, it will only scatter your brain and makes it hard to concentrate.
Set a deadline, stick to it. That’s all you need to finish that project.