I come across a lot of interesting articles thanks to my friends on Facebook, and 25 Things Writers Should Stop Doing is one of them, off of the Terrible Minds blog-
I found it really interesting because it points out all of our excuses as to why we don’t write or are scared to write. I feel that one of the most important was stop being afraid to write- many people feel that their ideas are stupid and silly, but my high school writing adviser, Mrs. Swanum, taught us to write down all of our ideas, then put them away and think about each of them. After a while, pull them back out and just look at them, let them filter their way through our brain and wait for the right moment.
One of the things about writing is that we’ll come up with a great idea, but we can’t figure out what to do with it. Ideas are just that- ideas. Sometimes I buy a book, liking the storyline, but it’s not the right time to read it yet, and sometimes it takes as long as 5 years for that “right moment” to totter its way to my hands. It’s the same way with writing. To change the subject slightly, to graduate from college, my classmates and I had to write a thesis on women & minorities west of the Mississippi, so I chose comparing American and Norwegian Women in the American Midwest (and lutefisk makes me *very* happy I’m allergic to seafood), but I hated what I came up with, even though my professor gave me an “A” on it. I looked at it again a few years ago and was very impressed with my writing.You’ll probably go through a similar process, but don’t give up. Ideas take time, and some things can take longer.
Writing isn’t a job that we can churn out like butter every morning- we have to work at it, think about our subject and see where the muse takes us. Again, it sometimes means we need to distance ourselves, but we should never tell ourselves that our work is worthless! Don’t compare yourself with Isaac Asimov or George R. R. Martin; for one thing, George takes forever to get to the next book in “A Song of Fire & Ice”- there’s 5 books now, possibly only 2 more, but I think he’ll be writing more than that.. I remember everyone asking George at Noreascon 4 (WorldCon in Boston in 2004) when the next book was coming out, and he told everyone where they could go- especially my friend Tamora Pierce, who decided to needle him before a panel. That was fun to watch, but writing is a process, not an assembly line.
It’s not easier- writing can be one of the hardest jobs in the world, so don’t tell yourself you’re horrible, none of your ideas will work out and that you’re a failure. It’s not true unless you make it true; writers are often their own harshest critics, and I was lucky to have a writing adviser who believed in me, and taught me to believe in myself. Trite as it sounds, but, if you’re reading my blog, I believe in you, and that you believe in yourself.
Read Chuck’s blog article and think about it- it’s some of the best advice I’ve seen on writing.