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confidence editing first draft productivity

Write perfectly, or write quickly?

Some authors have the ability to pump out five thousand or ten thousand words a day. Some authors agonize over each sentence on the page.

What’s the reason? Is one approach better than the other? Is there a happy middle-ground?

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Categories
confidence fiction

What to do before submitting your story

If you’re reading this post, you’ve probably already written and edited a story of your own. Your work is at the point where you’re comfortable putting it in front of editors. Congratulations! That’s no small feat.

Before you start submitting to publications, there are a few things you can (and should!) do to help you prepare. Some of these tips will help with your current story, while some tips will give you pieces of writing or advice to help you over the long term.

And don’t worry, these tips won’t take you a lot of extra time. You’ve already written a story, so you’re probably not excited about another potential mountain of work. These tips are quick and easy, and hopefully well-justified so you know why you’d want to spend more time.

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Categories
confidence motivation

What makes an author, anyway?

When does somebody take the leap from “non-author” into authorship? Is there some finish line to that journey, and if so, is it relatively quick like a hundred-meter sprint or is it a long arduous run similar to a marathon? Can you ever revert your author status once you have it?

And finally, are you an author?

Photo by Kat Stokes on Unsplash

Big questions, right? Well, I have a simple answer that I believe, followed by a long road of reasoning to hopefully justify myself.

If you think you’re an author, you’re an author.

Please read on for the justification, since some days really do let me feel like an ✨author✨ while some other days have me feeling like a slug.

Categories
confidence motivation

Taking care of yourself when writing is hard on you

We writers are known for being hard on ourselves. Sure, anybody can put words on the page, but as writers, we put a larger burden on ourselves to make sure those words are as meaningful as possible. In many cases, that meaning has to be mined out slowly, over time. And sometimes, that meaning is hard to confront.

The public perception of a writer can seem glamourous. Who wouldn’t want to travel around the world to reading events and interviews? Surely the life of a writer involves meeting celebrities (while also being a celebrity), basking in attention from readers at every step?

Right?

Of course, we know the truth is less exciting.

A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.

Thomas Mann

Writing is hard work. Sometimes, for those who do the work and are lucky enough to find an audience, the scenario above can come true. For the rest of us, writing is a deeply personal process full of profound highs and lows.

With all of the work, all of the toil, all of the personal sacrifice, and all of the risk of putting one’s thoughts and words into the world, it’s so, so important to remember to take care of yourself.

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Prioritize self-care

Writing, as a largely solitary activity, often demands long hours by yourself. Without taking the time to check in, it’s dangerously easy to lose track of your own self-care.

The importance of physical fitness in other sedentary activities, such as chess, poker, or e-sports, is becoming obvious. In addition to the clear physical benefits, getting up and moving can help your mind by stimulating blood flow and boosting creativity by changing your environment. Your body, like your mind, is a tool that needs cultivating.

Note that this doesn’t mean you should be lifting weights five to seven times a week. Getting outside for some fresh air for a few minutes each day is a wonderful start.

And if you’d like some inspiration, here are some articles about others who have taken those initial steps and found more value than they initially expected.

Burnout is a dangerous problem for those of us who push themselves too hard from time to time. If you’re working too hard and showing signs of physical or mental exhaustion, consider taking a step back and reflecting. You might do better work after rewarding yourself with a short break. Recharge that battery and help yourself at the same time.

Be kind to yourself

Every writer is different. Your writing is important because it’s yours. We all produce at different rates, with different degrees of quality along many different measurements. If we all had the same output, the world would be a boring place.

If you find you’re feeling down, consider taking a step back and reframing your expectations to be realistic. Published books aren’t first drafts, so our first drafts won’t read like our favourite books (yet!). Full-time authors have large blocks of time available to produce words, while part-timers like many of us have to eke out minutes when we can find them (but those words that we do create couldn’t have come from anybody else!).

All we can do is our best, and thank goodness for that. The world is a better and more enriched place because you’re in it.

Don’t dull your aspirations though, if you find they’re helpful! Being realistic doesn’t mean being hard on yourself. Everybody has hard days, and it’s important to remember that we all need support sometimes. Take the time you need to be healthy.

Ask for help when needed

While writing can be an intensely personal activity, don’t forget that there are people who can act as a support network at any level you need. Whether you’d benefit from an early reader, or if you just need a friend to support you through a rough patch, don’t forget to keep your social connections close.

If you’re finding that things are still hard to deal with, don’t be afraid to seek professional treatment from health professionals. Mental or physical illness are no joke. The stigma around disclosure is starting to fade, and if you’re apprehensive, you may be comforted to know that therapy (in any number of forms) is growing more common. Don’t be afraid to reach out if you think this might be helpful. Writing might be lonely, but life doesn’t have to be. 🧡

Categories
confidence motivation

Should you make writing a priority?

Photo by Vanessa Bumbeers on Unsplash

There are plenty of books, essays, posts, and general social media reflections on carving out time for writing. Fighting for a spare moment to craft some words when life has other plans. With social lives, families, careers, and even sleep, how can a writer make time to actually write?

And with that in mind, how can we actually be sure that carving out time is a worthwhile thing to do? If writing was so important in our lives, wouldn’t be have already made the time we need? (Not necessarily, as I suspect most writers with busy schedules would argue!)

In this busy world of ours, how can somebody who wants to make more time available for writing actually make writing a priority in their life?