What Should I Write?
Our passion to write comes from the heart.
We are passionate about subjects we choose to write about and the appreciation and attention received from our audience. However, our passion can unexpectedly become the beginning of our demise. We almost demand attention from our readers because our goal is to create an unforgettable impact on our audience. We want to be appreciated for the countless hours we pour into each book hoping that will translate into more adoration, likes, and even fan mail. Written feedback or hearing someone tell us they loved our books is the only proof we have our work was ever read. Let’s face it; we are nothing without our readers. It can be challenging to find the inspiration day after day, week after week – writer’s block pays us a visit.
After a lengthy dry spell of little motivation or reader feedback, quitting may even enter your thoughts. Staying focused on the benefits of what constant writing offers will help you deal with those frequent dry spells. The most overlooked reward of constant writing is creating a new world inside your head the outside world can experience. The amount of readers should never define you as a writer, especially when going through a dry-spell. Sometimes stepping away from your lap top for a good period of time can return you to that place of inspirational bliss. Are you writing for yourself because you love to write or are you just feeding your overweening ego, in the hopes of thrusting yourself into the famous-author-spotlight? You should not abandon your style and voice. That is why you became a writer in the first place, and it is what makes you unique and separates your individuality from other writers. That is what will ultimately get you published.
Never force words or ideas.
I’m sure you have done this at least once. It will always show in your work. Accept you have writer’s block and try not to get frustrated. The ideas will eventually flow naturally just as they did prior to writer’s block setting in. Keep it real – if there is a part in your story you can’t get past because it is boring, don’t force it. You will only end up deleting it anyway, so why waste your energy and time? Go pour yourself a glass of wine, relax, or take a walk – a time-out is in order. Try tuning out ALL noise; lie down on your sofa, close your eyes and imagine yourself visiting your favorite place. You will be surprised by what a silent and dimly lit space can do for your creativity.
Many writers find a body of water as a great source for inspiration. Sitting by a stream or an ocean, listening to the sound of rain drops, a river flowing or even the bubble-sounds of a fish tank can be a soother and release you from daily concerns that have nothing to do with writing. When it rains it pours…you just never know when the floodgates will open and new ideas will emerge. Always have a scrap of paper ready to jot down any new ideas which might occur while sitting in the waiting room of a doctor’s office or on a train ride home from work. Even if you don’t love what’s on paper, continue writing regardless. It’s not always easy to do but try letting go of your worries. If your story happens to correlate with what is going on in your life, then integrate that, whether good or bad, into your characters. Also, review what you have written and ask yourself, “Is this leading up to anything?” or “What do I want to see happen?” If you feel like it’s going absolutely nowhere, then maybe it’s time to scrap it; not force it.
Don’t compare yourself to famous writers.
Okay, so you don’t feel up to speed with J.K Rowling or Stephen King. That doesn’t mean your personal writing technique and style are inadequate. Use your favorite writers for inspiration and not as standards for your own success or failure. Give yourself permission to take the pressure off of yourself and you will write much more freely.
To complete a novel and to get published, it is essential to have realistic expectations about how long it will take. Think years, not months. It took author Audrey Niffenegger over four years to write The Time Traveler’s Wife. It also took Author Alistair MacLeod 13 years to complete No Great Mischief.
Do what you can to improve your craft, but don’t use your performance to measure your personal self-esteem and your ability to write; you as a person are worth more than any viral book, article or blog. It is a unique part of you that will reach others who can relate and appreciate your talent, and what you have to say. Whatever feelings, ideas and drive propelled you to write the first time, it is bound to happen again. Remember your first draft is never your final one. Stay focused; have fun and write away!