Good morning, Fam.
After my mini breakdown a few weeks ago, I have been struggs to func in the writing area. I’ve forced out about 6k on my short story, but I keep stalling because I don’t know enough about what’s going on and I’ve allowed myself to get distracted. My birthday happened during that time and I got several new books along with Animal Crossing for the DS and let me tell you—that’s the perfect way to spend a lunch break (when I usually write). It’s so soothing to go around my little town and help people and pick flowers and peaches.
I was messing around on Twitter looking for a specific article on Writer’s Digest and I came across several that were intriguing enough for me to read them. And these articles kicked my butt and told me to get back in gear. I wanted to share them here in case any of you need the same.
This article was written by someone who didn’t get published until they were 55–though they’d been writing and dreaming of writing off and on their whole life. She let fear of rejection hold her back. This quote especially struck me:
I had been blessed with a bit of talent. I had been treading water in that same little puddle of talent all my life, and when teachers or bosses or circumstances indicated my ambitions would take a lot more than innate talent I found some other path where the people would praise me and say “good job” and I didn’t have to grapple with my fears.Andrea Jarrell
In the article, she shares her tips for success. And really, they sound simple. But they are So. Hard.
In this article author Pagan Malcolm discusses how full-time authorship has it’s pros and cons just like anything else.. but then goes in to some ways you can change your thinking to make it happen sooner.
She talks about how overnight success is not a real thing—every successful author has invested tons of time and effort behind-the-scenes to make their dream a reality. How easy it is to burn out (most of us are working regular jobs too, of course) and a way to avoid it, and how deadlines and schedules really do help more than you’d think.
I know that’s true because I’ve worked with her (she has an author coaching biz) and when I was being held accountable I actually got shit done. Right now? Nope. I gotta build some discipline and jump right back in. hold myself accountable, and share my goals with others so that I’m letting down more than myself if I fail.
Once I had determined that yeah, I needed to kick my butt into gear, I kept reading for some more writing tips because of course I wanted to procrastinate and self-sabotage myself immediately. I found three more articles that were helpful for my current stories/genre:
This one caught my attention because, as many times as I’ve written and rewritten my main WIP over the years.. I didn’t know that much about the background characters. And those are the ones that are featured in the short story I’m working on now! This article goes over several tips to get to know your characters better, including Breaking and Entering (looking through their stuff) and Gossiping (what other characters say about them). They’re some pretty interesting techniques and ones I’m excited to try out!
As a fantasy writer of any sort, world building is essential. A lot of people go into depths worth of an epic fantasy.. when that information may not even be needed in the book. That’s why this article suggests developing the characters really well first.. and then following them along and seeing where they end up. You ask questions such as what type of world created this character, and how to covey information about the world in small manageable bites instead of info dumping and boring the reader.
There are more tips in the article which I highly suggest reading. I will definitely be using those tips as my characters interact more and more with another world!
Last but not least… Writing Monsters. With my demon obsession, this one was very useful for me. While my stories aren’t horror based, I do want the demons to kind of freak people out. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be very effective. My characters certainly are wary of them, and I’d like my readers to be as well.
This article goes into 5 different qualities that make people afraid of monsters and how best to use those. You have to consider things like what people are afraid of, how unpredictable they can be, and the disturbing capacity for violence monsters seem to have. In depth info about those topics as well as others can be found in the article link in the heading.
Now that I’ve procrastinated enough…
I want to leave you all with one last tip from me. Everyone goes through slumps. Everyone lets life distract them from their dreams and goals. And that’s okay. But you’ll never be successful if you don’t get back on track. It’s okay to admit that you need help, to reach out to others, and even to hire someone to keep you accountable (if you can afford it). If not, find an accountability buddy and make a pact to keep each other on track.
And always, always, keep writing.