Writing by pedrosimoes7

So…this is it. The pivotal moment that is going define the rest of your writing career. You’ve read lots and lots of books, maybe even a few on how to be a good writer, and there is now an idea in your head. An idea that you want to turn into a novel. There is a notebook on your desk and your favorite pen in your hand. You are ready to write your first draft.

But wait! You can’t just start writing–can you?

You sit there, staring at the blank page as you wait for the perfect words to come to flow from your pen. After all, it has to all be perfect  from the get-go, right?

LOOSEN UP. Don’t be afraid to write dirty (I’m referring to the quality of your writing here, not the content).

That’s what I have to tell myself. Often. Sometimes every few minutes. It is possible to get so caught up in writing something just right, that nothing gets written at all. Remember that whole “week” of writing that I did back in August? Yes, the one where I only wrote 1200 words. Part of that was writer’s block, but most of it was because I got so caught up in how the words should be put down that I wasn’t putting any words down at all. No book is perfect. There are good books, great books, amazing books and books that can fool us into thinking that they are perfect. And you know what: it took a couple of drafts to get them there. Of the two writers that I was able to poll, both said that they revised several times before they were “finished”. If someone who has been writing longer and has also managed to write and sell a trilogy doesn’t expect to get it right the first time, why should I put that kind of pressure on myself.

Multiple revisions are perfectly normal.

You gotta allow yourself to get a little sloppy. Have some fun with that first draft. Don’t worry so much about how you write it. Just write. As soon as I did that I was able to churn out 600 word in ten minutes (I know, I took a whole week off and only actually wrote for ten minutes a day). This is the draft where you get to be corny and repetitive and over dramatic and cliché. Don’t be afraid of that sentence or phrase or scene being too over the top, just write it. Allow yourself to write freely and you may discover genius that you never knew you had. You can clean out the crap later.

In the two stories that I have actually finished there is a lot that needs to be worked on, but there are also pieces of it that blow me away because I find them absolutely brilliant. There is dialogue and foreshadowing that I thought was too (insert word here) at the time, but once I pulled back and looked at whole picture, it actually kind of fit. And I couldn’t believe I had written it. All it needed was some polishing up.

When you’re growing flowers, you need to be ready to do a little weeding.

This is the most important thing that I felt that I took away from my little write-cation. When I find myself stalling because I want to get it down perfectly, I just give myself a slap on the wrist and start writing again. I have no doubt that I can write an amazing book, but first I need something to work with.

 

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