Don’t be discouraged if you’re having trouble with your current work in progress. Anyone who’s ever written anything “seriously” has had exactly the same struggle.
“What is the best way to go from here?”
“Is this character believable enough?”
“Is this scene really necessary to the plot?”
“What about that flipping Oxford comma?”
Getting caught up in dilemmas like these can make you feel uncertain about yourself. After being stuck for a period of time, you may start doubting your abilities, and maybe even your story as a whole.
Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret.
The trouble you’re having isn’t because you’re not clever enough or talented enough. No! The trouble with writing comes with caring. You spend hours or weeks agonizing over the validity of one plot point, not because you’re too dense to recognize whether it’s good, but because you deeply want your story to be told successfully. As writers, we shape our stories as carefully as we might shape our children as they grow; molding them into the best versions of themselves they can become. If we wrote whatever popped into our heads without thinking twice about it, our books would be rambling and pointless; they’d have no value to anybody–not even to us.
I’ve never met a writer who said, “This novel is just something I did for fun. It doesn’t really matter that much to me.” A writer’s feelings towards his/her work usually run more along these lines:
“It’s really close to my heart.”
“This novel means so much to me.”
“It comes from a very emotional place.”
“Writing this book has helped me heal.”
Funny. It doesn’t sound all that fun–but it does sound worth it.
So if you’re having trouble with writing today, good! Work through it, get past it, and move on to the next troublesome bit. When you reach the last page and write those final, beautiful words, “the end,” you will honestly be able to say, “This is something to be proud of. I was met with an abundance of difficulty, but I persevered. I thought hard and made hard choices. Now I can say with absolute certainty that this book is the best it can possibly be.”
“… Until I start editing, of course.”
Today’s Prompt: Set a timer for 20 minutes and then write a story about something that genuinely means nothing to you. Stop when alarm sounds. How does it read? Was it easy or difficult to write?