Writing is tough. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise. It takes a lot of effort, it’s stressful, and more often than not it brings little or not reward. However … we still write. And it’s still hard. But I can promise you one thing: It’s going to get easier the more you write.
You will never be the “perfect writer.” You will never put out perfect first drafts or twist every phrase perfectly or be Jane Austen (because there’s only one of her), and you will always, always be learning.
However, let’s take one post to talk about how writing will get easier the more you practice it.
You’ll make a habit of it.
When you first start writing – or even if you’ve been writing for a long time but haven’t done so consistently – writing isn’t something you just do.
It’s not a part of you, not a part of your life. Not yet, anyway.
You see, writing is habit that you must develop, and that takes time. Sure, right now you may feel inspired or driven to write at certain times, but sometimes, as a new or unpracticed writer, you experience a slump or writer’s block … and then you can’t write.
However, this will not always be the case. The longer you write, the more you will be able to write – even when you’re not inspired.
A lot of writers tell me that writing is “inspired” and “art,” which in a way it is – word art. However, if you’re serious about writing and want to make a career out of it, you can’t just write when you’re inspired to do so.
You have to write even when you don’t feel like it.
And this may cause some moans at first, but trust me, you will eventually learn to write even when you’re not inspired. To write even when you’re tired. To write even when you don’t want to.
So don’t give up hope when writer’s block threatens and your inspiration wanes. Just keep writing. Someday it’ll just be something you do, and you’ll barely have to force yourself.
I think I’m about halfway to this place myself. Most of the time I can force myself to write a couple hundred words or a blog post even if I’m not particularly inspired. One needs to discipline oneself, but it is totally possible – and necessary for those who want to make it into some beyond a casual hobby.
It gets faster.
And no, I’m not just talking about you increasing your typing speed. 😉 (Though that’s totally something that could happen! Has with me …)
The more you write, the more you’ll be able to write in a shorter time.
As I said before, writing needs to become a habit. When it does, you’ll be able to make the most of your time. Also, because writing is something you have made a part of your daily routine – which you need to pursue if you’re serious – your novel will make progress every day.
I’m not saying increased word counts are coming your way in the near future – but they just might. I’m finding the longer I write, the easier it is for me to pound out more words in a shorter period of time.
So keep working at it. It might take you a couple years to write your first novel. The second might be just a year. Eventually you’ll be writing a novel from start to finish in a month – or less.
I know people who regularly churn out 20K days and even some who do more. I even know of a girl who wrote a whole novel – and a long one at that – in less than a week. I’m super there are wonders who do even more.
My highest count so far in a day has been about 10K (I don’t know exactly as I totally forget to keep track of these things). Still, at 10K a day, I could feasibly write a novel in a week.
Another piece of hope for those of you who tend to write short (like me): my books have been getting longer. Not much longer, but still longer.
My first completed work was 9K (Midnight and Twilight). The Dressmaker’s Secret was 36K and became just over 50K. Ivy Introspective was 48K and became about 55K. At Her Fingertips was 65K and became 58K (long prologue and unnecessary scenes that got removed, anyone?). Once a Stratton was 63K and has become 68K.
So, as you can see, my word counts are starting to grow, and I hope that in the future I’ll be in the 70-80K range for my full-length novels.
(For those of you who write long, I can offer no hope. Y’all over overachievers who I don’t understand even a little bit.) (Just kidding; you’re awesome!)
You’ll learn more grammar, punctuation, and basically everything to do with the writing craft.
This may seem like a little thing – and a rather obvious one at that. But once you learn grammar, punctuation, and all the writing rules, you’ll be able to put forward a better first draft. This will cut down on revising and editing time, too.
But *gasp* can a first draft be good at all? Aren’t all first drafts awful?
Yes, they are. All first drafts belong to the devil and are not to be spoken of. However, as you write more, your first drafts are going to get … better. Seriously, I’m not making this up.
I went through approximately 18 drafts of The Dressmaker’s Secret. It went from first to third person, was rewritten extensively three times, the ending rewritten more than ten times, and then it even had to be removed from the market after I’d published it for another round of revisions and edits.
The first draft was absolutely terrible, and you can barely recognize it as the story it eventually became.
At Her Fingertips … well, it was a lot easier, to say the least. I did some minor rewrites between alphas and betas, mostly cutting off the prologue and some other unnecessary scenes. I also redid one of the characters to have more of an arc and made lots of little tweaks.
However, the first draft and the final draft, which are only separated by second, third, and fourth drafts, are not quite so different as those of The Dressmaker’s Secret. In fact, I’d almost say you could tell that they are the same book. 😉
You’ll develop your individual voice and use it.
I know lots of writers struggle with developing their voice and wanting to be unique and whatnot. I think, for the most part anyway, that has to come naturally.
And, guess what … the only way for that voice to develop is for you to write, write, WRITE until you find it. Soon you’ll be using it without even thinking about it.
Now, there are some good tips out there on the internet for finding and developing your writing voice. Here are some of them:
- 10 Steps to Finding Your Writing Voice by Goins, Writer
- 5 Ways to Develop Your Writing Voice by Jane Friedman
- Writer’s Voice: What it is and how to develop yours by Simple Writing
However, here’s what I want to say in this post. You will get to the point where you won’t even have to think about whether or not you’re using your writing voice because you will be your writing voice.
Don’t sweat it too much. It’ll come.
Things will become second nature, and you won’t have to think about them.
I’ve already sort of said this in other sections. Many good writing habits – as well as the habit of writing itself – will come naturally to you in time.
You just have to keep writing, keep working on your books, keep asking for feedback, and not give up. It’s a lot of work, but you will get there.
Eventually, you won’t have to think about some writing rules. For instance, you’ll automatically use the correct punctuation (as stated earlier) and automatically add action beats and description and thoughts to your dialogue (something I’m still learning).
The more you write, the easier writing will get. That’s just all there is to it.
However, I do have a small warning.
Don’t expect too much of yourself at the beginning.
It can’t become easy without being hard at first. No writer starts out with these habits – and neither should they. These things take time to cultivate and grow.
However, they will eventually cultivate if you keep writing and don’t stop for nothing. Therefore …
Don’t give up hope!
It’s easy to feed yourself a lot of nonsense and lies.
“I’m not progressing fast enough.” “My novel sucks.” “I can’t write to save my grandmother’s life.” “This is impossible.” “I should just give up.”
*slaps you* LIES! *slaps you* LIES! *slaps you* LIES!
(Scream “Lies, lies, lies!” at the top of your lungs next time you have these doubts. It helps. Really.)
Here’s why you shouldn’t worry about not being good enough.
First off, at the beginning, you’re going to suck for a bit, but that’s okay because every beginner sucks for a long time before they even begin to be awesome.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Ask any New York Times Bestselling Author if they started out as awesome as they are today. They’ll answer with a resounding, “NO. (p.s. don’t look at my first books, please?)”
Second, you’re probably your own worst critic. You’re not as bad as you think. It’s easy to hate your books or to envy “better” authors (really, you’re just an individual learning at your own pace).
It might help some to ask a close friend to read your work with a layman’s eyes – just to enjoy the story. Fangirling over your own book with someone can definitely help. 😉 Make it clear you’re not looking for critique but simply wish to share your story.
Third … please don’t give up. This world needs your story. It does. Really.
I can’t tell you how much you can enrich peoples’ lives, how you can influence them for good (or … evil … if that’s your thing …), how you can bring happiness. (And, eventually, how you can make money and have a serious career, though let’s not talk about that just now.)
So please. Write that story. Then write another. And another. Don’t stop. Because if you’re writing, guess what? You’re a writer.
And the more you write, the more of a writer you will be … and the easier and more fun writing will be.
Just keep writing!
Best wishes in your writing endeavors!
Are you a writer? (If so, what do you write?) Do you ever feel like giving up – either in writing or whatever else you’re working at? Do you agree with what all I said in this post? Do you tend to write long or short? What’s your favorite flavor of smoothie?
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