Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Creative Writing 101: Writer's Doubts aka Terminal Terminitus

Today is a very important day. It's no less important than yesterday, but it's no more important than tomorrow - neither is it in between the two. But, it's still important. I could ramble on with justifications all day, each no less important than the last...but I'm procrastinating.

Procrastination (DON'T SAY DIRTY WORDS!) is one of many enemies to a writer, another being lack of time. But for many, the title of arch rival belongs to doubt.

Writer's doubt a.k.a. Terminal Teminitus. If Webster was to define it, the following would be noted in the dictionary:

Writer's Doubt (latin: Terminal Terminitus, Scribblius Maximus Gettius Nowhereius). A condition effecting writer's in which they deem their work of too low a value to continue or start. Symptoms include cold sweats, tummy aches, head pains, nausea, nose bleeds, broken pens, smashed laptops, frayed wits, and sometimes death (by stray paperclip).

Have you ever thought that you writing was not good enough to share? Have you given up on a story because it was 'just not good enough'? Have you ever put down the pen before picking it up because you were scared of what might come out? Then this blog entry is for you!

Look, I get writers doubt, so do thousands of others. Best selling authors are struck dumb with it all the time. It's like a personal version of writer's block, but arguably it can be harder to overcome. You aren't just questioning the writing, you're questioning yourself. 

Points to consider.

Play the field.
Don't just stick to one genre. Mix it up. Discover new things with other works. Find a new audience. This will help prevent you from typecasting yourself to a single genre. Just write whatever. Me? I'm a heroic-fantasy writer at heart, but I dabble in Sci-fi to clear the cobwebs (and trust me, these cobwebs are spun by writers doubt, and they smell suspiciously of a toilet!), and 'adult' themes for my fiance (secret's out now!).

Don't Fall In Love With Your Manuscript.
No, it's not a genre breaker. No, it'll never outsell the bible. No, it'll never be bigger than 'The Hobbit' (not literally...well, depending on how thick the book is, and how tall your average hobbit is). You have literally NO chance of writing 'the next big thing'. But, you might just sneak in a sunday stroll of a book - anything more than that is thumb's up worthy. Don't set out to top the pile, set out to WRITE A GOOD STORY.

Enjoy what you write.
It's your thoughts and ideas. If you aren't enjoying it, change it. Who can tell you otherwise?

You're not the only one.
As above, everyone suffers with it at one point or another.

Listen to lovers, not haters.
Ignore those that you have no hope of winning over - if you fight for their approval, you might end up losing your current readers/friends/fans. Write to please, not appease.

Write, don't publish.
Be a writer, NOT an author. Think about it.

REMEMBER: you can always go back and change it (unless you've just hit the 'publish' button on Amazon, at which point you're boned...well, not really, you can go back and change it, but it's a b****!)

The best way to get over Writer's doubt? Allow yourself to write badly once in awhile. Have a guilty pleasure folder where you stow your abominations. Heck, the monstrosities might pull a Frankenstein and lumber into greatness one day! (Nuts and bolts not included, take precautions whilst handling electricity).

And that, as they say, is that! 


((On a sidenote: no writers were harmed in the making of this blog entry - though there was a close call involving a stray paperclip.))

D. E. M. Emrys. Author. Soldier by day, Soldier by night - Writer in Between. 
Author of Heroic Fantasies:

From Man to Man - Currently FREE from Amazon

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