Tag Archives: being a writer

You are your worst enemy: 6 tips to avoid spoiling your own work

Being a writer isn’t easy, being a good writer even more so and the blame is usually mostly on yourself. Yes, you. You try so hard, that you forget to enjoy the journey and appreciate your own work often enough.

1.  Criticizing
You don’t need to write a master piece in one single draft, when you’re creating something new, you need to write down everything that comes into your mind. Forget about the quality of said content as that will come later, with reviewing and improvement, time and persistence.
Is there a little voice in the back of your mind, criticizing you all the time? Shut it down. Sometimes you just need to let your creativity flow.

2.  Perfectionism
Let’s talk about that perfectionist vein of yours… You claim that you like things well done and being perfectionist is an important part of putting out work of great quality, but… Let’s face it: most of the time, it’s just a way for you to procrastinate! Of course, a little perfectionism is a good thing but, enough is enough, and if it affects your productivity, you’re heading the wrong way.

3.  Concentration
I don’t need to explain this one, do I? Forget about Facebook, Twitter, Instagram… Focus on what you’re doing and let people know that you are writing, either before you start or after you’ve finished it. Turn off your cell phone and tablet and avoid other people while you’re working. Believe me, you can do it and will most certainly be better off for it.

4.  Comparisons
So what if your story isn’t as good as the stories from your favorite author? Stop comparing your work with his or hers and worry about writing to the best of your ability. Keep writing, coming up with and putting to paper plenty of stories, to keep improving on the quality of your work, step by step.

5. Re-reading
Please, first finish writing that one scene you were thinking about and in the end, read it over again and correct whatever you want, OK? When you’re writing, you’re using a part of your brain and if you stop it in order to start reading and polishing your last few lines of text, you’ll be using another one… So it’s like trying to listen to two radio stations at the same time on the same piece of equipment… just don’t. Write down everything you want to write for the day, let your ideas flow freely, and after that, you can read it over and improve upon it.

6.  It’s not the end of the world!
You don’t have to be a Nobel Prize nominee for just about every single piece of your work. Free yourself from such stress and just write! Simply, calmly… You will get better, you know? If this one doesn’t end up as you had imagined you can always write another one. There’s always tomorrow!

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Inspiration? Right…

It’s normal to hear people talking about inspiration as if it’ll solve any problem and as if it’s the major part, or rather plays a very big one, in being a writer (or any kind of artist, really), but if you’re a writer, you know that not to be true, and if you’re the kind of writer that waits for a moment of delightful inspiration in order to actually write… well, you’ll doing it wrong.

Inspiration is nothing when compared with all the hard work that writing actually involves. If you’re inspired today, that’s amazing, go, go off and write, but if you aren’t, you must try and do it anyway. You just need to pick up your laptop (or pen) and write, no matter what.

Actually, not being inspired can be a good thing. Why? Because you should explore all of your humors, moods and feelings in order to go deeper within your writing. Emotion is pretty good (even if we’re talking about a negative one) in order to improving your writing, especially if you’re working within the realm of fiction.

Bad moments are normal, and expected anyway, however, if you’re constantly feeling an absolute lack of motivation, you probably do need a bit of inspiration. Watch a movie, read a book, take a walk… Something will eventually make you feel better again, more like yourself and thus, like writing again. But, be careful!

Sometimes, you let yourself go, clutching to your inspired moments alone, and you feel like you’re writing like never before, the characters are perfect, the story flows at a speed never seen before and later face the reality of it… well, is it really an original idea? Is it good enough? Easy ideas are tricky…

“I’m not in the mood.”

It’s part of being a writer to feel passionate about writing, about your work, but it’s also a big part of it to deal with those moments where you found no passion at all, so let’s talk about how to get over them.

Imagine that you’re writing a novel and you get stuck in a certain part of it, but you know exactly how you’d want another part of your book to be written, so… go write it! Get back to the point you’re in now, when you’re finally ready.

Sometimes, a change of scenery is a great help too, go write anywhere else. There are other days when you need to start something totally new, maybe write a new book, within a different genre, or how about writing one paragraph of your story, using other character’s voice and deepest thoughts? Did you like it? So, go on, carry on then!

And, for me, the major rule (and the most difficult one to follow) is: try not to worry! If you worry too much, you’re not only harm your writing, you’re harming yourself, as no one is perfect all the time… Just accept that and keep on trying. It’s hard, but it’s definitely worth it.

Literary Contests

This is something that you’ll definitely have to deal with, if you are or plan on becoming a writer. Plenty of people will talk to you and try to convince you to participate in something like that and you’ll have to think about it and decide what’s best for you.

I never have participated in one, for many reasons, laziness, fear of rejection… I don’t know, sometimes I’m just not into it. Maybe I’m not so interested in becoming a well-known writer as I thought I’d be. I really don’t know, but what I DO know is that these contests can be pretty important, especially, for a beginner.

If you really want to be a writer and, in time, perhaps be able to live off of the profits of some of your works, you definitely need to think about it. It will bring some new perspectives about your work and, hopefully, new opportunities for your career. Some very well-recognized authors started out like that, and it might be a way for you to get started as well.

First of all, this kind of contests will take you out of your comfort zone and that’s a great way to evolve as a person and a writer. Your work will be evaluated and compared to those of other authors and you will have a more accurate notion of the impact your writing is having on other people and where you should strive to improve or how you should invest your time into your work.

The contests have a deadline and this is important too. Sometimes, as any writer, you tend to procrastinate and leave something for ‘later’, which is understandable, since you might be tired or have other things you need to do… Well, the contest can teach you how to discipline yourself for the process of writing, something you must learn if you’re serious about becoming a writer, and this becoming your life.

And, of course, winning the contest would be great, not only providing you with motivation, but possibly also a prize since the majority of contests have prizes for the winners. That would be amazing. Yet, were you to lose, that’s actually when you learn the most.

As a writer, most of the time, you will experience plenty of rejection. Sometimes because the work wasn’t so good as you though, other times… the publisher just doesn’t want to invest money or your story is good but not really “fashionable”, or trendy enough, because even in literature, the public appeal is, unfortunately something to keep in mind. So you must deal with rejection all the time, and the sooner you learn to do it, without giving up, the better. The contests are of great help in this regard.

And, sure, you’ll never know who will be there. Some doors may open for you, or you might have some disappointment too, but… if you do not try, you’ll never know.