Getting Started

Sometimes, getting started can be the most difficult part of the journey.

We come up with all sorts of reasons and excuses for not getting stuck in. Out of nowhere, a whole host of other things seem to require our attention, whether that be cleaning the house or watching cat videos on Youtube! But if we don’t take that first step into the unknown, then we would never get anything done!

Many of us turn to procrastination when we are afraid to proceed, but you must cast aside your fear and believe in yourself! If you do not have the discipline to face your tasks head-on, then it will take much longer for them to get done, or perhaps they might not get done at all. But once you get into the right frame of mind and start believing in yourself, you stand a better chance of achieving your goals!

Usually, I find that once I delve into a task, it’s never as daunting as I originally thought. For some reason, the human mind puts up barriers and makes something look much scarier than it actually is. But you’ve got to change your attitude towards these sorts of challenges and put aside your fear. Do not be afraid of failing and do not be afraid of something not being good enough… do something because it is what you love doing!

Getting started can be the most difficult step because you are committing to the road ahead. Indeed, commitment can be scary, but no journey can begin without that first step! And once you find your footing, you should be able to gather momentum and enjoy your journey. When you’re passionate about every step that you take, travelling towards your destination is much more enjoyable.

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If you want to write, then bloody well do so!

There is nothing that should stop you from doing what you love.

Life is too short to live in regret, so stop making excuses and dive straight in there! You may be busy, you may be encumbered with responsibility, you may be limited by ill health, but no obstacle should stand in the way of your goals. Many writers suffer great hardship to create their work.

Other writers, however, have a relatively easy ride. I am among this group of writers, who have very little responsibility and can devote a lot of time to their craft. But regardless of how much spare time you have, you can always put some time aside for your hobbies, even if it’s just a few minutes per day. A long-term project like a novel requires patience and persistence to complete, so all writers need these qualities.

Another thing that shouldn’t hold you back is what other people think of you. Don’t worry about the opinions of others… you don’t need their praise or approval. You should write because you want to, not to impress your peers! So if you’re new to writing or you’re an existing writer who is doubting themselves, then please do not worry. Deep down, you know what you want to do with your life and you should not be embarrassed by this.

Nurturing your writing voice

To write efficiently, you need to call upon your writing voice.

If you are not in tune with your inner writing voice, then you can lose track of how the prose flows and sounds. But when you use your writing voice, you kind of narrate as you go along, which helps you to gauge if your writing is good enough. In other words, you are being both the writer and the reader at the same time.

I’m not suggesting, of course, that you read out loud. Just acknowledge what you’re writing in your head, rather than just spewing any old nonsense onto the page. Authors speak in a certain way on the page, which differs from how people speak orally, so it’s important to get into that zone.

On days when my writing voice is absent, I find it very difficult to string sentences together and produce quality writing. To remedy this, I usually grab a notepad and do a writing warm-up, spewing words onto the page until the sentences become more coherent and I rediscover my writing voice.

How much description is necessary?

I suppose it depends upon the type of book that you’re writing!

Traditionally, authors usually did a lot of description along with massive preambles, which most readers today would find quite cumbersome. These days, most people simply don’t have the time or the concentration for too much description and prefer to be thrown straight into the action!

So far, the description in my books has been very minimal, as I am acutely aware that the patience of most modern readers hangs by a thread. Of course, if you hook your readers with the story and characters then they’re more likely to stick around, but nobody wants to be bogged down by too much description! As long as you paint a clear picture for your readers, then you have done your duty as a writer.

The description should enrich and supplement the story, not distract from it! If I ever feel that the description is going off on a tangent then I reign it back in, unless it’s important to the narrative. However, some genres naturally lend themselves to more description, such as science fiction and fantasy. In these cases, the readers usually crave as much detail as possible about the world that you’ve created.

But regardless of where your story is set, try to keep the story flowing at all times and prevent your description from stalling things. Rather than have a solid paragraph describing something, try feeding the information to the reader in dribs and drabs. Not only will they appreciate you for it, but they’ll probably remember the information much better too!