There comes a point in every writer's career when they feel their writing reeks worse than week-old vomit. They're the worst writer ever. They'll never write a best-seller. They'll never amount to anything. Writing is a waste of time. You try to write a new chapter, but not even a sentence comes out.
Now what do you do?
In this post, I'm going to show you exactly why the above way of thinking is the exact reason you can't write anything. I'll show you how to turn this slump around and get back into the swing of writing.
Most writers' biggest dream in life is to get published and hit #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list. They want to strike fame and fortune like J. K. Rowling and Suzanne Collins. They want raving fandoms and red carpet movie debuts. Really, who doesn't want this with every fiber of their being? But the only way any of these dreams will happen is if the readers love and become obsessed with your story and you sell a million copies. And therein lies the problem.
With every scene you write, you'll end up doubting if it's good enough, if it's something that will make your readers foam at the mouth with rage or jump up and down with excitement. So you hit the delete button and erase everything. Then you start over, but you're even more afraid than last time. You tentatively start typing out a sentence, pause, and hit delete. No, that was stupid. That wasn't funny at all.
Your thoughts go to all the people who've ripped apart Twilight like Dana, Alex, and Charlie, and their snarky, sometimes British, voices go and attack every single word on your page. You don't just hit delete, you x-out of your word doc or shove your notebook back on the shelf.
Do you see where the problem is? You're worrying too much what other people will think of your writing. You're imagining them laughing at the characters (not in a good way). You're imagining the bitter reviews and legions of hate.
Now allow me to slap your fears and self-doubt with a wet fish.
Writing is supposed to be the funnest thing you've ever done! You get to live different lives, explore different worlds, and meet different people. You get to tell a story and teach an important lesson to anyone who picks up your book. Your voice, for the first time, gets heard. You're important to someone. The moment someone dives into your story, the words you wrote are the most important thing in their life right then. They're immersed in your worlds, your characters, loving and crying and dying and living with them.
Don't over-think anything. Just write your heart out without worrying or analyzing every literary device you're trying to use. You can always rewrite it after if it didn't work. But initially, write the story that's playing through your head. Don't think: "Is this is boring? Will they get the point I'm trying to make? Is this too confusing? Is this lame?" Instead: "This is awesome. If I was in this situation, I would do ____. I want to make so-and-so point, and I'll do it by ____."
Writing is not a job. It's not something you do for fame and fortune. It's not something you write for someone else's enjoyment. You write for yourself and yourself only! Stop caring what the readers will think. While you're writing, the most important thing is whether you're enjoying the story. If you think making your protagonist break into a military base and steal a multimillion dollar weapon is cool, do it! If you think having your protagonist bump into the good looking prince and fall flat on her face so he can help her up is romantic, do it! It's not what others think. It's what you think!
First drafts are always shit. Never expect anything more. But remember: your trash might be another person's treasure.
You're the GOD of your story and your characters. You are the ultimate power, deciding every single action, every sentence, every fate. If you think your characters hate you for torturing them so much, they don't. They love you with every fiber of their being because they know you're hurting them to make them stronger. Or at the very least, someone somewhere in that story will benefit from their pain.
Don't be afraid to show who you are through your words. Reach in your chest, pull out your heart, set it down on the stage, and walk away. Don't look back to see the audience's reaction; just keep walking forward. That's when true writers are born.
YOU ARE READING
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