Friday, July 19, 2013

When All Else Fails (Write!)

Naturally, right after I decide to update again, I forget to post. Sorry about that!  I will be back next week, even if I have to write myself a note in order to remember my new blogging schedule.
All dedicated writers have had the days where they cannot stand to look at their story. They are convinced it is a miserable failure, and they have no reason to ever write again. They are certain the naysayers were right, they have no original plot, and there is no way to tell their tale from a unique angle.

Today’s blog post is for you, discouraged writers. I say it often enough in November, but I’ve neglected to mention it much since then. You are not a failure.

“But I’m doing it wrong!” You exclaim. “You haven’t heard of my plot hole. You haven’t read my giant mess that’s supposed to be my climax.”

You are not a failure. You are learning. Such things take time. You will make mistakes, but you will learn from each of them. You will learn the correct way to craft a story and the best way to overcome that infuriating plot hole simply by writing. And writing. And writing some more.

First off, everyone benefits from breaks. If you’re the kind of person who might take a break and never come back to it, be sure to set a time frame. Check your story at the end of this. Once you can look at it with fresh eyes that don’t cross in ten minutes, you’re ready to tackle the problem again.

Once you’ve benefitted from a break, your next step is both simple and difficult. You must start on your story again. You must find a way to keep writing, even when you don’t feel like it. I speak from experience: you will find a sense of immense accomplishment when you write when you don’t feel like it. For me, the scenes that I did not want to pen because of how difficult they were for the character were the ones that turned out to be my best scenes. And when a rewrite forced me to visit the dark places again, I did it. The story is stronger now because I forced myself to write.

It is natural to want to shy away from difficult scenes. It is natural to want to leave writing alone after a long day of work. But the only way you will make progress on your story is to consistently move forward when you would rather not.

Think of how you would feel if you were the character who was tossed into a pit and left there. Do not leave your characters in their dark places. Let them grow and change. Let them become stronger.

Keep writing, my friend. You are not a failure.

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