Alright guys, this one is going to be a short one because, it’s seven a.m. on a Wednesday as I write this and I don’t feel like writing an insight but here I am, all the same.
So, Let’s get to it.
I think people have trouble with writing, especially in the early stages, because they put this insane amount of pressure on themselves to produce god-level content in the first go, and that’s just not how it works.
Trust me, I’ve tried.
The thing about writing is, is that it’s pretty simple when you get to the heart of it: write, revise, edit. That’s it. Nothing else is involved on that note.
But, if it’s so simple, why do people have trouble with it? Well, a couple reasons might be:
- They don’t have a writing process
- they have a writing process, but don’t follow through on it consistently
- they don’t know what the writing process is
- they don’t know how to properly perform the steps
- they’re perfectionists.
Now, the thing all these reasons have in common is that they stop the writer from completing the first draft, revising it, and editing it. For the people that don’t have a writing process, get one. You need it. Period. Without a writing process of some kind, you’re just winging it and going all over the place, you have no consistency and the quality or your writing varies significantly. That’s often why you sometimes write really good, and sometimes so bad that you wanna throw your laptop or word processor off a cliff into the deepest, darkest abyss. So, get a writing process.
Those who have one but don’t follow through, start following through. If you have a difficult time doing so, consider simplifying the process into easy in manageable steps. Try to make it as 1, 2, 3 as you possibly can, that way, it doesn’t require a lot of brain power and you can focus on the most important thing when writing: writing.
For those who don’t know what the writing process is, give me a minute and I’ll get to it. Just laying a little foundation.
Same goes for those who don’t know the steps.
The perfectionists, however, we need to talk. STOP PUTTING SO MUCH PRESSURE ON YOURSELVES! Nothing is perfect, nothing will ever be perfect, so stop trying to be perfect so that you can move on with your lives and your writing. The best work you ever do will be masterful but not perfect, exceptional but not perfect, extraordinary but not perfect, pioneering but not perfect. Basically, what I’m saying is, let it go. Write the damn draft, revise it, then edit it. You don’t have to be perfect to be great.
Now that’s done, what’s the writing process? Simple: Write, Revise, Edit. Let me explain in simple terms.
- Write- just write the draft, don’t worry about showing or telling or any of the other irrelevant and sometimes terrible advice you hear in writing. When you’re doing that first draft, you’re Shakespeare, god’s gift to the word processor, you are infallible, you don’t make mistakes, you are the perfect writer. This is the stage where you let delusion, arrogance, and any other delusions of grandeur take you on a literary high unlike any other. This is where you fantasize your ass off and go nuts, nothing is sacred, nothing is too far, too weird, too geeky/nerdy, anything goes. Anything.
- Revise- this is where you come back down from that high. Staying up there too long will cost you dearly and will get your darling’s ripped to shreds in writing and critique circles. I speak from experience. Revision is where you look at the story as a whole and cut any unnecessary scenes, chapters, sections, paragraphs, etc. Basically, you’re focusing on the big stuff, ignoring the line by line editing until later–no point in polishing a scene you might delete later, right?
- Edit- the line by line, nit-picky, compulsive, tedious work of making sure each line is perfect and that your writing has no hiccups or flaws, no inconsistencies, no awkward phrases, everything is in its appropriate tense, all the scenes make sense and that your writing is as grammatically correct as possible–with a little flavor unique to you.
Now, all of this does include character development, plot development, story structure, emotional arch and story arch, and all that other good stuff I don’t focus on when writing my stories because I only care about the story. However, how I write is another topic for another time.
So, hope this at least gives you some place to start when developing a writing process.
Till next week . . .