Writing is hard.
Oh, certainly, the act of writing is easy enough; you start with a word, and you add another, and then another, and another after that. Eventually, you form sentences and paragraphs. If you keep going, you might end up with pages and chapters, and beyond that, entire stories. Just like Dr Frankenstein, with enough perseverance, you too can create a monster.
What nobody told me is: that’s actually the easy part.
The really difficult bit is; taking that first, unruly draft, and honing it into something beautiful which blossoms fully to life. That you write a story that deserves to be told. A tale which would be impossible, nay, irresponsible, for you to withhold from the world. You need to gather your pile of messy parts, sew them together, and fashion a magnificent body.
A great number of people start out strong, but give up easily. They run out of time, or inspiration. They start questioning their abilities too much, or, in some instances, not enough. Many fall into the dreadful grip of Imposter Syndrome and decide to put their words away for a while.
“I’ll go back to it later,” they tell themselves. “I don’t have to finish it now.”
They know in their hearts that is a lie. I lied to myself so many times.
Others listen too hard to the voices; those of their own and others, which tell them to give up and to give in. They lose their confidence, and their creative voice.
I’ve been told, and read, many writing tips, and all of them have their benefits and their place. You need to find, flex and build your creative muscles. Start small and keep going until you can benchpress those coveted 2,000 words a day. Write every day, and read just as often. Get up fifteen minutes earlier and start a new writing routine. These are all good tips, and will take you great places; but the best one, the one that encouraged me to finally write and finish my first book was: don’t stop.
Every serious writer knows that writing every day is the best, (and quickest,) way to hone their skills. Just like playing football, or going for a run, if you practice every day, you’ll reap the rewards. If you don’t, well, you won’t lose the skill completely, but you’ll likely end up more fair-to-middling. Little League. A weekend amateur. Certainly not Stadium or Olympic standard.
I don’t mean write without breaks or continuously; no-one can write a novel in one day. Consistency and frequency are key. Don’t put it off or put it away for later. Don’t tell yourself you’ll go back to it – do it now. Write every day, if only for half an hour. Remind yourself that it is far better to write only fifty words than none at all. If you wait for the Muse, you’ll never write a word. If you confine yourself to only writing at weekends or every other day, you will do yourself no favours in the end.
Get started; keep adding more words; build up momentum, and, whatever else you do; don’t stop.