Writing involves way more work than people give it credit for… Endless hours of research papers, plotting out the story, getting to know the characters, there is combatting the dreaded Writer’s Block, and so much more! No one will ever know better than you how much work you have put into your story.
Many people wonder "But if it’s so hard, why do it?"
Here’s the thing… Lots of things are hard. Life itself is hard. But we do the hard things anyway because we love them. Because we see the higher calling and the greater purpose. Writing is pain, not writing is agony.
We know this… But still, we get discouraged all too often. We question ourselves. We lose steam. We think we’re not good enough. So how do we fight back?
1: Make A Commitment
In the beginning, I struggled with committing to (and following through with) projects. First, I would have a novel idea. But as soon as I would start working on it… fizzle out. I was queen of writing that one epic scene and then having the well of words run dry. Thoughtlessly, I contributed this problem to lack of good ideas (of course I would write them if only they were better!). Discouragement came in a whirlwind. For a period of about 6 months, I stopped writing. Completely.
Worst six months of my life.
What finally broke me out of the shadows was learning where my problems came from… Not in the ideas, but in my approach to the ideas. I am a big thinker. I loved the idea of working on elaborate stories. My follow through used to struggle and, as a result, my writing life struggled.
Then, a friend shared with me an amazing idea. I could train myself to commit…
So I set small and easily attainable goals (usually, it was hitting a certain word count or writing a certain number of paragraphs/sentences in a certain amount of time) Each day, I pushed myself a little more. Writing just a few more words or for just a little bit longer.
At first, it was hard. REALLY hard. The first three days, I barely made it. But I kept going and, slow but sure, I was able to make it happen.
Now, I do have the occasional burn out (but that is perfectly normal and usually remedied with a small break from writing), but for the most part, I have been able to commit and follow through with most every project I have put my mind to.
2: Habitual Creativity
Creativity seems to thrive under habit. Just like with building your commitment, it’s hard at first. You are essentially "rewiring" your brain. But the process is simple.
Set aside a certain time of day; A time when you feel you will be most productive (be that mid-afternoon, eleven o’clock at night, or five in the morning). Then, commit yourself to write at that time, for at least fifteen minutes, EVERY SINGLE DAY.
Like I said before, it is not easy. But it is worth it. Eventually, your mind begin to adjust and you will be more productive at each session. The key here is dedication.
3: The Writer Rewards System (WR)
Some people do really well with this one. Put a system in place for yourself. Every time you follow through with your commitment, reward yourself. It can be as simple as "If I write 2 paragraphs in the next fifteen minutes, I will have one piece of candy." Tempt yourself into working hard. The most important part of this is making sure you do not ever reward yourself without following through on your commitment.
4: Studying the Craft
Read up! Check out my blog post on writing resources; I included a few books in the list that were incredibly helpful for me growing as a writer. Don’t just read my blog posts here, but also find other blogs you like and follow them! Build your knowledge. Expand your mind. Learn as much as you can and apply that learning.
5: Creative Burn Out
There are times when nothing is enough. Because writing is hard, we sometimes have to accept that we need to take a break. To prevent this, it helps to break up your time spent writing and pour yourself into other hobbies as well. Writing can be your primary hobby, but there are other things out there… Why not try hiking? Or gardening? Or dancing? Or music? Anything your interested in. It’s perfectly fine to take the time and invest your energies elsewhere for a while. When you come back, I guarantee you will come back all that much stronger!
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