Everyone has ideas, but there are some people who have an urge to commit those ideas to some kind of art. I have ideas, and have tried lots of different mediums to express them, like drawing and music (turns out I’m not good at either), but writing has been the one medium that I’ve truly stuck with. While my ukulele sits next to my desk, out of tune, and having been unplayed in weeks, I have a journal on my desk that I write in nearly everyday. I don’t make a living from writing, but I write, therefore I am a writer.
Figuring It Out
When I was younger, I could most often be found in a corner (okay maybe not literally a corner, but off somewhere by myself) with some pencils and a piece of paper. My family always praised me for my creativity, and encouraged me to write stories.
Then I got older, and the practicality of life settled in. While no one ever discounted my desires, there was always a hint of that annoying question, “What job will you get doing that?” Sometimes people even asked me straight up, no hinting. So, in High School, I decided I wanted to be a nurse because that was a “real job.” When I went through my first round of clinicals, though, I realized it was not the job for me. Then, in junior college, not wanting to wander too far from practical career choices, I decided I would be a social worker, that was until my internship. About one year into getting my Associate’s of Human Services I decided it also wasn’t the career path for me. I went ahead and finished the degree, but I used a lot of the experience at my internship as inspiration for poetry. Finally, when I applied for University, I declared my major as English.
All this is to say that it takes bravery for anyone to admit that they want to write, and even more bravery to actively pursue it. Writing is hard work, though. Even when there’s passion behind the craft, it still takes self-motivation and discipline. This is especially true if writing is still a side job, or even a hobby because you have to make time for it. Writing is fun, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t take time and effort.
I’ve had to develop a process to keep at it. It’s easy to let writing slip away in the midst of life obligations, but I have never felt more proud of anything in my life than my writing, so I figured out some ways to keep myself going.
The first part of this challenging process is to write! I try and write every day, even if it’s only for a half hour. When I can’t get to writing, though, I’m careful not to beat myself up about it.
Sitting down to write is a good place to start, but then something has to happen, like words on the page. I have found that setting a timer keeps me from getting too distracted. I’ll set it for 30-45 minutes, this way my brain knows that I have only that much time to write, so I better get busy.
I’m an easily distracted person, especially when I’m sitting at my computer, so I’ve discovered that I get more writing done when I sit down with pen and paper. After I’ve written a few pages, I’ll type them up. This process also helps me with a few instant revisions because when I transfer them from the page to the computer I notice small typos, or inconsistencies in plot.
Speaking of inconsistencies in plot, the best way to avoid these is to never underestimate the planning process. This is a lesson I had to learn for myself recently. Planning might be a couple days’, a few weeks’, or even a few months’ worth of work, but planning will make the writing process so much easier. Also, super bonus, with some kind of outline of the plot, there will be a lot less writer’s block because there’s always a plan and a direction for what’s coming next.
One of the most important parts of my planning process is having conversations about my characters. I’m shy when it comes to my writing, and I don’t like to share it with just anyone, but I have one or two people who I can talk openly with about what I’m working on, and I process my ideas with them. Sometimes, when we get to talking about my characters, it’s like we’re talking about people we know, and that helps so much because it brings my characters to life.
I don’t make myself a slave to writing, I just sit down and do it, and that has made all the difference.
YouTube Channel: abookutopia
Featured image via Pixabay