Happy Sunday, everyone and welcome back to my blog!
I’ve had quite a good writing week this week; while I may not have built up a huge word count, I’ve started to understand some of my characters even more and move my plot along well. So I’m feeling pretty smiley about it!
Even so, today I’d like to focus on 5 Mistakes we make as Aspiring Authors. I personally have made/still make ALL of these, but you might only relate to some. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
1. Judging Ourselves too Harshly
Nothing makes your heart sink more than when you read back over parts of your story, a story that fills you with excitement, and you hate almost every word. There’s nothing more crushing than feeling like a King/Queen as those sentences spilled from your pen, but like a small child when you read them back. But this is the problem; we judge ourselves too harshly, too early on. When you write a first draft your mind is thinking fast, it’s all about getting that story told and sometimes the ideas flow too quickly to write well. That’s okay. Let that first draft be a mess if it needs to be. You will have to judge yourself when you edit, but save it for that; save it for the next draft. And when you finally do get round to editing yourself, be kind. Your writing is an achievement and you should be proud of yourself through each, gruelling step.
2. Comparing Our Progress
When you’re part of the writer’s community it’s great fun to follow other people’s journey’s. We’re all here to support each other. However, it can be easy to get disheartened when you’re having a bad day/week/month in your writing and everyone else seems to be pushing forward, hitting their word count targets and reaching the next steps in their goals. Don’t let this make you think you’re not cut out for it. Everyone who is going through a wave of success has also and will also have the same struggles as you. It doesn’t matter if you’re only on your first draft, if your word count is miles behind what you want it to be. Your time will come and so will theirs; but it is not a race.
3. Thinking too far Ahead
There is a certain extent to which thinking ahead is a good thing. Think of your goals, your dreams, your aspirations and focus on them – in this regard, thinking ahead is motivational and positive. But try not to focus on the challenges of the next step too soon. If you’re on the first draft, try not to worry about the struggle of editing for the second draft. If you’re on a second/third/fourth draft try not to worry about whether you’re going to need to do it all again. Try not to worry about the challenges of finding agents or the potential of being published. As I said, thinking of these things in the positive light of aspiration is good and will drive you forward. But spending too much time thinking about the next part you need to conquered will distract from the here and now. Right now, all you have to do is write.
4. Not Finishing Our Work
I’m guilty for having gotten so excited about a new idea that I’ve pursued it, promising myself I’ll return to my WIP (work in progress) later…and then never have! I’ve left a small number of projects abandoned and unfinished and never gone back to them. Now, admittedly, in a lot of these cases I did move on to something that was more exciting and probably a better overall idea. But finishing a WIP is about so much more than telling the end of your story. It helps you to practice discipline, patience and commitment; three essential things to any writer. Not to mention that writing endings is hard and who’s to say if you don’t practice finishing your work now, that you’ll ever finish a piece at all?
5. Feeling we don’t Deserve to Call Ourselves Writers.
It’s a common feeling that unless you’re published or in any way successful than you’re not really a writer. And okay, if you’re not being paid or earning money through writing, then perhaps it isn’t your job title. But for so many of us writing isn’t work, it’s passion, it’s something we can’t live with out. At the end of the day, writers write and if that’s what you’re doing, be it for work, for a hobby or simply because it pains you not to, then you are a writer. And you have every right to that title.
Let me know if you’re guilty of any of these ‘mistakes.’ I’d love to read your comments!