Let me start with a given: life is short. I am now 47 years old and I have no idea where time went. It shows on my face in nooks and crevices I didn’t have before.
I have wasted so much time fretting over writing projects and wondering if I was good enough. I walked away from writing many times, only to come back to it. Because, after all, writing is my passion, my path, my reason for getting up each morning and sitting down behind my desk.
What I kept missing
One thing makes us writers a better writer: work every day. Every day vow to take a leap into the unknown. To vow to consistently jump into undiscovered territory and see what works for us and what doesn’t. And to take jumps fearlessly, and do what we’re am passionate about. Creating, crafting, passionately knitting words together until they form a story or an article.
And to constantly jump into something we’re passionate about telling.
Do you have a project you really want to work on?
Work on the project, take notes, get to know your characters, your settings. Let your whole soul pour in your work. Passion shows in writing! And don’t worry if your writing will be good enough. If you keep at it, you will get a better writer every day. If I look at my old projects now I cringe at having the audacity to send them out. But I did dare to get them rejected. And that made me a better writer.
Are you writing something that doesn’t really click with you? That you aren’t passionate about?
Dare to abandon a project! I once decided to write a vampire book. Vampires were the hot thing back then. When the book was finished I threw it in the corner and didn’t look back. It had no soul. It didn’t speak, didn’t sing. Did nothing but show what a drudgery it was to write. I wanted to stake my MC myself! I’m now returning to a project I outlined years ago, and that is where my passion IS at, and that shows in my writing.
Are you stuck in a story and have no idea where to bring it next?
Get out a notepad and write down reasons why you wanted to write the story. Can’t find any? Go find something else you ARE passionate about and tell that. Don’t delete the story you worked on for so long. You will, no doubt, come back to it and work on the idea you had for it again, like I do with the abandoned novel idea.
Are you staring at a blank page and wonder if you are a writer?
Go back to your basics. What do you love to read? Fantasy? Mystery? Hard SF? There’s your first clue! If you read fantasy and try to write something completely different, it might be a sign you’re stuck in a genre you don’t really like. Thing is, you can start anew as a writer every day. You can leap into new territory. As long as you write with passion and craft your stories well you have a winner. After all, most new genres started with exceptional stories that broke the mould.
Are you holding on to your stories in fear of rejection?
What you fear is rejection of yourself. Your stories don’t care if they are rejected, and you can just send ‘em out into the world again after rejections. The moment you have finished, polished your stories, they are ready to head out into the world on their own.
How are you going to JUMP?
Make daily/weekly/monthly JUMP goals!
My jump today is to get out the text markers and post-its for a novel revising project this morning. This afternoon I am going to work on an e-book I have wanted to publish for months, but was too chicken to. I jump!
What’s your JUMP for today? Or this week?