Writing a book is easy. Writing a good book is hard. There are more people than you can begin to imagine who dream of making it as a writer.
A lot of these people will never see that dream come true because they will never finish their work. They will be “working on their” insert the blank for the rest of their lives or until they simply quit. The biggest challenge you need to overcome in writing a book is yourself.
I am one of those dreamers. I am an aspiring author who, just like you, wants to be published one day. I recently finished the first draft of my first novel. Let me tell you that the feeling was incredible.
Wrapping my hands around a bundle of paper filled with words from my own imagination is something I will never forget but, it wasn’t easy and I am not even close to being done. In this essay I want to write about my struggle with productivity, writer’s block, and the ever present internal battle that comes with writing a book.
The first step to writing is writing. Stop talking about writing. Stop writing about writing. Stop waiting for inspiration. Writers write. That is how they become good at it. There will always be those talented few who can spew out a first draft full of rainbows and minimal spelling errors but, if you are reading this then I am guessing you aren’t one of those people.
You need to write.
You need to write every day if you can. If this is something that you want as a part of your life then you can’t wait around anymore. Pick up your pencil, bust out that typewriter, or click open that word document. Anything you need to do to get those words and ideas out of your head and somewhere you can see.
If you are like me at all you have talked about writing a book. You have talked about the kind of stories you’d pen. You have talked about the authors you would love to write like. If you are like I used to be you will be waiting for something to happen before you start. Why? There are thousands of reasons you can make up and most of them don’t matter.
It doesn’t matter who you are. It doesn’t matter what you do. You can make time to write. It doesn’t take a lot at first. A half an hour a day will soon turn to an hour. That hour could turn into three. Once you lose yourself to your writing it will be hard to stop. Once you stop writing it will be so much harder to start again.
When it comes to writing a book one cure for writer’s block is planning. Your whole book should be planned out. You need to know every single aspect of it before you even start the first page. Who are your characters? What do they eat for breakfast? What is the climax of your book? When will it happen?
Why is every sentence you write and every word you use important? What themes do you want to explore? Plan your book. Write it all down. If you have structure and a good outline you won’t ever have writer’s block. You will already know what you need to write. From that point on all you need to do is write it.
An additional cure is getting over yourself. You want to be a writer? Sure. That doesn’t mean you are going to start spitting out the next great American novel on your first try. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try though. The key to good writing is good revision. The key to good revision is having something to revise.
Get your ideas down. Don’t edit as you write. Just write your story. You can fix it later. This is a step that held me back for a long time. I was worried my stories weren’t good enough. I left many unfinished. I was right and wrong.
Right now my stories aren’t good enough. I am new to this. I need to take the time to hone in on my craft. You aren’t any different. Whether you have been writing for ten years or twenty minutes there is always room for progress. Know that whatever you do today you can do better tomorrow. The sooner you start the sooner you will get better.
It is easy to let yourself start a downward spiral. Maybe you read something on the internet about how hard it is to get published. Maybe you think you are terrible at writing and you should just quit. Maybe your significant other left you and you just don’t feel complete anymore. When these things happen you will want to stop writing.
Don’t stop writing.
That will start a cycle that is even harder to break. Take a day or two to change it up. Take a break from your current project and write about something else. For example I am writing this essay instead of working on my current project because I was feeling down today. Do something you love to do during the day and write at night or vice versa. Live your life. If you want writing to be a part of your life than make it a part of your life. Don’t let your own negativity stop you. If you have a dream the only person who can make that dream come true is you.
Now go. You have work to do.
Ian Winship is a 23 year old aspiring author from Massachusetts.
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