Life Lessons, Writing

What Valuable Lesson Have You Learnt Since You Started Writing?

When we first start out as writers, there are plenty of valuable lessons we need to learn. These include rejection, criticism and continually practicing our craft; however I think one of the most valuable lessons I have learnt since I started writing is getting my ideas down on paper.

I first started writing during my teenage years when I was in High School. During those early years, I was like an addict. Story ideas would appear and I felt the need to write the whole thing in its entirety in novel form, until the excitement fizzled out and I was onto the next ‘high’ (hardly surprising). Sometimes when an idea appeared, I didn’t write it down, foolishly believing that I would remember it. Sometimes I did, but others disappeared completely.

Ideas for stories can tend to turn up when we least expect it, making it difficult to get pen and paper (really, what is it about having a shower?) Other times, we can be scrambling to get just one little spark of an idea, which is lovingly referred to as writer’s block.

The interesting thing is that the more you write, the more ideas you tend to come up with (perhaps this is why some famous authors don’t believe in writer’s block). It’s getting them written down that can become an issue. Some authors have pens and notebooks scattered throughout their house and in their handbag for whenever an idea strikes. Over the years, I have learnt to use a similar tactic – grab a pen and paper quick sticks and write the idea down and make sure it makes some kind of sense for when you go over it.

In order for us to write, either fiction or non-fiction, we need ideas and plenty of them if we really want to succeed as writers. Of-course life would be a bit simpler if we had one of Dumbledore’s pensieves!

What is one valuable lesson you’ve learnt since you started writing? Do you have trouble coming up with ideas? How do you get your ideas down? Do you get ideas when you’re in the bath/shower and find that particularly annoying?

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Image courtesy of Pixabay

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This Writer's Life, Writing

How Productive a Writer are You?

I’ve always admired productive authors; I find they are a great source of inspiration for me to keep pursuing a writing career.  I envy them their imaginative drive, hoping one day I can do the same.  Since this article came out from the New York Times, there has been some talk that writing one book a year is not enough.

Like other readers, I can become impatient for the next book by an author, particularly books within a series.  However, if I have read a particular author’s work before and know to expect good quality, then I am happy to wait for it.  As a writer, I understand the pressure can be immense; both publishers and readers alike desiring the next book to be better than the last.  Expectations for authors these days are high, but like any other business, push yourself too high and you could get burnt out.  You don’t want to sacrifice quality for quantity; readers are prepared to buy and recommend particular authors if their work is highly regarded.  Producing two books a year is doable, but it also depends upon the author’s genre and the amount of research required.  Author Jody Hedlund has some good ideas on what you could be writing between novels.

In an interview with Writers’ Digest some years ago, author James Patterson explained how he manages to produce so many books.  His explanation was simple: when one book is finished, write another book!  This seems to be the usual catch-cry whenever you read books regarding the craft of writing; as soon as you finish one, begin work on another.   You can’t always wait for the muse to make its appearance; there are times when you have to force it to show up.  By continuing to write between books, you are not only producing more work, but also improving your skills as a writer.

If, like me, you are an unpublished author, we have an advantage – we don’t have deadlines to meet.  We don’t have the added pressure on what to write and when to write, however, we do have the same amount of time like everyone else.  It is in our own best interests on how to use that time and use it wisely.

Being a writer in today’s world seems to be separating the hobbyists from those who just have to do it.  I’ve always dreamt of being a published author, yet I know that it will forever be nothing more than a dream if I am not putting the effort in.  I trust you are doing the same.

Are you a productive writer?  Do you believe writing at least two novels a year is doable?  What are your thoughts on the expectations of authors these days?

Free image by Salvatore Vuono courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net