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.

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.

Why All Writing is Good Writing (even the bad ones)

{Etsy journal by CraftColorfully}
{Etsy journal by CraftColorfully}

What you write is worth the effort.

Even if it never gets published. Anywhere.

Even if not a single person lays their eyes upon it.

Even if no one emails you, calls you or messages you that it’s the best thing they’ve ever written.

It’s worth it even if it’s the worst thing you’ve ever wrote.

Even if it follows hundreds of rejection slips.

Even if it’s tucked in a drawer, never leaves your computer or your laptop.

It’s worth it simply for the act of writing itself.

Let your words write itself. Don’t judge it. Don’t tear it apart. Don’t pull at it the way you would a loose thread which would unravel the whole quilt before it’s even complete.

It’s worth it because all writing is a work-in-progress.

Respect your words. Let it be the unfinished canvas. Love it for what it is though it may not buy you fame, wealth, or prestige. It will buy you practice. It will give you confidence. If you let it be, one day you will understand its purpose.

Guest Post: How to Motivate Yourself to Finish That Book

 

{Guest post byJessica Kristie}

Each hand behind the pen is different in flow, technique, and ability. The spectrum covers a massive space and the outcome is always different. With all the many walls thrown up and doors slammed, still the greatest hurdle to overcome is often our own inability to continue. We ignore our unique voice and fall prey to the weight of the world’s negative intervention.

I have been writing for well over twenty years and it has been only the last five to seven that I have been fully dedicated, and giving the attention my pen had asked for. I have often made the choice to let stress or frustrations make huge spaces between the times that I wrote. For some this is only a hobby, but for me, it is a need. My life is much more understood, along with those around me, when I can void myself of my intense emotions. Writing helps me make sense, while bringing peace when it is welcomed the most.

Realizing the importance of penning my thoughts and dispelling my emotions has kept me going. I have found techniques for my own personal brand of inspirations and maintaining a healthy joyous life. Weaving my writing life into my reality full-time was an often difficult road, but one that was captained by the drive to share with others and that urge to write.

“What motivates each person individually is different, but there are many tools that can aide in your attempts to keep going.”

Find your purpose and hold on to that. Don’t ever allow yourself to forget why you began in the first place. When dust starts to accumulate on your one-third finished novel, come back to the basics and feel once again why you began that journey, why it was important. Not only do you need to be in touch with your unique voice, but also your unique purpose. Be honest with your intentions and your inspiration will find its way through.

Create for yourself an arsenal of motivators and activities that work for you. If something does not help, move on to the next thing. Don’t box yourself into one way, because there are many ways to maintain inspiration and keep the joy of writing alive. Writing prompts, reading, environment, and positive thinking have all played a part in my ability to push through the tough moments.

Take time to find what works for you and finish that book!

Jessica Kristie is the author of several poetry books, and the co-creator for the ArtPlatform book Inspiration Speaks Volume 1 which is now available in print and eBook through all major retailers, and benefits ColaLife.org. She is also the founder of the Woodland, CA, poetry series, Inspiring Words—Poetry in Woodland.

Dreaming in Darkness is Jessica’s first volume of poetry; the winner of the 2011 Sharp Writ Award and nominated for a 2011 Pushcart Prize. Jessica’s second book, Threads of Life, is available through Winter Goose Publishing along with her eBook offering to writers, Weekly Inspirations for Writers & Creators.

Jessica has been published in several online and print magazines such as Zouch, Muse, A Writer’s Point of View and TwitArt Magazine.  You can find all of Jessica’s appearances under her Press Page at JessicaKristie.com.

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Jessica Kristie discovered her passion for writing as a child. Her inspiration comes in many forms, often inspired by just a word or quickly fleeting emotion. Through years of writing she has been able to capitalize on her experiences, whether they are painful or joyous. She hopes to draw you close to her world through shared emotion while inspiring you to forgive, remember, and heal. Follow Jessica on Facebook and Twitter @jesskristie.

Must-Have Writing Tools: The Things You Can’t Write Without

I only discovered it recently. But I’m more apt to write in a crazy fit of inspiration if I’m accompanied by lots of people talking in a crowded room, the smell of coffee wafting in around me and settling on my clothes, and in the rim of a nice, comfy, worn out cheeks indented chair.

That and a working vintage typewriter. I scored one recently at a flea market. I got there late with only 20 minutes to spare and saw it sitting pretty amongst dusty vases, non-affordable credenzas and chotskies I would never buy. I’ve been secretly drooling over antique typewriters for a long time now.

I’ve stalked them in Portland. Like this sweet guy for $45.

And this one with the cool circular letters for $99!

Vintage typewriter

There was a few funky ones that I took with so much excitement that I kind of jiggled the camera, which explains the blur.

 

But I just never thought I’d own one. So I pinned them instead.

Then, I went to that flea market and saw one I fell in love with. Maybe it was the time pressure or the fact that it was 50% off and that the nice lady gave me additional 10, but this time I gave into my writerly fetish and finally purchased my own vintage typewriter.

Since I’ve gotten it, I’ve been as obsessed as a kid with a new toy. Really. I can’t stop playing with it. Fortunately, it’s also inspired a few scenes in a story I’m working on. Although it’s slower, bulkier and more inconvenient than my efficient laptop, it makes writing so fun. I absolutely love the sound of the keys as I type and the ding that (still works) to let me know I’m almost hitting the end of the page. It’s inspiring me to keep writing. I also recovered the case (which you can kind of see here and which I’m gonna share more about later on my crafty blog The Inspiring Bee).

 

But what about you guys?

What writing tools are musts for you? What helps you keep writing when you’re feeling writer’s block?

Find the Motivation You Need to Keep Writing

An extraordinary sunset caught from high above on an airplane.

It’s the end of National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo for those in the know. And I have to tip my hat to you all. Writing a novel in a month scares me more than public speaking. Just the thought of it brings back an old episode of Golden Girls. You remember the one where Blanche was up all night writing the greatest novel ever? After she got sleep, she realized all that hard work was for naught. Her words written on black and white marble journals didn’t make any sense.

That’d be me if I did it.

Instead, I spent more than a week cruising Arizona. I didn’t do a stitch of writing. {Except for writing in my one line a day journal-something I mentioned in my guest post here.}

All I did was breathe in the dry Arizona air, inhale the deep red mountains in Sedona and sigh over big cracks in the earth and canyons worth crying over.

It was like visual poetry and I didn’t want to waste a minute of it writing about my in-the-moment experience.

When I got back, I realized that the trip had quenched my writing spirit. And that somewhere along the way, I had lost that sense of excitement I first felt when I put pen to paper.

And I learned that it’s inevitable. That life happens. That bills come. That light bulbs need changing. That you need to go to the dentist. That someone needs to buy the groceries. That every day you must brush your teeth, get out of bed, walk into your every day life and do what you must do to go through it. But every once in awhile you get a glimpse of how magical life really is and through that open door you’ll find the motivation to write.

I know authors and writers more experienced than me will say that you must sit your butt down and get to it. That you don’t need inspiration to write, you need discipline and motivation and perseverance.

I agree. But I also believe that without taking care of yourself, without giving yourself the time to be inspired, to get out of your comfort zone, to see life in a new way, your work will be dull. You need to tend your life, just the way you tend your garden. Maybe even more so.

When you remember the “you” in your writing, your motivation to write will follow…