I love to write, but it doesn’t come easy to me. Someone recently told me that I need to be more structured—set aside time to write and not let anything interrupt or distract me. Good advice, and a discipline I already had in place.
He went on to say the key is to plan what I’m going to write, then sit down and write. My initial attempt at getting the words down won’t necessarily be brilliant, but it’s a starting point and gives me something I can revise and make better.
Because that’s what writers do. They write.
At the time, his comment upset me. I think of myself as a writer. At least I want to be one. I’ve had plenty of compliments from critique partners who have read my work, so I must be a writer. Right?
The more I thought about it, the more my opinion shifted. I know I’m the slowest in my critique group at putting up new chapters. Not because I don’t make the time to write or don’t have a plan, but because I really struggle to get the ideas out of my head and onto the page.
Add in the fact that I’m a perfectionist and need to go over my work countless times (no seriously, I couldn’t possibly count how many times) before I feel it’s good enough to call a first draft. Surely a real writer wouldn’t have that much trouble, would she?
So, maybe I’m not a writer. At least not by nature, but does that mean I can’t become one?
Of course, it doesn’t!
To me, that just means I need to work harder than the typical “true” writer in order to meet my goals. And, I need to learn to set realistic goals, based on my ability instead of what I’d like to be able to accomplish . . . or what I see others accomplish. I’ll admit, that last part is really hard for me to accept.
Taking longer than two years to put out a single book is frustrating, but I’m on the home stretch and determined to see it through. After I publish my current book, I’ll move on to the next book I have planned and all the other stories currently forming in my head.
Why? Because I will be a writer. It’s what I want, and I’m willing to put in as much time and hard work as it takes to get there. –CJ