When I was younger I dreamed of being a writer.
Everyone told me to use my brain and go into Science.
During the first semester of college I was very unsatisfied. So I took a writing course. In that writing course we had to meet with our Professor to approve our story.
I specifically remember the words: “That sounds like a bad idea.”
Struggling with my health at that time, it was the straw that broke the camels back.
I quit college. I quit writing. I just quit.
Life can and will get worse given the opportunity
It would be several years before I would remember my goal of being a writer. During this time I came up with several story ideas and would jot a few sentences down but not much more.
Then, back in 2014, I became unable to work. It was devastating to me emotionally, spiritually, and financially. I sunk into a great depression and didn’t have any idea what to do with myself.
That’s when I remembered writing.
Unfortunately, writing is hard
I had grand plans:
1) Build an amazing following (overnight)
2) Send my book into the publisher
3) Become a best-seller
4) Be rich and famous
All problems solved, right?
The platform I chose to build a following was fanfiction.net. They have an amazing community and great readers. I figured that if I wrote there I would be able to determine if anybody likes my writing. (You can read the story here. )
The reviews poured in.
I even got some amazing ones to the tune of:
“I like your work more than the original authors.”
Then I got stuck. I didn’t know what to write next. In the end, it just felt like too much to mess with.
Nathan Bradsford said:
“When people encounter the phenomenon otherwise known as “writer’s block,” what they are really describing is one thing and one thing only: writing stopped being fun.”
That was where I was.
It wasn’t fun anymore. Writing was now work.
Finding your why
I had finally decided I wanted to be a writer.
So what went wrong?
I didn’t realize what it took. So when things got hard – as they often do – it was easier to quit.
It took me another half of a year to realize one thing: I missed writing.
But I knew that if I got started again I would run into the very same struggles. It would be hard.
Being homebound, I didn’t really have much to lose. But what if it became hard again? What if I didn’t get the response I needed? What if?
I realized one day I didn’t want to write because I was scared. If I did write and became successful, then that would mean all those times I had given up would have been for nothing. But if it was a failure, then I would have wasted all of my time doing something with no results.
It was a Catch 22.
I had heard it thrown around for a few years to find your ‘why’. A ‘why’ is basically a mission statement that describes why you do what you do.
So, I set down one afternoon and asked myself: Why do I want to write?
The answer surprised even me.
I want to write to make the one person who is alone feel happy. I want to write to help people. I want to write because it is fun.
Writing is fun
That’s right. Despite the fact that writing is work, it is also fun.
1) Writing in itself is therapeutic. It gives you a feeling of accomplishment.
2) You get to create something that is uniquely yours. A word that no one will ever be able to form quite the same way again.
3) Writing is one of the purest forms of art. Remember in elementary school where you took art to make you a ‘more rounded person’? There was a reason for that.
So if writing was fun why was I having such difficulty doing it?
The 4 Qualities of a Writer
My main reason I had so much difficulty was because I didn’t know what it would take to be a writer.
There are several things that are required to be a writer:
Writing takes work. Like everyday nose to the grindstone work. You wouldn’t be able to say you have a career as an Author, if it wasn’t a full time job.
It doesn’t matter how good your idea is, how unique, or even how life-changing if the book never gets finished. If you say it is too hard, I dare you to write 500 words each day. It doesn’t even have to be on your book. Just do it. Maybe you will realize the same thing I did: writing is fun.
Now that you have written 500 words a day in a month, that is 15,000 words you now have that didn’t use to exist. What is 15,000 words? A short story. 1/5 of a nonfiction book. 1/6 of a fiction book. Can you do that again? Take it a month at a time.
My current goal is 1,500 words per day, but I also started out at 500.
Fortunately, there are many tools to help you:
- Habit List: A great app that allows you to form daily habits. It counts the numbers of day you have done it in a row. The dread of missing a day keeps me going.
- MyBookProgress : That little progress bar on the side of this post? It sends me email about how I’m doing. Best of all, it is free.
- An accountability partner. Get together with a friend who is willing to hold you accountable on how well you have done. Give them some money, and when you achieve your goal, have them buy you something you really want. (I got a book!)
It took a lot of work to make that book. How is it so different from everyone else?
Because you made it.
You dreamed it up.
As an Author, we have to stretch our imagination as far as possible to discover what exactly our story and end user wants.
It won’t always be a hit, but it will be yours.
There is way more to being an Author than at first glance. It is a career, after all. Do you want to self-publish or go traditional? A red or blue cover? Twitter or Facebook to gain followers? The list goes on and on.
So, in order to obtain knowledge you browse on other authors websites or join a course on how to do it. This takes more time away from writing.
Slow down and take a breath. Follow a few quality authors blogs that you like. For a detailed list of the top ones go here.
Don’t get overwhelmed reading information. Just read the every day articles and go searching for a specific topic when you need the information.
Sending that first query letter, or your fiftieth takes a ton of courage. As authors, we spend hundreds of hours writing this manuscript that we see as amazing. Putting yourself out there for rejection hurts.
It hurts worse the second time.
Self-Publishing also has the same issues. Those reviews on Amazon? You have to take the good with the bad. Nobody buying your book? You can’t even complain to your publisher…. unless you want to fire yourself.
In the end….
When we see rejection or harsh critique, how we react is up to us.
You have two options:
2) Try again
As an Author there are no gareentees. There is simply your will, courage, and determination to have your message heard.
What Others Say
There are two resources that have really changed the way I think about writing:
The Artists Way
This amazing book jump-started my writing from depression to inspired. Accountable 12 week studies help you to remember why you write in the first place.
This actionable guide is all about creating a Life Plan.
Part of my plan is to be an Author.
Because of this, I have to write.
Have you have a pivotal moment in your writing career? I would love to hear about it bellow!