Do this, not that. Write this, not that.

It has been a long time since I’ve been here on my blog. In actuality it has been a long time since I allowed myself to reconnect with my creative half period. I have allowed myself to sit idle far too long. Admittedly so, I’d packed up my writing things. I’d moved on from wanting to write.

Why? Simple. I spent so long getting caught up in how everyone else wrote. They’re more productive than I am so their methods must work better. I need to learn them, practice them. Oh, they have so many published books out what are their writing rules. I must fall those.

As you can imagine my head was left spinning, and I felt like a complete and utter failure in the highest regard. It took me a long time to come to grips with everything. Thing is, there is no right way nor wrong way to write a novel. There is only your way, and that way is the only way you need to focus on. If you spend far too much time getting bogged down in all these ‘rules’ of writing you’ll forget why you even started down the road to begin with.

When you first get that little glimpse of an idea, follow what you want with it. If you want to gather up tons of those little glimmers before you sit down to write, do so. If you want to sit down and write the glimmer, and see how deep the rabbit hole goes, do it. It doesn’t matter how you go about writing, but merely that you do so.

Chris Baty, founder of National Novel Writing Month said it best in one of his speeches to Google employees. He used one of Isaac Newton’s laws of motion. ‘Objects in motion tend to stay in motion. Objects at rest tend to stay at rest.’ This he applied to writers meaning, if you can harness the power of momentum with your writing you will be far more productive. Let’s face it, we all can find excuses and reasons to be at rest. It’s that momentum that will keep us moving forward.

I’ve spent so much time focusing on the what to do’s, and what not to do’s that I let myself remain at rest. I came up with thousands of excuses on why I can’t write, and I let all the rules, and methods alter my own process. None of them worked, and my own creative process died during it all.

Lesson learned: I wasn’t doing anything wrong in the beginning. Yeah, what I wrote wasn’t the gold I originally thought it was, but that it can all be fixed and improved upon. The more I write the better I will get at it, but bogging myself down in everyone else’s methods and rules made it so I didn’t write at all. You can’t improve upon a blank page. Again, Chris Baty said, ‘A rough draft can always improve with a revision, but a blank page will still remain blank with a revision.’ Okay, so that probably isn’t an exact quote, but close enough to get the point across.

Anything I write can be fixed during revisions, but I have to write it first. No more of everyone else’s rules and methods. I have to do things my way, and you should do things your way. We are all fighting the same battle of getting the story out, we just have different means of getting there.

L.O.L. (Live it, own it, love it) my friends.

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4 thoughts on “Do this, not that. Write this, not that.

  1. Great post, Misty. You can’t gauge your success by watching someone else. To look at my publication list from last year, it looks like I’m a total rock star. I published 4 books! But, guess what? None of them were written last year. I had four complete novels that were being held up by a previous contract. Once I had the go ahead to publish, I was able to knock them out one after the other. If you didn’t know me, you’d think I was a very prolific writer, but in fact, those books were written years ago. I actually beat myself up quite a bit last year because I didn’t actually write anything new.

    I’ve fallen into the same trap – comparing myself to other people and finding myself lacking. But you can’t compare yourself to anyone. We all have our method of writing. What works for you won’t work for everyone. There are also going to be times in your life where you can’t write. You’re busy, sick, uninspired, whatever. Forcing it makes it worse. Falling into guilt is crippling.

    I’m so glad you’re back on track – your OWN track. The only track for YOU. Go get ’em!

    Liked by 2 people

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