Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Conquering your (Writing) Goliaths

As many of you know, my second published book, "Conquering your Goliaths: A Parable of the Five Stones," is up and running. But today I wanted to focus on 5 specific Goliaths we all face when it comes to writing and how to overcome them.

Let's start off with the most obvious one:

Photo by: Psyberartist, courtesy of Flickr
1. What if I have writer's block? 

Don't believe in it. If I have a stall in my writing I try a writer's exercise, write about a picture in a magazine, or just start writing whatever comes to me. I don't believe in writer's block because there are so many things to write about.

2. What if I don't have enough time to write?

You have enough time if you choose to believe you do. Writing takes sacrifice, even for those who (sigh) are able to write full-time. You may need to sacrifice sleep. You may need to sacrifice a perfectly clean home. You may bow out of events. You may even choose to put that roofing project off for another year.

Whatever it is that's keeping you from writing, evaluate it. See if it can be removed from your life or put on the back burner (instead of your writing) for another time. You can do it.

3. What if I have terrible grammar?

Photo by: mrsdkrebs, courtesy of Flickr
The best writers I know of have terrible grammar. What they excel at is a great story. Through time and effort, however, these terrible grammarians improve their grammar and may even manage to elicit a great editor to help them with their work. In your first draft, when the great stuff is coming and you really don't want to shut it off, grammar is the least of your concerns. You should be focusing in on the story. Only later, when you're reading for publishing, should you hone in on your grammar.

4. What if people hate my work?

Yes, some people will hate your work, and you have to get to the point that that it is okay with you. Especially in the beginning, when your writing is just taking off, you may have a crash or two when it comes to readers not really enjoying your work. If they're your friends, they will tell you why they didn't like it, they will get specific, and they will also tell you what worked for them. Critiques never hurt anyone, especially a writer who knows when to take the critique in and make changes and when not to.

5. What if I can't sell my work?

I remember the day I realized the reason I wrote, and it wasn't for money. Money was more of a side-mission that would come because folks wanted to be a part of what I'd written. I was writing for me, but I was also writing for others. What I sold had as much to do with my marketing skills (or lack of them) as was the reader's desire to read my work. I couldn't worry about sales. I needed to focus my attention on getting the word out.

Writing a book is a little like creating a child and letting the child go when he/she has grown up. People say it is difficult to write, and it is, but it is far more difficult to let your book go after it's been written and see what happens.


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