Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Lighten up! :)

A reader recently asked:

Any tips on nor taking it so seriously? I think my want to write a really good book is getting in the way of learning to write. I don't want to do it wrong or devote so much time to something that is bad. I notice I get stressed over the "right"choice most of the time. The feelings of "this is really good don't last long" so I end up stopping and getting frustrated because I'm not getting anywhere.

This is a tricky balance! No, we shouldn't take our writing so seriously that we shut ourselves down before we even get a chance to show some literary genius. But we shouldn't be flippant about our passion or calling or ministry, or whatever writing is to you, either.
Like most things in this industry, there's a fine line to balance on. This is easier though than others, because this step is all "behind the scenes" so getting it wrong here doesn't burn any editor/agent/reputation bridges ;)
My thoughts: Give yourself a chance. You are your own worst critic (for now. haha Once you're published, your own worst critics will pop up on Amazon) Don't sell your story or your writing ability short. But at the same time, don't think you know it all from the beginning and assume you're the next Jane Austen in modern day clothing.
My advice is to get feedback. Run your idea or first chapters or whatever you have by a trusted friend or critique partner - before you start bashing your story to death. Someone who loves to read and will give an honest and unbiased opinion! :)
KEEP LEARNING. Take classes. Sign up at your local college for creative writing courses this summer. Join online groups like the ACFW ( to network with other writers, attend conferences and take online courses on a regular basis. If you make these efforts, you WILL grow. You won't be able to help it.
Also, you have to FINISH WRITING A BOOK. You will never be taken seriously by an agent or editor if you can't finish a manuscript. I'm not kidding. That's on almost every legit agent or editor's list of "musts" - you must finish a novel before submitting to them. Because anyone can start a book, not everyone can finish one. So go with an idea you love, and FINISH. By the time you get to the end, chances are, you will love your story.
And lastly, read what you write. The more you asborb publised, quality novels in your genre, the more you will start to subconsciously apply the style to your own writing. (style as in, proper sentence structure, lack of dialogue tags, using natural dialogue, pacing, etc.)
What do y'all think? Any more advice for our dear Reader here?

1 comment:

  1. I have this problem too. Sometimes. I just have to step away & re-adjust.
    What do you do if you don't really have any reader/writer friends who get your writing?