Good morning, story tellers!
Before I get too far into this blog I have a confession to make; I stole today’s blog title. Let me explain…
…the title has been taken from a song by Passenger called Things That Stop You Dreaming. It’s a gorgeous song and I highly recommend you give it a listen, if you haven’t already. There’s a line in particular that always makes me think of us writers;
Well I’ve got no one’s word and nobody’s promise,
not a lot to show but this book full of sonnets…
Basically, this has been a bit of a funny week for me. It started off pretty well, I was hitting high word counts every day and the end of my first draft was very much in sight. Indeed, I finished one character’s view point and had a little celebration! However, that same evening I realised that my other POV character was not quite right down on paper, not as she is in my mind. I’ve barely developed her story at all and her scenes are frankly boring. I felt like my heart was tearing. But then I stopped feeling sorry for myself. So, I need to do more planning, more plotting and more writing. So what? Novel writing is a long process…
…and it got me thinking of another lyric in this song by Passenger, the chorus in fact. I think it’s a beautifully written chorus that’s both sad but motivating in equal measures. Have a look;
Well if you can’t get what you love, you learn to love the things you’ve got
If you can’t be what you want, you learn to be the things you’re not
If you can’t get what you need, you learn to need the things that stop you dreaming
It made me think of the things that can stop a writer from dreaming, can stop us from doing what we love. Here’s a few;
1. Self Doubt
This week I began to doubt if my story was any good. Was it too boring? Too predictable? I felt so disheartened after what had been a successful week for writing. When you doubt yourself it’s easy to want to give up, start something new or just stop all together. But it’s so, so important to push past the doubt. The world does need your story, and hey even if it doesn’t; you need your story! Keep writing!
2. “No-one’s Word and No Body’s Promise”
I’m using that lyric again! All writers know the importance of writing for yourself. You don’t write for fame, or for success, or for money; you write because you have to. You write because it pains you not to, you write because you love it. That doesn’t mean, however, that part of your writing dream isn’t to be published. It doesn’t mean that wanting to write for a living is a bad thing. When you’re an unpublished writer you write with no guarantee that anyone will ever own a copy of your carefully crafted works. You must write anyway. No-one’s going to publish a blank page, after all.
3. Putting Yourself Under too much Pressure
Be firm with yourself, set yourself deadlines. I fully support this. However, you do also need to be kind to yourself. When you start to beat yourself up for missing your word count or taking a break, then writing becomes a chore and is no longer enjoyable. Remember, this is your passion. Treat it with respect, but treat yourself with respect too.
I’d love to know what sort of dilemmas stop you from dreaming, and the ways in which you manage to push past these doubts and fuel yourself again.
You all inspire me so much, and your opinions are always insightful and fascinating.
Speak soon, and until then