The writing process can be super difficult. It can make us feel inadequate or like we’re better off pursuing something else. Even if we start a story or project with ease, we soon find ourselves in the trenches of writing, editing, revisions, more revisions, trashing whole chapters or sections, rewriting, dreading critiques, and even loathing ourselves.
Sounds really fun, right?
But we do have those moments when it finally seems to come together. That’s where the magic happens. But, that magic is not possible with large amounts of work and not giving up when it gets overwhelming, frustrating, and difficult.
Perseverance + hard work = SUCCESS!
I remember reading about author Kathryn Stockett and her book The Help. That manuscript was rejected SIXTY TIMES before receiving her YES. I was amazed. I don’t know how I would have handled that amount of rejection. The point is, is that she didn’t give up and throw her manuscript in the trash. She believed in it and spent hours, days, and months reworking scenes to turn it into a huge success.
Writing a book is often referred to as giving birth to a baby. They do have a lot of the same symptoms…
- At first, the writing is really fun.
- Then you wonder what you’ve gotten yourself into.
- You stress and worry. A lot.
- You work hard doing all the things you’re supposed to do to make your “book pregnancy” a success.
- Critique partners do “check-ups” and help you stay on the right track.
- The writing is often uncomfortable.
- You gain weight. Sometimes a lot.
- You just want the book to be done!
- You become extra sensitive, ornery, and cry easily–and all. the. time.
- The deadline approaches and the worry increases. You start editing like mad, making sure your MS is spotless–the “nesting” phase.
- Finally, after a lot of pain, self-medication via chocolate and caffeinated beverages, your book baby is born.
- You show off your cover and masterpiece to the world.
- And then you worry and stress about its success for the rest of your life.
After you have a child, you don’t give up on your kid when she becomes exhausting, frustrating, or has to take yet another bath to get cleaned up. The same goes for writing. You stick with it and do what has to be done as responsible parents (authors) do.
As any parent knows, there will be times when you feel like giving up, DON’T! Keep working at it. Let a fresh set of eyes take a look. Listen to their suggestion and see if it helps further your plot and character development.
Take a break for awhile. When the self-doubt kicks in or you have no idea where your story should go next, step away for a day. A week. Or a month. Just as “distance makes the heart grow fonder,” so does letting your MS sit untouched for a bit. I’ve found when I think something I’ve written is absolute garbage, if I take a sufficient break, it changes things. I can see my writing more clearly and am able to clean it up if needed and also see where my strengths are.
Sometimes, you will delete some section of your book and replace is with something a lot better. It’s part of the process. The revisions, editing, scrapping, rewriting, etc., will all be worth it in the end.
No one is handed success on a gold platter. It takes work, many failures, perseverance, and some more hard work. If success in writing was easy, everyone would do it.
So, hang in there and keep writing.
Wendy Jessen is the author of more than 300 articles—book reviews as well as family-oriented articles on familyshare.com . She somehow manages to do that with 6 spirited children ranging in age from 4 to 13 under toe. In the throes of writing her first book, she finds ways to procrastinate which usually involves scrolling through social media. Wendy often stays up way past her bedtime reading YA or other fiction. She loves kid-free date night with her husband, family vacations, and kids’ bedtime, aka, the human version of whack-a-mole.