…I’m not good enough to be a writer
…I’m too old
…Nobody’s going to like it
…I’ve never written anything before
…I’ve never taken any classes in writing. I don’t know how.
How many of you have a completed manuscript languishing away on a shelf with the dust bunnies because:
…I need to go over it one more time
…It’s not ready. It’ll never be ready
…Oh, no! I wasn’t seriously thinking of publishing it.
Sound Familiar? Don’t worry. You’re not alone. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard any of those excuses, I’d be a lot richer than I am!
Don’t Sell Yourself Short
Try not to succumb to these myths; that’s all they are. Misconceptions that keep you from believing in yourself. Unfortunately, when repeated over and over, those lies become a reality and suck up one’s creative juices, and your story is never told.
Go ahead. Sit down at the computer and let your muse take over. Banish those self-defeating negative vibes with an “I can do this” mindset. Bring up the manuscript you started years ago or begin a new story. Tune out distractions, open your imagination or look over your notes, and let the words flow. Worry about grammar, punctuation, number of words, etc. later – for now, just write.
It doesn’t matter how many words you log; just get those first few sentences. The rest will follow.
Determine When It’s the Best Time for You to Write
Set up a loose schedule. Not necessarily saying you have to write from X to Y o’clock every day, but having an hour or so set aside puts you in the habit of thinking about your story and getting in the zone.
What’s the optimum time of day for being creative? That’s totally up to you. I’ve heard of some authors who prefer to get up before the crack of dawn to get an hour or two of quiet time before the family demands all of their attention. Ernest Hemingway devoted the hours of 6 am until noon before putting his typewriter away until the following morning.
Other writers like the evenings. While writing Riders of the Wind, my husband came home from work, ate supper, and then locked himself away in the office until midnight (or later). Honestly, I wasn’t too thrilled about being left alone with only a book or the TV to keep me company until bedtime. However, I understood why and kept my sulking and pouting to a minimum.
Try to stick with your schedule as best as you can. If you miss a day, so what? Pick up where you left off the next day. Only managed a half-hour? No big deal. The big thing is to be consistent. Keep writing without more than two or three days passing by.
Most importantly, if you hit a snag, don’t worry about it! Walk away. Get some fresh air. Hug your loving, patient, long-suffering spouse (or pet). Then, when you get back to work later on or even the following day, that paragraph you thought was crap won’t look so bad. The words that stubbornly refused to flow will gush from your fingertips, impatiently waiting their turn to magically appear on the screen.
Go with the flow. Your masterpiece doesn’t have to be completed all at one time. So leave a little in the tank to get you back in the groove for the next round.
Of course, distractions are unavoidable. Tell your loved ones and friends what you’re doing, and kindly ask them to bear with you. It may take a while, but they should eventually get the message. Also, try not to be your own worst enemy. Turn off the phone and avoid the temptation to check email or take a quick glance at Facebook.
Finally, after overcoming the inevitable hitches along the way and persisting despite your doubts and fears, you did it! THE END signals the end of part one of your writing journey. Congratulations!!!
Before you proceed to part two, give yourself a pat on the back, a chocolate chip cookie, and the praise you deserve. Then, let your manuscript sit in a place of honor for a few days while you decide how to proceed with the second part of the writing process: re-reading, making changes, editing, formatting, cover design, and publication.