Keeping the edge on your writing
March 28, 2013
I don’t know how readers visualize a writer’s world.
Do they think writers live at the beach and wait on their next royalty check? Do they think writers are just crazy people who don’t work day jobs?
The truth is that most writers I know are just plain old folks who are infected with the terminal disease of writing. That means most of them wish they could shed the writing gig, but can’t find a way to do so.
However, this does not mean that writers can sit down, wave a magic wand and call up words to populate the page.
Some days are diamonds, some are stones.
The hardest part of the gig is making yourself keep writing in those down periods when nothing seems to flow.
What is the key to writing when you don’t feel like it, or when you feel like you are just going through the motions, like whatever you do doesn’t amount to a hill of beans?
I wish I had a silver bullet to offer.
Instead, all I can say is that a writer is a guy who keeps going, keeps putting words on paper.
He can always tear up something that doesn’t work and try again later, but if he stops pursuing his craft, he is doomed as a writer.
It’s like doing push ups. If you do some each day, you at least maintain some tone. If you quit and decide to start again in a month or so, you lose ground every day.
Maybe a couple of things help prime the pump. First, it is important to have a work in progress at all times. It is much harder to approach the first blank page in a work, than a page thirty thousand words in. The main reason this is true is that most writers would say that the farther along they are in a book, the easier the writing. Part Three is always easier writing than Part One.
Another technique is to blog regularly. It is also easier to crank out a 350-500 word blog than to look at a huge mountain of words that a book may require.
The middle ground here is to consider writing a serial. The discipline of keeping up with the required chapter posts keeps a writer at the keyboard, and at the end of process the writer doesn’t have just a collection of blogs, but rather a completed draft of a novel or novella.
So, when you feel you don’t have an edge on your writing, just keep plugging.
The edge will sharpen again in due time.