This Writers Life: Hooray for time.

It’s Friday morning and I am sitting at my desk, coffee in hand, half sad and a little happy.

You see, all through June and into this month we have had my step-kids here. It’s been a busy, noisy, full house. While I love having them here, and I know my husband enjoys having them around, at the end of this weekend they go back to their mothers.

I’m sad because I will miss them. My husband will miss them. My kids will miss them. But, a little happy too because it will be a little less chaotic, and a lot less loud. I will be able to get more writing done, which is good.

But for now, it’s Friday, and we have the weekend left with them. One last weekend to spend together as a family. We have time.

So what’s on the agenda?

Friday: Get some (hopefully) writing done today and then dinner out. Our usual ritual with them. Which tonight, it will be Dave & Busters. Which is a grown up Chuckie Cheese for those who don’t know. We all love it.

Saturday: All about the pool. We have a cook out planned with the rest of our family so that they can see my step-kids before they go back to their mothers. Sadly, no writing planned.

Sunday: Reading, Relaxing, and trying not to focus on how the the clock is counting down to their eventual departure.

*sigh*

At least our grocery bill will look better. Silver lining.

Writing Struggles

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Photo Credit: Louis Allen

I cannot tell you how many times I have let that voice inside my head get to me. Every writer knows it. The one that while you’re in the middle of your WIP says “This is crap.”

Do you listen to that voice?

I have, before. I have worked on, deleted, trashed, thrown away, and shredded so many started novels that I lost count. I’ve finished some too, though.

But there is always that voice, that one that says it’s not good enough, that it could be better, that this isn’t the story you should be working on. That voice is a liar. Don’t listen to it.

While yes, during your first draft, it may be crap. It probably is crap. The first draft is to get the story down, on paper (or computer) and out of your head. Then comes revisions. Make it not crap.

You have to get through this voice. All writers hear it, even the greats. No one can sit down and write a publish ready first draft, no one. If you can, you’re a unicorn and I want to be your friend.

You see, you’re not alone. While you’re sitting there, staring at your blank screen, or your blank page. While you’re reading over the chapters you just wrote. While you’re reading the critiques you’re getting back. We all have that sliver of doubt that enters our minds. It’s normal. It’s how you push through this fear and doubt that matters.

Don’t give up. Don’t assume because your first draft isn’t what you expected that you’re not a good writer. Don’t doubt something that pulls you back to it, no matter how long of a break you take, it’s your passion.

This is only one of the struggles writers face. Every. Day. Every time they sit down to write or edit. I have made a name for that voice. I call him Edgar. Yes, the voice in my head is a guy, I’m not sure what that means.

I imagine him sitting in my office at home while I’m writing at the other desk. He is across from me in the other desk chair, his fingers laced together and clasped in his lap. As I look over to him he gives me mischievous grin as he prepares to speak, yet his three feet stature and pudgy face makes me giggle. When he starts his negative talk, as he always does, I threaten to punt him across the room. That tends to shut him up for a while.

Who knows, I kind of like Edgar, even with his negativity. He pushes me past my comfort zone in my need to prove him wrong. He may end up in a story one day.

You don’t have to give that voice a name, or a physical embodiment, like I did. But do what you need to do to no longer listen to that voice anymore.

Now it’s your turn. What do you do when you hear that doubt creeping into your head?

Top 3 issues you might face when returning to Writing

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So starting a blog is the easy part. But figuring out what to write about, yeah, not so much on the easy scale.

I have been racking my brain on what in the world I could share after my first post, and then it hit me. I could talk about what it’s like and the feelings of jumping back in after not writing for a while.

So here we go, my experience thus far:

  1. Fear: Yep, fear. Afraid I couldn’t write anymore. Afraid the imagination I once had and all ideas would be gone. Afraid that anything that I managed to get out would be chock for of garbage.

Well guess what, it’s not that bad. Honestly. I think I was in my head too much which kept me from starting sooner. If your currently afraid to start working on that story you’ve had in your head, just sit down and do it. Push that negative voice aside and just start typing, or writing, or lyrical dance it out, just get it out. The fear will go away as you continue.

Yeah, sure, my first draft may be complete sh**, but that’s what revisions are for. The first draft is for me, and you too. Just get it out and on paper.

Even if your first sentence is: I have no idea what I’m doing everything sucks I have no ideas this idea isn’t good enough maybe I should just stop now but if I stop now I will never finish this thing and I really want to finish this I really want to write this and I will write this I can do this and here we go.

And so on.

Once you start writing, and you get into a rhythm, you will find that fear slowly goes away. At least it did for me. Now, what happens after the fear?

  1. Excitement: Excitement over writing. Excitement for the story and the characters you’re working on. Excitement for the idea that THIS. MAY. BE. THE. ONE. And excitement to see what others think. But slow down, are you even done with it yet? How many chapters do you have? It’s not ready for other peoples eyes yet.

After excitement comes…. Bum bum buuuum….

  1. Procrastination: Yep, you’ve reached the middle. And you’re bored. You’re sick of your story and you’re wondering why you even started it when that new shiny story over there is begging to be written. So what do you do? Well, I’ve found myself stumbling here more and more often. I wind up at places like Pinterest and Facebook, and now here. But you have to push through this. You have to keep going. Finish that story. As you get closer to the end, the excitement comes back.

You’ve Finished! YAY! Now what? You revise. And Revise, and revise some more. Oh what, you thought you were done? Nope, revise again. Polish that story until it shines like a silver dollar.

Now you’re ready for others to see it. Now you’re ready to start querying. If that’s the route you’re going. Now you have a fully completed, polished story and you have successfully finished writing a book. Congratulations!

Seriously, that’s hard work. That’s awesome. Go have a drink. Reward yourself.