“What was I thinking?”
This is probably one of the most asked questions by aspiring writers. It can feel like a daunting task when you first start out and are trying to make a name for yourself. You may even feel scared about whether your good or not—or you feel like a failure for not accomplishing what others have.
Remember, though, the important thing is to not give into these overwhelming feelings, and just put in the hard work needed to succeed. But we’ll get into that a bit more later. First things first, let me tell you how I got into this whole being a writer mess.
I haven’t always wanted to be a writer; it never really seemed like my kind of thing. What I wanted to do for the longest time, was to become a comic book artist. I even took all the extra art classes I could back in my high school days. To be truthful, I had no interest in writing whatsoever. Funny how things turn out, isn’t it?
I’ve been reading comics for about 14 years now (that’s a lot of stories to read through). And during that time, I’ve read a lot of really good stories, and some not so good ones. If it wasn’t for comics, though, mainly the Dark Tower comic, I probably wouldn’t have gotten into reading novels—let alone ever think about writing one. I’m a little all over the place, but stick with me here. I do have a point to this.
Long story short, if it wasn’t for all that past reading, I wouldn’t be writing now. Like most people who spend their time taking in a lot of stories: whether it be from comics, novels, TV, movies, and so on, at some point you tend to think, “I bet I could do a halfway decent job of this.” I know I did.
Here’s the hard part after making a claim like that; following it up with the actual work. Getting started is the easy part for new writers. You come up with a cool story idea, knock out a page or two, and think this’ll be the best thing ever written. Then you hit a mental roadblock.
Progress slows, the quality of work degrades, and your creativity stalls. You hit a plateau and take yourself out of the game before you really had a chance to start. But there’s an easy fix to that: WRITE EVERYDAY. Even if it’s just a couple of paragraphs a day, at least it’s something—at least you’re still working and haven’t quit.
For me, making myself sit down and put the time in to write after a full day of work is my most challenging problem. At times, it can feel like a second job. And you know what? It is. Writing is the second job you one day want to make your full-time job—mainly so you can stop dealing with the 9-5 BS and finally get some quality work done.
When you’re a full-time writer you get paid for letting the voices out of your head and onto the page—rather than working some unfulfilling job where you’re constantly thinking about things you wish you were writing. That’s an aspiring writers dream, though, isn’t it? To quit their job and write for a living? Anyway, back to my writing.
Besides doing different things for the website, (reviews, recommendations, and different articles) I’m also working on some short stories. My first short story is called Daily Rounds—which I’ve completed the first draft of. This is a Weird Tales pulp magazine kind of story and is part of a yet-to-be completed DPW short story collection. I’ve been working on Daily Rounds rewrites during my free time (like there is any) and the outline for my next story that I’m really excited to get into.
A New Passion
When I started Daily Rounds, I had no idea what I was doing (not that I do now by any means). I never paid attention in English class or practiced creative writing before. But as the story unfolded, I felt like I was hitting my stride—like I might be learning the craft a little bit. I saw myself improving the more I wrote. And coming from someone who never even thought about writing before, I felt a real sense of accomplishment after finishing that first draft.
Even now, I’m constantly learning and working to improve at the craft. Whether it’s grammar, sentence structure, vocabulary, story pacing, or all those other things writers learn as they go, you should never stop trying to improve. I just hope that moving forward, I’ll be able to keep this momentum and learning process going.
As an aspiring writer, I know trying to make it in the writing business can sometimes feel like it’s all too much—that no matter what, your efforts are going to be futile and you should just give up while you’re ahead. You might feel there’s too many good writers to compete with and you shouldn’t even bother. But you must fight that feeling. You must do what makes YOU happy.
My advice: when writing gets to feel overwhelming—when you feel like what your writing is terrible and nobody will read it—take a break. Get something to eat, watch some TV, or go read a book. Just relax for a while and recharge your batteries.
Once you had some quality “me” time, get back to writing—this time with a clear head and calmed nerves. Don’t let your worries or insecurities drag you down. You should only be focused on your writing. Worrying about anything else is counterproductive and may cause you to fail at reaching your goals.
Writing isn’t as hard as people make it out to be. A lot of people do it and even become very good at it—and there’s no reason you can’t be a successful writer, too. You just have to be willing to try. Because the next great novel is not going to write itself—and it might as well be you or me who writes the damn thing. But remember, you must put the work in or you’ll always wonder,
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