Welcome to part three of my Author Life series. You can find part one here. This week I’m going to talk about the frustrations involved in writing.
From emails I’ve received, there are two things that seriously slow down new authors. The first is being overwhelmed at the prospects of writing a novel. But that’s easily sorted, don’t think that far ahead! Take it one chapter at a time. Remember it’s a creative pursuit and therefore meant to be enjoyable. Your first novel is often the easiest because you are not working under the pressures of a deadline. These days, you can find me writing my next novel while editing the previous one and preparing for another further down the line. Then there’s social media, emails, planning book launches and lots more. I’m not complaining, I love it! But working on your first novel is different as you have very few of the distractions that prolific authors encounter. Don’t worry about social media at this early stage, just read and write.
Ahh procrastination, the unwelcome companion of almost every author I know. It’s a little demon at times. But the good news is that you are the one in control. You can switch off your wi-fi at the click of a button and boof! All the distractions of social media are gone. Alternatively, you can download a nifty app called ‘Freedom’ to your computer and schedule blocks of time that will allow you to research online but block sites such as Facebook and Twitter and the like. I’m as guilty of this as anyone, and sometimes there are days when I find it so hard to focus. On days like those, I have such a short concentration span, and occasionally flicking over to a Twitter feed and back to my work in progress can recharge my writing. I don’t recommend it, however, and it’s better to instil good habits otherwise you are wasting your time. There are also apps that you can download which give you a weekly report on how much time you spend on social media. Very sobering! If you’re struggling to concentrate/focus/write, then go outside and spend some time in the fresh air. I’ve almost always been able to unblock my thoughts after a quick walk. Housework can help too. Anything rather than social media, where you are in danger of falling into a rabbit hole and wasting your precious time. Tied to your desk? Music really helps me too. I love my Bose noise cancelling headphones and I have some great playlists on Spotify that really help motivate me. Hans Zimmer is one of my favourite artists, but if you search any movie track themes, you will find lots to choose from. Look up motivational soundtracks while you’re there. They will provide a terrific boost to your day.
A lot of people talk about writer’s block. If you are hoping to make a living from your books then you can’t afford the luxury of not writing for a day because the muse hasn’t paid you a visit. Just write. It may not be brilliant but that doesn’t matter because nobody’s reading at this stage. As the saying goes, ‘you can’t edit a blank page’. To me, writer’s block is all of the above, just procrastination with a fancy name. When I was working full time, I wrote in every spare minute I could snatch. Now I’m reaping the rewards and have the luxury of working from home. If, like me, there is an end game to your writing then you have to commit yourself to it 100%. Don’t waste your time comparing yourself to anyone else. You are unique. Nobody in the world can write just like you. Next week I’m going to be talking about author envy and insecurities. In the meantime, set yourself a daily word count goal, crack on with your writing and get that first draft down.
That’s all for this week. If you enjoyed my post please give it a like. Comments welcome. Please note the small print: I don’t get a commission for the links that I share. They are external links and have no connection with me. My advice is solely as a result of my personal opinions and experiences, and my willingness to #payitforward Please don’t hold me responsible for any problems you may encounter during your writing journey. Images (except mine) are courtesy of stocksnap.