The highs and lows of writing a novel are pretty intense. I have felt like I reached breaking point more than once.
If I had followed online advice about how I should write every day, or how I should plot every scene, or climb every mountain. Chances are I wouldn’t still be working on my story now.
You can’t always write every day, sometimes you start and you get nowhere, and you have to go away and rethink and replan, and then you start, and you get so far, and then things need changing.
Because plans don’t always pan out, things don’t always look the way on paper the way they do in your head. Because of a million little reasons that set you back again and again.
And then you look online for advice only to be told you need to be on it all. the. time.
You know what helps me?
Ignoring all of that, working through the story a piece and a time, and finding a fellow writer to howl at the moon with.
I get out, I stop, I *gasp* procrastinate.
And progress is still made, not fast progress, but better progress than writing a thousand words and then having to delete them because something needs to change.
One of the reasons I’m struggling so much is because I have a mammoth series I’m working on.
It’s taken world building, character building, plot building. For the whole series. Not down to the last detail, but at least enough so I know where I’m going and where I’m coming from.
Writing one single book would be much much easier. But it wouldn’t be right, not for this story. And so, I plot, and I plan, and I struggle, and I do what I need to do when I need to do it.
So, I have to bear this in mind when I feel like I’m getting nowhere. With so many pieces of the puzzle I have to get them all in the right place or my picture of a tiger will look like a pixellated mess at the end.
I have berated myself so many times for not being faster, and the fact that I don’t know everything immediately. And that is the thinking that gets me nowhere.
And so I fail. I fail so much. And it’s hard. But I rethink, I get back up, and I keep on going. And if keeping going means taking a break from writing- so be it.
Don’t confuse with being taught how to write with learning how to be a better writer.
Learning the craft, and learning how you craft is tough, and it takes time to find your voice. It also takes time to find the methods of working that suit you best.
When you learn the writing craft it is advisable to learn as much as you possibly can, throughout your writing career, by researching, reading, and trial and error.
When you learn how you personally craft, there is no-one more expert in how you work than you.
There no one path that is “the” path
By all means, take ideas from people who say what works for them. But don’t assume it will work for you too. And don’t feel discouraged if it doesn’t.
Be wary of being told of ‘the only way to do’ things. There is no one way. There is just the way that works for you. And if you find a way that works for you don’t let anyone else tell you it’s the wrong way.
Don’t make the mistake of burning yourself out trying to write to someone else’s system.