The writing process

Two months after deciding to dedicate the majority of my time to writing, I feel like I have a few things that I’ve learned (both of myself and from others) that I should put down into one place. 

  1. I am so pleased that I made this decision. I feel like I am creating something of substance and that, even if no one else on the planet wants to read it, I will be so proud to have completed something of this magnitude.
  2. Procrastination is both my truest friend and my fiercest enemy.
  3. Procrastination is best solved by tackling small writing projects – like my prompts! 
  4. Procrastination is also solved by taking on other learning projects. I am now learning how to play the guitar as well.
  5. The inner censor truly exists. It appears in different forms, and it is an individual battle that each writer fights. Mine comes in the form of doubt. Doubt as to whether I’m doing something worthwhile. Doubt as to whether the writing is any good. Doubt as to whether the story is worth telling. When faced with this dastardly inner censor, I try desperately to remind myself of pt. 1.
  6. Everyone that is anyone in the writing world (and even those that are not) has advice on the writing process. Examples include: don’t edit while you write; focus on one piece of writing at a time; expect your first draft to be shitty; avoid adverbs; don’t write at home; write where you’re comfortable; write in silence; read as much as you can while you write; and the list goes on. While a lot of the advice is useful and worth reading, the problem arises when pieces of advice are contrary to each other. Basically – you can’t follow all of these things blindly. The way I go about it now is that each time I see a piece of advice, I evaluate it against what I do now and whether it would improve my productivity or creativity in any way. If I think it would, then I give it a try.
  7. It is useful to have a writing goal. This was one of the many pieces of advice I stumbled upon, and it’s one that has helped me battle the bouts of procrastination. I try to stick with 15 pages a week, and it is indescribably rewarding to reach that on a given week.
  8. It is OK to pause. I had a horrid cold last week, and felt that I could keep writing despite it. But, I realized, just like with any job that requires your mind to be functional and not marred by the foggy effects of a cold, it is necessary to give your body and your brain rest.
  9. I stumbled upon She Writes University, which was a series of workshops conducted by women in the writing and publishing world, and got some very personal insight into how authors like Dani Shapiro, Rebecca Skloot, and Aya de Leon go through the process of writing. It was incredibly rewarding to know that writing is a journey for each of these women that is tackled in different ways, and that there is no one ‘true’ way of doing it.
  10. Just a repeat of pt. 1. I am so glad I did this.

If I can accomplish one thing with this endeavour (even if that thing isn’t to publish the story I’m working on), I hope that it is to encourage someone to take the plunge into giving themselves the time to do something they are really passionate about. I cannot say enough about how rewarding it is.

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