Writerfield

Fuel for the creative writer

Month: August 2019

4 confidence boosting tips for writers

I hate writing, I love having written.

Dorothy Parker

Let’s face it. Writing can be a slog. Being an author doesn’t always make you feel like you’re crafting fantastic worlds out of the air. Sometimes writing sucks.

If you’ve ever felt the pain of an empty page, or found yourself stuck in a knotted plot that won’t unravel into the story you’re looking for, you know the pain. Maybe it comes in the form of fear, where you begin to question whether or not this whole writing thing is for you. Maybe it’s anger, and you’ve got a wastebasket beside your desk full of hastily half-scrawled and crumpled pages. Or maybe you’re just tired.

Whatever you do, don’t give up! Every writer struggles at some point. Some just make it less visible than others.

Photo by Web Hosting on Unsplash

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Regaining confidence by focusing on process

Have you ever heard a story where a hermetic author wanders off to an isolated cabin in the woods for months–or years!–before finally emerging with a flawless manuscript? Have you ever thought about that story and mentally evaluated it against your own draft?

If so, you might have felt the deep fear of failure that can result from comparing our work to others who are farther along their writing journey.

Comparing our own work to an award-winning piece of literature may feel unfair, or even cruel. Our thoughts can be troublesome, leading to worries about whether or not anybody else would enjoy the work in the same way we do.

So what can we do about it?

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My first draft is done, now what?

Congratulations! You’ve completed the first draft of your story. You’ve put in the time by writing, typing, pondering, and plodding on through it all. You’ve sweated, snacked, and maybe even cursed a few times. And after all of that, the first draft is done.

So, uh, what now?

First thing’s first. You’re awesome. Finishing a first draft is a huge task, and by finishing, you’re already way ahead of the field.

Finishing a first draft can be spooky! Should you now write the draft again from scratch and hope the second time works out better than the first? Or should you re-read every chapter again, hunting for flaws? Or does finishing the first draft mean that you’re all done and can start hunting for an agent?

What’s a writer to do?

You’re a lot closer to being done, but there is still some work ahead of you. Fortunately, you can use some objective approaches to get from first draft to the final version.

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What to do when you have too many ideas

We’ve all been there. We’ll be plugging away at a story, diligently banging out the words. Before we know it, as if getting a glimpse of a shiny toy on the edge of our vision, we’ll be captivated by something new.

  • This story’s fine, I guess, but I’d enjoy writing this other story even more!
  • Wouldn’t it be cool if I wrote a novella about this secondary character?
  • Sure, the antagonist is bad, but what if there was a different villain? While I’m at it, why not change the hero?
  • You know what would make this better? A PREQUEL TRILOGY WITH LASER BUNNIES.
With credit to Alex Norris (https://twitter.com/dorrismccomics)

My hard drive is littered with abandoned drafts. Yours might be too.

How can we stop ourselves from falling into the trap of giving up on one story in an attempt to pursue something new? And how can we stop ourselves from doing the same thing with the next story? And the next one? And the one after that?

Having too many ideas might sound like a good problem to have, but it can be paralyzing.

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