How Not To Write Your Book

I took Friday off from my “real job”, and was able to spend the whole morning sorting through the craziness that is my current first draft. Since I am struggling to finish this first draft – and have long since set aside another to gather dust, I feel exceptionally well qualified to speak on this subject. Give me a few months and hopefully I can sing a different tune. πŸ™‚

5. Take your sweet time with no real timeline or goals in place
I started my current work in progress well over a year ago. I went probably about six months without touching it or thinking about it. At the end of last year I made a commitment to write every day and a good portion of those writing times have been working on this project again. Sifting through what I’ve done so far, it is ridiculously apparent from the disjointed nature of the beginning how much time must have passed from writing scene to scene. Later portions, where I was writing consistently, have a much better flow. With the commitment to write, I’ve strengthened the thread of the story. At writers meeting today we discussed setting goals. I am committing to finishing this draft by the end of May. Jessica and Larry, you can hold me to that. πŸ˜‰

4. Have no real definition to your characters
I am almost finished with my first draft and I still don’t feel my female lead is that well defined. Really? Sadly, yes, really. I am seeing that I should have prepped this better. An abundance of character development aides are out there and I should not be in this position. The good news is that it is not too late for me! This is something I am working diligently on fixing.

3. Jump around to a lot of different projects when you get stuck
I committed to writing every day and I really have had to work on staying on task with my big WIP. I do have two short stories I am allowing myself to work on a bit, but before I started my writing commitment I would bounce around quite a lot. I would start writing on one story then come
up with a brilliant idea for another and still yet another the next time. I have kept the smaller pieces, but there was a fair amount of time spent just deciding what to focus on at each sitting. I’d like that time back, please.

2. Second guess yourself
Going back to what you’ve just written and picking it to pieces instead of moving forward is a great way to not finish your book. I fight this tendency a great deal. It is easy to get discouraged and see all the flaws and just keep working on the same scene. I have done this and still not been happy. So I have finally gotten to a point where I just keep moving forward without a lot of re-reading. I have to do some re-reading of course, but it has helped to just keep plugging away at it.

1. Compare your writing to everyone else’s
Theodore Roosevelt’s quote really resonates with me on this and I have to constantly remind myself of this when I start to do it.

Comparison is
the thief of joy.

I do it. I have heard others do it. We need to stop and enjoy our craft a bit more. Enjoy the process. And cut ourselves some slack. Which I will start doing promptly. Or else I will never finish this book, much less the series I have planned.

Have a fantastic week, everyone! And you’ll be seeing me pick back up with
the A to Z Challenge posts tomorrow with the letter F.

15 thoughts on “How Not To Write Your Book

  1. I don’t know a single writer who doesn’t second-guess themselves, but it’s not productive. And yeah, you need to finish your first draft before you start any edits at all. Good luck finishing your series!

  2. I am so guilty of number 1. Everyone is better than me. I look at other people’s work and think I’ll never be as good as they are, which sucks because i actually like what I write. The problem is that we aren’t seeing our own work with an unbiased eye. We are so totally biased towards our own work, as we should be. It’s ours, for good or ill. But, every so often it helps when I have someone who I admire read my work and give me feedback. Like group. You guys are so good at reviewing works and giving positive feedback and that helps more than anything else could. Plus, it’s definitely good for the self-esteem. My work has worth, and so does yours. We just need a good swift kick in the butt every now and then to remind us of that.

  3. I think I spend most of my time doing 1 or 2. It’s so hard not to judge our own writing harshly, or not to compare ourselves with other people.

    The comparison thing especially gets me. I’m forever expecting that what I produce should be as good as what much more seasoned writers produce. I suppose the key is to let ourselves time to grow and gain that experience and enjoy ourselves in the process. That’s a great quote by the way – I should print it and stick on the wall behind my computer for when I start getting a bad case of comparisonitis.

  4. The two biggest struggles I have are, like everyone else, writers block and staying on point in my storyline, I bounce around quite a bit. Then when I go back to review what I have written I’m all like “huh?” Lol

  5. you are juggling a lot but also making forward progress, and you are truly evaluating your process as you improve. Leaps and bounds plus A to Z. I think you should be really happy with yourself

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