Sometimes, this writing thing is loads of fun. Sometimes, we sit in front of our screens, writing words on paper that make us as the creator laugh out loud (which can make it dangerous to write in public
), or we will weep as we break the hearts of our characters. Sometimes those words flow so fast that our fingers can barely keep up and time flies and our own internal Eye of the Tiger
keeps the pace of our work.
And sometimes, it doesn’t. Sometimes, each blink of the cursor seems to be tallying the seconds that have ticked by as we write, delete, re-write, re-delete – and that’s if we are able to create words at all. Sometimes we have ideas in our heads of how we want the story to be, of how this writing thing should work, and what we are able to do isn’t even close.
Here’s the thing. That is part of the process. The gap, as Ira Glass
When that gap shows up (some authors say it does EVERY SINGLE BOOK), we have to keep trying, keep writing even if it is horrible, or as my Erin
likes to say, drecky. The only way to get better is to practice, and as our knowledge increases, our writing will get better.
But it can be oh so frustrating, to write our very best, and then go through on revision and see what was there, what we wrote and recognize the craft isn’t where we’d like it to be.
Even worse, is when we have the craft where we want it to be, when we get compliments on some aspects, but progress still remains thwarted.
At these times, the best thing we can do is understand this too is part of the process. It doesn’t take much searching at all to see what happened in the “Before We Knew Them” parts of writer’s lives. It is very, very, very rare that a person’s first book will work, pick up and agent, who will then sell it quickly and a publishing house releases it with praise and accolades.
You want proof? Those of you who participated in NaNoWriMo in November may remember the pep talk by a certain Brandon Sanderso
n. I have thought back on it often. Here’s a snippet:
You could be writing the book that changes your life. You could have already submitted it, or self-published it. The spark could be starting a fire for you as well. You don’t know, and you can’t know. That is the thrill of being an artist, of working for yourself, and of telling the stories you want to tell.
Just keep writing. Don’t let discouragement win. There is only one way to get better, to advance to the point where our idea of what our writing should be like and what it is actually like align.
I believe in you. I have seen success gradually knock on the doors of too many people to not believe in you.
Now it’s your turn to believe in yourself, in your book, in your writing, in your idea.
Tasha Seegmiller is a mom to three kids and high school English teacher in Southern Utah. She writes contemporary women’s fiction with a dash of magic. Her loves include Diet Coke, owls, chocolate and cinnamon bears. She is an editor for the Women’s Fiction Writers Association quarterly newsletter and can be found here.