Monday, September 3, 2012

Getting it done...

Just Getting It Done

What's the hardest part of writing? You'll get different answers because no two writers approach the craft the same way.

Getting ideas? People think that's the hard part. They'll even come up to a writer and offer an idea of their own..."You write it and we'll split the money."

No, most writers get ideas all the time and from everywhere. Most of us can never write all the stories that flood into our minds.

Outlining? Some writers swear they can't outline. That deadens the story, they say. Others, like me, do outline and maintain a timeline of the story, too. If you can't finish a story just by winging it...outline the next time and see if that helps. If your outlined story seems time, wing it.

First draft? Yes, that's a pain. Going from nothing to a page full of words is grinding work, and sometimes you'll want to quit. Don't. Just plug away and don't mind if the story isn't yet the ideal you saw glimmering in the distance when you first thought of it.

Don't stop and look back in first draft. Get it down on paper.

Revision? Oh, God, some people hate revision. "If I get it right the first time, why bother?"

Because none of us do get it right the first time. Every story can be improved. In fact, I like revision much more than the first draft, because in this process I can bring the work closer to my unreachable ideal. Work at it. Read critically and attentively, have back-up or beta readers look at it, and listen to them. Revise. See it get better.

And you're still not finished. Editing and proofing are still ahead.

However, there is a secret to getting through all these hard parts of writing:

Just do it.

Apply your butt to the chair and your fingers to the keyboard. Keep going. Set yourself a goal - write for two hours a day, or four, or whatever. Or decide you will keep writing until you have done at least a thousand words per day (this is what I do).

Keep yourself going. It isn't play. It's work.

The rewards for your work are not immediate, but they do help. One day we'll talk about them.

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