It’s seriously 2 AM and I’m just getting around to writing this. This is what happens when I have zero concentration during the daytime…
Below are five mini-epiphanies that I stumbled upon during my past week of writing. Sometimes I have these same thoughts multiple times during the week, or I’ll have these same thoughts multiple weeks in a row, but I thought I’d send them out into the internet to see if anyone else agrees with me.
- Don’t forget the book that got you started. The avid reader and writer that I am I know instantly which book got me really started on the writing path. I’ve mentioned it before, and it is Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonflight. Sure, I had read books before that, but I well and truly love this book, and it is the one that made me want to read more. It made me wonder what other stories were out there to explore, and wonder what stories I might find in myself.
- Get away from that damn computer! I really need to do this more myself because if I don’t sit down with something already handwritten to then type into the aforementioned computer I will well and truly accomplish very little. I’m sure I’ve conditioned my brain to become distracted when in front of a screen, or maybe it’s because the internet is one click away, but it basically signals death to my work day when I get on without a plan. I don’t even write well if I try to put my thoughts directly from my brain to the keyboard, and I think that’s because handwriting forces me to slow down and really think about what I’m saying. Typing lends itself to zoning out. At least it does for me.
- Sometimes less is more. I am not someone who can sit down each day and write thirty pages. I’d like to be that person someday, but it’s just not something I’m capable of right now, and I have a hard time telling myself that that’s ok. Isn’t it better to have ended the day knowing you’ve done “X” amount of really quality work versus “XXXXXX” amount of shoddy work? (More X’s equals a larger word count in my brain). Better work earlier on means more detailed editing later rather than simply cutting out useless paragraphs, or pages, that were simply put there to reach a word limit.
- Read to educate yourself. I do this mostly when I start a new piece, or when I’m struggling with a current work. In reality, I do this all the time. I read works that are similar in style, theme, and execution to the piece I’m working on. I see how they succeed through character development and craft, and then I try and translate what I’ve learned to my own work. Sometimes it can feel a bit like copying in the beginning, but it always takes a shape and life of its own, and there are always going to be similar tropes to narratives with similar characters and themes. I always err on the side of caution and trying to use what I’ve learned as a guideline, not a rule.
- Read the book because the story rocks. I have always felt that if you stay in your own genre you’re missing out on tons of books that are absolutely wonderful. I just finished A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab. The book has nothing to do with either of the stories I’m working on, but I’ve already put the second book on my Kindle. I loved it, and it gave me that thrill of reading that I hope to pass on to my own readers someday. Who cares if it isn’t high literature, or whether it comments on our current lives? Someone smarter than me will write a book like that, and I’ll probably love it, but I want to write a story that people will want to read because it’s just that damn good. There isn’t anything wrong with wanting that.