I thought I might as well get back to writing on the blog more often, if only to keep the fire stoked until the book hits, but also in some way to be my own private little therapy session once a week, so here goes:
If you’re a writer, you probably spend your time in one of three stages 1.) writing 2.) not writing and 3.)thinking about maybe getting back to writing on Tuesday in three weeks fingers crossed. I find myself, more often than not, in stage 2 and 3. I think this is why 2015 is such a blur to me, I have honest to god no memory of that year, it went by way too quickly.
If you’re in any way like me, then you know that writing isn’t the hard part. That’s easy. The Historian’s Crusade was written over the course of seven weeks and edited over the course of another five. The big problem will be overcoming the periods where you are in-between stories and in-between ideas. Maybe something else is going on in your life, maybe you have a new job, or school obligations. What you need to understand right then and there, if you ever want to get back to writing, is to forgive yourself and not martyr yourself on the altar of the writing gods. It happens, learn to move on from it. Just because you are a writer and want to publish your stories, or not, doesn’t mean you have to think about it 24/7. I guarantee you that the people who do hit burnout by 45. I wanna be popular and adored like Hemingway, sure, but I don’t wanna go out in an alcohol binge or with a bullet in my brain either, so learn to relax. The more you fight your writer’s block, the worse it will get. Once you are in a state of mental ease, your confidence will return.
Never think about getting published and what people will think of your writing either. There will always be an audience for your work. I recommend fanfiction in that regard. Not only will you learn the dos and don’ts, but you will always learn the valuable lesson, that everything has an audience. The people of going the digital publishing route can be that you will develop a passionate hardcore audience. Reviews will be important of course, learn from them, but don’t dread them. Write for the readers, not the reviewers. The reviews are a bonus to better yourself in the long-term. But in the short-term there is nothing more rewarding than a happy reader.
On that note, throw conventions to the wind. The worst writing advice I ever got was the writing class I took during NaNoWriMo. Write in your own time, to your own standards. If you wanna write short stories, serials, novellas, there is a place for you out there. I labored years on trying to get the basic concept for The Historian’s Crusade up to 60.000 words for some arbitrary word count limit, but in the end I was much happier to get it to 44.000 words, and it’s a better book for it. Write to the needs of the story and you will not only be done faster, but also much happier with the results.
I just realized that this entire post might as well be titled “don’t worry, be happy” but the harsh truth is that a writer is a storyteller, and while there is good reason for some storytelling conventions, a writer should not be a slave to the other things that have, in the past, come with being a storyteller. Be the Clint Eastwood of novelists: write first, ask questions later.