Tuesday, 27 January 2015

The Trials Of An Indie Author: Writing Every Day

The Trials Of An Indie Author: Writing Every Day

I'm sure you've heard the common advice that as a writer, published or not, you should try to write something every day. It doesn't even have to be something for your latest works in progress, it doesn't even have to be fiction. It can be an email to a friend, a status update, a blog post or (and this is usually the best for writers) it can be part of a chapter. It's a piece of advice that has stuck with me for a long time. I've been writing as a career since 2005, which is when I was first published, but even before that, I'd always enjoyed writing a good story and even approached some publishers when I was thirteen and had written a "book" which was 36 pages on Word!

Since I became an indie author in 2011, I've made a lot of good friends in the writing world. Some of them are indie authors too, and others are published through traditional means. All of them have said to someone that you should try to write something every single day. After all, you are a writer, and if you get into the habit of writing, then good things will follow. You'll find yourself having writer's block less and less and your craft will be honed as you think up new things to write about.

While I understand that it is hard to always be thinking about writing something to your latest book - because let's face it, at times writer's block does happen - I find that even if I put all thoughts of my books out of my head and just write a blog piece or write an email to a friend, my fingers start to go faster and faster and before long I'm pulling up my Word document and typing something there as well. I'm not going to say that it happens every single time I write something because if that were the case I would have a lot more than twelve books written! However, it's like someone who trains for a sport professionally or even just as a hobby. The more time they put into practice, the easier they will find it. The same can be said to those who play musical instruments. If you practice every day - even for five or ten minutes - as those days turn into weeks and months, you'll develop more skills. The same can be said for writing.

For some people, writing is their job, for others it's a hobby or something to pass the time. For those of us who are trying to pay the bills with their words, we need to make sure that our brain stays in shape. By exercising it for a few minutes every day, you're doing just that! Now, for those of you who say that they just can't always write something new every single day, I would agree with you. As you're all very much aware, I have chronic illnesses and those inhibit how much work I get done on any given day. In the beginning of my career, I used to get angry with myself if I didn't write something. In turn, that anger would make me feel bad, which would make my physical symptoms seem or feel worse. It was a vicious cycle and one that took a lot of hard work to break free of.

The crux of it is this, if you're able to spend time writing something, then do so. Try to set aside five minutes in the evening when the kids are in bed or you're not thinking about work or housework or anything like that and just let yourself write something. It doesn't ever have to make it off the computer screen, or you can throw the piece of paper away afterwards and no one need ever know what you've written. If you want to keep it, that's okay too, if you want to show it off to your friends or whoever, that's also fine. I know a lot of writing communities who do daily prompts. They ask that you take the prompt and spend ten to fifteen minutes writing a short piece. That can do wonders to helping you get better as a writer, it can make you think outside of what you're working on, which in turn can lead to more work being done on your current project.

Basically, just as you make time to read in the evening, or to watch a certain TV show or whatever, try to make time to do a little writing. It doesn't have to be award winning, it doesn't have to even be that long, just something that you can use to exercise your writer muscles! After all, that's kind the definition of what we do!

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