I’m part of an awesome and supportive writing group. We even write these days. But the thing about this group that has continued to work for me is that I’d legit say these people are my friends. We’re as interested in helping each other out as we are riding Rachel’s coattails to success. (We’re also pretty into the latter though.)
As I try to talk myself out of writing this morning because THE CRAFT IS HARD AND IT’S USELESS ANYWAY, I’m repeating advice given to me by much smarter and more talented writers. I’d recommend it for you, as well.
1. It’s okay to take time for yourself, even if it means not writing.
I was told this a dozen times in the year after my divorce, and from a dozen different people. I basically refused to listen, because my fiction writing was fairly tightly entwined in some negative issues in the marriage. I thought taking a break was admitting some sort of defeat, or conceding some flaw — I don’t even know anymore, honestly.
Eventually I heeded this advice… mostly on accident. It was good advice.
2. Taking a break from writing does not make you “not a writer.”
It’s okay to recharge your batteries, either from a creative or emotional standpoint. It’s weird being a writer and not writing, because so much of your identity is tied into this one thing that you just cannot fucking seem to do right now. But you’re still a writer.
3. Stop looking so much at the craft of it while writing a draft.
My sentence structure is drab and lifeless. With the exception of my dialogue, everything is, “This happened. Then this happened! What a world! As a result…” I can see it when I’m writing, and yet feel utterly incapable of stopping myself from writing this way.
I get angsty about pacing, and plotting, and narrative flow. And whenever I do this, I’m gently reminded that those are all things you can fix after you’ve actually written. You don’t have to hit the gate with a masterpiece. It just has to be mold-able.
4. Everything is cooler when you add “in space.”
This is how I’m getting over the fact that the most recent draft of DREAMING OF EDEN is basically “The American Revolution In Space.” On the plus side, if I run out of ideas, I can just go look at the Revolutionary War on Wikipedia.
5. Quit dawdling and just do it already.
Writing sucks sometimes, but you kind of have to do it anyway. So put on some pants today, make a cup of coffee, and string together a couple of words. It doesn’t have to be epic. It just has to get done.