Tis the season to be jolly… So tell me my friends were you jolly and well-fed yesterday? I hope so! What was it? Turkey, chicken, fish, nut roast? Well for me, my dinner was a bit of a disaster! The turkey was dry, the rice was under cooked, the Brussels sprouts I managed to burn (can you believe that)! All true. So I sat down, to this very undesirable dinner, but at least the salad was spot on. If yesterday’s dinner is anything to go by, life is not so wonderful. Let’s hope the New Year ( 2015) will prove to be a lot more fruitful on every level, including my food!
So what does any of this have to do with writing? Everything, is the short answer. A writer’s life is anything but straightforward. It is fraught with mishaps, procrastination, rejections and downright lack of motivation. And just when you think you are on a roll, writer’s block sets in and takes hold of you like nothing else I know! Did I tell you about the book I have been writing for at least a year now, but of course writer’s block has prevented me from writing down one word. So all that has been going on is inside my head, planning, developing characters, location, time-span, but NO actual writing! So frustrating, but typical for the budding writing or even the more experienced writer.
So what is this all about? Could it be my perfectionist nature, that is preventing me from writing anything until I feel that is is going to come out, well, perfect! No such thing as perfect with any writing project. There are only drafts and re-writes. Here’s the thing: you get something down to fill those blank pages which oddly enough has the effect of making you feel better about everything. Then, once you are happy with the number of words you have written or hit your target for that day or week, you can re-write it. Simple. Only wish it was, but that is the theory anyway. This is the only way you can move to perfection, or at least until you are satisfied to send it out to a magazine or a publisher.
Once you have taken that brave move I can promise you you will have a little spring in your step knowing you have sent something out to be considered for publication. You should then feel a lot better as you start new projects. What you need to achieve as a budding writer is a steady stream of work that is ‘out there’ and while you toil away on other drafts.
Which leads me nicely to my next point. Don’t be afraid to have more than one piece of work on the go. I often find writing say short stories for women’s magazines a welcome break from my longer work of fiction. Or, maybe you see writing poetry as a nice aside from writing short stories. Not that shorter fiction is any easier to compose, but it’s just a break from a 100,000 novel or a long film script!
You see, as a writer there should never be a time when you have nothing to do (even during the Christmas break). This is the nature of the writing art form. It also prepares you nicely for when you do ‘make it’ and you become a full time writer (if this is your goal) and you have to turn things out on a regular basis – like any other job, it is a daily pursuit.
So now we are a week away from the New Year what are your plans for the forthcoming year, 2016? I hope it includes lots of writing, goal setting and targets being met. Me, I want to learn how to cook a turkey so by next Christmas I can actually enjoy my dinner!
Until next time
Happy Writing, S