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Showing posts from October, 2010

Excuses Not to Write...

All writers do it – we come up with all sorts of excuses not to write. For every reason you can’t there’s also another reason why you should. How else will you accomplish anything?

Why we do this depends on many factors. Sometimes it’s because we lose flair and give up, perhaps it’s because we can’t find inspiration and then stagnation sets in, or it’s simply that we’ve grown bored with writing completely and we can’t be bothered to write anything worthwhile.

We make excuses because it’s easy. Sometimes we allow them to fester until our lack of writing becomes a long-term problem – in the end, nothing gets done.

The most often used excuses not to write are:

• Procrastination
• Lack of motivation
• Writers Block
• Writing laziness
• Boredom
• Fear of rejection
• Life
• Indifference

Procrastination is a way of canny avoidance. That novel needs finishing but the goings on in EastEnders or CSI diverts your waning attention. You need to write a story, but instead you decide to take the d…

Self-Doubt - Why It Stifles Success

I’m rubbish; I’ll never be a writer.’  Not if you don’t do something about it.

We’ve all had these negative thoughts, thinking we’re simply not good enough to reach the glorious echelons of the Literati. Most writers have suffered this at some point and it usually manifests when fear of rejection overrides logic because it’s easy to doubt your own abilities when comparing themselves to others and thereby decline their own talent in the process.

When you begin to doubt everything that you write, it becomes a problem.

So you’ve written your novel, or your short story or article, but you're not going to send it to an agent/publisher/magazine because you think it's not quite good enough, despite the time and effort you’ve put into it, regardless of how good or bad it might actually be. You’ll spend another week or so editing, and still it won’t be good enough. You ask yourself: Is it any good? Who will want to read it? Will anyone be interested in what I have to say?

Let’s be r…

Rejection

The Dreaded Rejection


Every writer can vouch for rejection. Every writer will experience this.

Rejection is emotive, it produces feelings of hurt. Writers take it personally, but you have to understand that it’s the piece of writing that was rejected, not you as a writer. There could be dozens of reasons for rejection. It doesn’t mean you’re rubbish and should instantly give up.

Writers do what comes naturally: they equate rejection with failure. It’s hard not to. Weeks, months or even years of hard work has been arbitrarily dismissed, leaving you with questions such as ‘Am I a bad writer?’, ‘Was my story that bad?’ and ‘Why am I a failure?’

The simple answer to those questions is, not necessarily. If you were lucky enough to get feedback with your rejection, that means you may have to tweak it and make changes in order to improve. If you don’t get any feedback with a rejection then don’t feel obliged to take your masterpiece and rip it to shreds in the belief that it’s rubbish and n…

How to tackle editing...Part 2

Part 2 - The Remaining Drafts


You’ve done the first draft and filtered out the grammar, spelling and punctuation mistakes. Now you have to look out for the less obvious things, the more detailed and technical factors. This is the primary work.

Again, it’s wise to put aside your story or MS for a while, then return to it with fresh eyes for the second or third, fourth or even tenth draft. This time, not only should you be on the lookout for the grammar and spelling/punctuation errors you may have missed first time around, but also you should be looking deeper into your story for less obvious errors.

Does your story start at the right moment? It should start at the heart of the action, or a defining moment in your protagonist’s life. Does it have a hook to keep the reader interested? Does it have a great opening line or paragraph? If it doesn’t, then you need to address that. A story should grab the reader's attention from the very first paragraph. Once hooked, you need to keep that…

How to tackle editing...

How to Edit – Part 1


Knowing how to edit your work is an essential part of writing. Not only do you need an editor’s eye to evaluate what you’ve written, you also need to be objective with yourself. Not easy, especially when you’ve spent so long writing your masterpiece and you’re emotionally attached, but unfortunately it’s a necessity in order to reach that level for an editor to accept your work. You do have to be hard on yourself sometimes so that you can take your story from ordinary to extraordinary.

Actual physical writing is a small proportion of what a writer does. The hard work comes afterward, during editing, which is all about making your work much better. This is where true investment and a willingness to re-write mark an amateur from a professional.

The best preparation for the editing process is to leave the finished work for a while, let your mind relax from creativity and writing. The idea of this is to detach yourself from the story you’ve worked on for so long and t…