You know what pisses me off more not getting enough sleep. Walking into office and hearing how things are terrible and no one is in a good mood. I don’t know if anyone has ever told them how this Universe works but seem to have missed a few crucial steps. Complaining about how the world is conspiring against you isn’t going to get you anywhere. That is why instead of complaining about how having to hear complaints first thing each morning irritates the hell out of me, I am going to focus my attention on something that might help me and the rest of the aspiring authors out there. Here are 5 things you should keep in mind when you are a writer and everything around you sucks.
1. There is no such thing as inspiration: If you are waiting to be inspired before you put your pen to paper or sit down at your laptop, you’re going to be waiting a long time. The only inspired writing I do, are my blog posts. Even then I have them planned out in advance. (Thank you blog planners). But to be honest, if you wait for the voice of your muse to begin echoing in your ears to write your story, you might never write another word again. It’s okay to be stuck at your story. But don’t use writer’s block to justify not getting your writing done. I’ve not worked on stories on a deadline before and it’s only now I am appreciating the fact that writing is our job. Would you turn up at your office and tell them you’re feeling uninspired and couldn’t work that day? Why should writing be any different? Especially if you are aspiring to be an author?
2. Stop worrying and keep writing: When you’re writing the first draft of your novel, it’s far more important to reach your word count than it is to make sure the manuscript is ready to go off to be printed. If we all could write produce masterpieces at the first attempt, then concepts of first draft, second draft, final draft, editing and proofreading wouldn’t have existed. I had fallen victim to this just this month. Until someone reminded me, that this torture is something all of us writers subject us to on a daily basis. It is who we are. And that is why I tell everyone to take part in NaNoWriMo. A shitty first draft is better than a blank page.
3. Don’t edit, proofread or get opinions before you finish the first draft: Okay, I have broken this rule a fair few times. But it was not the best choice. Because it’s an incomplete draft, the beta readers get confused about what they should give you feedback about. If the feedback is less than enthusiastic, you tend to lose interest in the whole story and that’s how half-written manuscripts are born. And no matter how tempting it is, do not read your manuscript when you’re in the middle of writing it. You’re not going to be doing yourself any favours. Instead you’re going to second guess your own writing skills and you’re going to be consumed with self-doubt. Don’t go down that self-destructive rabbit hole.
4. Protect your writing time: This one advice that J.K. Rowling has and I have tried my best to absorb into my life. If you were working, you’d not let someone interrupt you when had a deadline coming up. Why should your writing time be any different? In my family, it’s annoying to have to answer people when I’m in the middle of writing dialog. It’s a step worse in office, when I am struck by an idea but forced to abandon that as I have to work on a pending project. As a rule, I only write the stories during my lunch break. When I get back home it’s only after dinner that I get those glorious uninterrupted hours of writing. In other words, you’re going to have to learn to shut out the world when you’re writing. That is the only way you can charge forward. And don’t feel guilty about it.
5. Reward Yourself: I watch a lot of serials and I tell myself that I would only get to watch them when I had successfully reached my writing goal. Or that I could finally sink my teeth into that awesome book, when I had finished the current chapter I am writing. If you know that there’s something at the end of the long, tiring road, you motivate yourself to work that much harder and reach your goals. And oh, yes, you must have well defined writing goals from the very start.
And those are the 5 hacks you can bear in mind when you have to be a writer, when every single thing around you sucks. Being if you are a writer you know in your heart of hearts that writing is the only thing that keeps you from going absolutely insane.