When Your Writing Sucks

pencilI used to struggle with what came out of me onto a fresh page. It was never as beautiful or brilliant as it was in my mind. In my mind, I was an eccentric, quirky, and stunning writer. One the world had yet to seen. In reality, my words were mediocre at best. It kind of depressed me. Thus, began the slog of my writing career.

Every time I wrote, I suffered a little on the inside. Why was I doing it? Why was I torturing myself when my writing sucked? I would never be an award winning writer. I would never write perfect prose like the kind in Karen Walker’s The Age of Miracles or a classic like A Wrinkle in Time. When friends read my work they thought, “I could do that,” not “I wish I could do that.” I was kidding myself. Frankly, I was a little embarrassed.

But it’s been almost a decade since I started writing professionally and it’s been three decades since I vowed to one day be a writer. And I suddenly got it.

All the work that I’ve put in. All the bad writing that I wrote and continue to write. It MEANS something! It is getting me somewhere. The work is the gold at the end of the rainbow.

Eventually you will get there too. But all the sweat you’re putting in is important. It’s necessary even. Every single writer started where you are. Even Mo Willems and Dan Santat must have written something unsuccessful at one time.

I sometimes need to be reminded of it too. Just because your working isn’t published or publishable right now, that doesn’t mean it won’t be. Your time will come. If you put in the time now.

It’s just like raising kids. Your kids won’t applaud you, give you an award or promote you for a job well done. But it MEANS something! At times, it is everything! It may be one of the most important things you do for them, for yourself, for the whole world.

Your writing is your babies. You need to invest the time and energy and the pain of producing shitty work to get to where you want to go. And when you get there, you will know. You will understand why you had to go through hundreds of crappy drafts, and rejected manuscripts. You will get it. And you will appreciate that crazy journey all the more.

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Chronicles of a Wannabe Children’s Book Author

file000739253401This is a post I don’t usually write. Usually, I’m a how-to nonfiction writer hoping to inspire you. But when it comes to fiction, I’m struggling.

Recently, I attended SCBWI Hawaii chapter’s 2016 conference with 2015 Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat and literary agent Suzie Townsend. It was as encouraging as it was discouraging. It made me want to write as much as it made me want to quit.

One of the other writers put it simply. With nonfiction there’s facts to lean on. When you’re grasping around in your imagination, there’s no bars, no walls. You’re free and freedom can be a nightmare when you have a type A personality.

“The hardest part of finding your voice is trusting your own instincts.” – Dan Santat

I believe everything hard is there to teach you something.

Growth doesn’t come from blissful days.

It just so happens that writing fiction is my next challenge. But the same old discomfort comes up. The fear. The resistance. The desire to do anything, but sit down and write. I used to feel like that about nonfiction. Nonfiction used to make my skin crawl. Because I thought it revealed my worth. It made me vulnerable. But it’s a sliver of who I am versus my fiction and essay writing. But I’m going to put it all out there because anything that stretches me further into my true self is worth the torture.

Here’s hoping today becomes the day I rolled up my sleeves and got serious.

 

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Top 10 Productivity Secrets of Famous Authors

writing desk

{guest post by Linda Craig}

It doesn’t matter whether you’re writing a novel, an article that’s about to be published online, a script for a film or anything else; you’re probably bound to a specific timeline. As any other writer, you would probably want to write as much content as possible in a shorter period of time.

If you’re looking for productivity boosters, maybe you’ll get inspired by the practices of some of the most successful writers known to this day. Here are 10 secret practices that have helped authors to become more successful:

  1. Word count goals

Anthony Trollope, one of the most prolific novelists of the Victorian era, had a productivity practice that works well for everyone: he set goals to write 250 words every 15 minutes. That’s 500 in half an hour, and it seems like a lot of work. If you don’t think you can achieve such productivity, feel free to lower the word count or increase the time frame. The important thing is to set a goal and work towards it.

The National Novel Writing Month, a famous contest that requires writers to write at least 50,000 words in a month, is based upon this principle of productivity. Although you’ll be focused on quantity, you mustn’t forget about quality. For that purpose, you can try assingmentmasters.co.uk – a writing service that will help you maintain the quality high while produce more content.

  1. Writing about terrible things

There is hardly something that will inspire you to write more than terror, horror, and suffering. Daniel Handler, an American novelist we know by the pen name Lemony Snicket, had a peculiar inspiration for writing A Series of Unfortunate Events: he thought about all horrible things that could happen to orphans. His publishers doubted the first novel would sell, but the author ended up publishing a series of 13 books on the same theme.

  1. Picking the right tool

Did you know that Charles Dickens was a little too attached to ink in a specific blue color? This type of ink dried faster, so the author could write as fast as he could without making a mess. The right tool is crucial for productivity in writing. If you have a favorite type of pen and notebook, then stick to them. If you prefer using specific type of writing software, then you can stay within that comfort zone.

  1. Hiring a fast typist

When Dostoevsky had to write a book by a really close deadline determined by his publisher, he hired a talented young stenographer – Anna Grigoryevna Snitkina, who later became his wife. With her help, he finished The Gambler within a month. Have you read that book? It’s a true masterpiece we are able to read thanks to this magnificent woman.

Maybe a typist can help you achieve much greater productivity, too. He/she will write as fast as you can talk, and the entire process will start flowing effortlessly once you get used to each other. Don’t worry; you don’t have to marry your typist if you don’t want to.

  1. Staying in the dark

If we had to pick the strangest productivity method, Marcel Proust would definitely win. When he wanted to get into productivity mode, he covered his windows with dark curtains and shutters, and he lined the ceiling and the walls with cork to make the room soundproof. He slept through the day and wrote in the night, so he was disturbed by sunlight.

If you’re a night person, you can try this technique, too. You don’t have to make it that drastic; just find a way to make the room dark throughout the day, so you can sleep without being disturbed. Then, you’ll have the entire night for writing.

  1. Isolation from the world

Victor Hugo also had an extreme method when he wanted to force himself to finish The Hunchback of Notre Dame – he asked his servant to lock all his clothes away. Some people say he stayed naked, and others say he wrapped himself in a huge grey knitted shawl. Whatever the case was, he couldn’t get dressed to go out, so all he could do was stay home for months and do nothing but write.

If you notice that the outside world is getting you distracted, then find a way to stay at home and work patiently on your piece.

  1. Getting a cat

You need someone to support you, don’t you? People talk too much, and dogs can get too happy sometimes. A cat, on the other hand, is the perfect companion of a solitary writer. Edgar Allan Poe knew best – he was supervised by his cat Catterina. He adored this cat!

When you love a pet and you care for it, it will believe in you. It will make you feel loved and safe, so you’ll gain more self-confidence and you’ll find more pleasure in writing.

  1. Renewing the bond with nature

Isolation works for some writers, but sometimes you just need a breath of fresh air before you can continue writing with full speed. Did you know that Herman Melville took long walks when he needed to get more creative? He owned a 160-acre farm in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, where he wrote Moby-Dick.

No, you don’t have to buy a farm and walk the fields when you want to write more. However, you do need to take a walk and renew the bond with nature. Breathe and observe the world that surrounds you. There is nothing that can inspire you more than the world itself.

  1. Getting inspired by scents

Friedrich Schiller kept a drawer full of rotting apples in the desk where he used to write. That aroma probably reminded him of something that triggered his creative juices. You’ll be surprised to discover what scents can do to your brain. Take an old perfume, smell it, and it will immediately take you back to some scenes that mattered. You’ll experience old memories all over again.

Find the scents that inspire you and surround yourself with them when you write. It can be a candle, some meal or dessert, or anything else that makes you want to write something right away.

  1. Organizing the desk!

Alexandre Dumas used different colors to organize the types of literature he wrote. If your desk is full of books and paper, then you need to find a method that will introduce some order into your life and work. Keep things uncluttered and don’t allow yourself to be distracted by any unnecessary objects around you. Order will certainly speed up the process of writing.

So, are you ready to try some techniques that will make you a more productive writer? Take action today!

Linda1Linda is a professional editor at Assignmentmasters assignment writing service. She is currently working on her PhD project and writing useful articles for broad audience. Feel free to reach her by Twitter.

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Cruisin’ to Make the Muse Come In

{By OhMafelt}
{By OhMafelt}

Your muse. That nefarious, unpredictable, fickle elf (but don’t tell her that, I want to get on her good side!).

Many writers say you don’t need one. Just put fingers to keyboard and type.

Me? I need one. When I write when I’m fatigued, when I’m ill, when I’m uninspired, my work is kind of trashy. Ends up being deleted the next day. In my opinion, sick days are best for transcribing and editing.

But there are secret ways I’ve learned to ease the muse out. It’s the reason why I’ve been bubbling up with ideas lately. I can’t write them down fast enough. I thought I’d share the things I’ve learned with you. Things like…

1) Visiting a museum. 

Museums are mecca for inspiration. Drown yourself in the artistic splendor of another and it’s difficult not to be inspired. They’ll quench even the most thirsty creative.

2) Lying down.

When you’re lying down and resting, your mind suddenly floods with ideas. Believe me. It’s happened every time I’m about to go to sleep. Keep a notebook nearby.

3) Taking a shower.

Maybe it’s the sound of the water or the fact that like the one above, your mind is suddenly excited that you’ve stopped playing with your smartphone long enough to listen to it.

4) Exercising.

Why is that the best ideas come when I’m swimming, on a treadmill or doing something else where I can’t jot down an idea with a pen and a notepad?

5)  Pouring over books and magazines.

I’m notorious for this-I’ve got a stack of books and magazines piling up on my nightstand or spilling over my Kindle at any given time. And it’s not just on one topic. I’ve got non-fiction and fiction in there and everything from healing illness to taking care of kids because I know it only takes one idea to inspire another. And when you’re not paying attention, that’s when the muse is in.

What about you?

What do you do to invite your muse in?

 

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