Monday, 29 May 2017

Writing Every Day - The Creative Process


A few years back I wrote a post about how you needed to make sure you wrote something every day. I still stand by that, but in the years since I have managed to get a different perspective on things like that. Back then, I was still new at blogging, and new at giving advice in blog posts. I had five or six books to my name, as in published, and I was juggling writing while also going through uni. My work life basically consisted of getting the uni work done first and then any spare time I had could be spent writing. And to be clear, I had very little spare time.

So where am I now? Well, I have ten books published with an eleventh out in July. I have my degree with honours thank you very much and my life has basically become all about writing and being an indie author. I am into the third act of both my current works in progress and am so close to finishing them that I'm into the free ideas phase of planning my next two books. In recent weeks I have discussed being a hybrid and also why writing rules are made to be broken. This week I'm bringing you something different. This week I am writing about how the words: You must write every day terrify so many new writers to the point of them getting stuck in a rut of writer's block.

I could go on and on about writer's block, but I won't because I have a vlog planned for that very topic in coming months and it would a shame to have to repeat everything twice. I am though going to explain the reasoning behind those scary words. A writer should be writing every day. It's not just because it forms a habit and gets you to the point where it feels weird to not be writing, but also because it brings you to a point where you start to see past the issues that put you off.

One big thing about being told you must write every day is that new writers (and more experienced ones too) get overwhelmed. They think that while writing every day you have to be producing masterpieces with every touch of the keyboard or stroke of a pen. And, to be blunt, that's crap. I write every day and yes the majority of the time I keep those words in the finished manuscript, but one thing I had to learn (and still need reminding of at times) is that it's okay for it not to be a masterpiece. It can have flaws. It can have ups and downs and good middles and bad beginnings. The point isn't to write perfectly every single day because no one can manage that. The point is to just write.

Back in October 2015, I hit a low point in my career. I had eight books published. I was writing two and had been writing them for over a year and I sat down at the beginning of the month and did my monthly sticky post. I set myself four chapters. I wrote one. I was blocked. I was uninspired and I was at my wit's end. I was thinking, quite seriously, about quitting writing. I'd changed editing teams and it had an effect on my self confidence and it had an effect on my ability to write. I didn't want to leave books unfinished (my nightmares are filled with unfinished stories) so I decided to do something I had never done. And that was to take part in NaNoWriMo in November of 2015.

The difference was, I wasn't trying to set myself up for failure. I didn't think I could squeeze out 50K words so I set my own goal. I was going to write one page a day. And it worked. I started with just one page November 1st, and I kept going. I got my writing jam back so much so that when December came around I decided to keep a good thing going, I started my own hashtag: JoWriMoGo (Joey's Writing Monthly Goals) and decided that I would stick with what worked. A page for every day of the month.

It's now May 2017, and I have just finished the last chapter of the month, bringing me to a new record of 28 chapters written in 28 days. I don't have the final tally of words and pages, but I look back at where I was and see where I am now. In setting myself the goal to sit and write just one page, I made writing part of my routine. It now feels weird to sit at my computer or in bed with my tablet and not be writing. To the point where I'm thinking about trying to find some more time in the day to do more chapters.

And that's where you want to be as a writer. You want to be in a situation where it feels wrong to not be writing. So when you hear the phrase "write every day" remember that it's not supposed to be perfect, it's just supposed to be words. From there, you can find yourself writing whole chapters and books and doing a lot of fun things with your work. I continue doing JoWriMoGo every month because it motivates me and it keeps me writing. You find what works for you and keep writing.

I know I will. 

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