- Lawful Evil is going well, as I’ve self-diagnosed that writing takes my mind off my discomfort more ably than any medicine. There are always the two pages done in the morning, which is my main writing time, but I find myself returning to it later on in the day. In the evenings, I am editing Until She Sings, going through in the frame of the notes that I received previously. It might mean more work if the forthcoming notes contradict anything I have already done but more often than not, it addresses something that makes me feel proud to meet the expectations afforded to me.
- The rush of original work seldom loses it’s import, but I have learned far more from rewriting and editing, which then applies itself to exploratory drafts. I still go all in, but with experience, I am less prone to the mistakes and flaws that punctuate earlier work, or if I do, they’re much easier to spot and take out. These insights aren’t constant and I would be concerned if they were. I use the energy of insecurity to fuel my work, to never be satisfied and to lean into my edge, just past it and acknowledge my fears about my work.
- Complacency is the midwife to more bad writing than we care to admit. Alongside that is the truth that the quality of the work is the only thing under my control right now, so investing in that is the antidote to anxiety. If I cannot control it, why stress about it and put the effort into the things that I can. Building an audience might be the way forward in the meantime, but I’ve nothing concrete to show beyond the work I post here and there’s nothing to distinguish that from everyone else’s free content beyond the ephemeral notions of quality. I tend to find that the building of an audience works if there is something to offer up in the first place. For me, it’s books that you can buy and I prefer to have people come and read my work organically. I post links on Twitter, which is an easy thing for me to do and doesn’t feel desperate or grasping. What you do isn’t desperate or grasping, but I have my preferences and certainly, I would look to someone who is passionate about marketing, hopefully help me out with that when it’s time to take that seriously. I have an agent, and they weren’t checking out my social media profile, they looked at the work and whether I had potential. Which is how it should be.
- I don’t deny anyone else their experience or approach, I can only speak about what works for me, and more importantly, what doesn’t. To me, articles about what your character likes for breakfast are useful only in so far as you’re stuck with a draft and it might open you up to insight. Otherwise, you’re offering something that has no practical use and you’re just making ‘content’. I would rather spend that time writing another couple of pages or revising something that I’ve done. Especially when a little digging reveals that what content is available, happens to be incomplete or inconsistent. If you go to that trouble, make sure that you have things to show for the investment.
- There are two important questions in life, and you need to get them in the right order.
- Where am I going?
- Who will come with me?
- If you get them in the wrong order, you won’t get anywhere. Paralysed with indecision, looking for allies when there is no war to fight, that’s what will kill your writing stone dead. Write, write again, start to get it down in a way that feels authentic and powerful to you, then start sharing it. Being a writer is nothing special, lots of people call themselves that now and haven’t produced anything more substantial than a shopping list.
- If you’ve spent more time outlining than writing, then you need to ask yourself what the issue is here, and whether you’re using that approach to protect the platonic perfection of your idea rather than the messy, ugly reality that you will produce. Outlines can be really useful tools, but don’t make them a reason not to do the work. Just because you’re doing something, doesn’t mean that you are producing. I’ve been there, a black belt in procrastination and used all sorts of reasons not to write. Be honest with yourself about your needs and desires in the context of writing. It will help you in the long run, even though it might be painful. I used to have deserving issues about not having a degree or a MFA, that I wasn’t the right class of person to write, that I could only write what I knew or what I was into, in terms of my media consumption.
- Then circumstances permitted me to confront my reticence and start writing. I’ve learned more in the last six years than the decades preceding. I’ve discovered a passion and discipline, a strength of character that surprises me on an ongoing basis. So, I don’t judge anyone else on what they do, so long as they are honest about it with themselves. If outlining produces work, then my criticism makes me the asshole. I am not critical as a tactic to make myself look better, I’ve seen people do that and it’s ugly, caustic work that I wouldn’t recommend to anyone. Focus on you, be in competition with you and you alone. Let the fripperies slide out of view, be above the petty and make your writing shine like a diamond.
Thank you for reading.