WRITING FOR YOURSELF
A bit of advice that I've heard a lot over the years is: write the story you want to read. It's a good piece of advice, and it does help a lot of people starting out and make them realise that the pressure of the market is one thing, but that if you write what you've always wanted to read, there will be other readers out there who do too.
I've stuck to this piece of advice myself for a number of years. When I get a new idea for a book, I'll plan it out as if it was something that I was wanting to pick up in a bookshop myself. It doesn't always stay like that because I go where the plot and characters take me, but it is usually rooted in a trope I love, or an idea that I wish I could see in other books, and then I go from there.
Writing for yourself might seem a little off, but for me, I've always found it highly motivating. I love my readers, love that other people enjoy my books just as much as I do, but the fact that I am telling these particular stories for me, as well as my readership, really does keep my putting fingers to keyboard. Think about it, it's a way for me to get myself to write. I know that I set a chapter for any given day and that I personally want to know what happens next, which means putting butt in chair and fingers to keyboard and telling myself the story.
When it comes to revisions and editing, then I'm more refining the story for other people, but that initial first draft is me trying to get the idea out of my head and onto the page in a way that pleases me. I don't generally think about how other people might react to it. There's the occasion when I'll write a scene or chapter and feel like it's gonna need a lot of corrections when it comes to revision, but for the moment, it works well. It moves the story along in a way that keeps me interested in what I'm doing.
For the past four or five years, I've not really had writer's block. I think that's down to how I approach my writing sessions, and the fact that at the core of it all, these are stories I want to see through to the end. I'm not trying to say that those who do get writer's block are doing it wrong, no I just mean for me personally, putting all over expectations to the wayside, I find I get a lot more writing done, the ideas flow easier and I'm able to really get the story told.
Of course it's not always easy, there are times when you'll be writing the story as it appears in your head, and find yourself unable to really move forward. In times like these, I'll think of something that needs to happen later in the story and kinda skim over the details to get myself there. I do think that writing for yourself can be so very powerful as a tool for writers. It means that we're telling stories that we're passionate about, because they're the stories that we personally want to read!
Years ago, I was given a piece of advice about writing for myself, and also writing my story, which I'll cover next week, but the advice was so simple, and yet also true. They said that I was the only one who could tell my story. I am the only one who can tell my exact story, and you are the only one who can put fingers to keyboard and tell that exact story that you envision in your head. So go forth and do so!
Any questions? Lemme know in the comments!
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