Writing isn't easy. I think it's one of the biggest misconceptions of writers that we can, in fact, just write.
But our minds are filled with stories only we can see, characters only we know. And it's up to us to compile all these thoughts into coherent sentences, turning paragraphs into pages, and pages into chapters.
So why do we do it? Well, I think part of it is because it's annoying to keep these stories within our heads. I mean, we aren't writing while expecting fame and fortune. Just because you write something doesn't mean it'll be a best seller, that everyone will somehow love your story as much as you do. But somehow we need to give these characters a place to live, whether people end up reading it or not.
My Story As a Writer
Ever since I was a kid back in grade school I've loved writing. Between short stories, poetry, scripts, I've written just about everything. But it wasn't until 2013 that I began writing my first novel, one of the best decisions of my life.
The story playing out in my mind was constantly urging me to write it down, stemming from a dream I had on vacation. So I began creating characters, developing the plot, and expanding on the idea of the story. But I didn't fully commit to actually doing the writing. I wanted this idea to become a novel, but at the same time it would have been nice for it to just jump into existence. And it was that kind of thinking that made me push it off for the longest time, only writing pages on occasion.
Then, while in eighth grade, year 2014, we had a personal project, being able to choose basically anything to do for the assignment. So I took the opportunity to commit to writing my story. And by the end of the project, I had finished the first rough draft of my story at about 70,000 words. Granted it was pretty bad writing wise, but I did something that a lot of people never do. I completed a first draft. And let me tell you, I felt so accomplished writing those last words, it stuck with me for a long time afterwards.
But I never did anything with this rough draft of a story. At least, not until 2018. Five years of this idea only feeling somewhat complete. Throughout 2017 and into 2018 I rewrote the story on and off, but didn't fully commit as a writer until August of 2018. And in six months, I finished the rewritten version of my original story. Now it's 2019 and I'm working on editing and revising the story, getting it ready to send to a publisher.
The Struggles of Being a Writer
No matter what the profession, struggles always follow. So what do we as writers face? Here are a few basics:
1. Writing? What's that? - Procrastination is no joke when it comes to writing. You could have the greatest idea in your head and end up scrolling through Pinterest for hours instead. But don't worry! Everyone does this in some way or another, and it's okay sometimes. Just as a writer you have to make the choice to sit down and write instead.
2. The Greatest Plot. - Wow, you've been writing page after page of your story, the plot coming along fantastic! And then... One sentence, or even one word, and you're stuck for hours in the same spot, trying to figure out how you want to phrase that section. This is a regular occurrence.
3. Income? Never heard of that. - Unless you're already a successful writer with multiple works or a best seller out, writing doesn't really generate income. Of course, there's options such as freelance writing and ghost writing for other stories, but writing your novel is basically only for yourself until it gets picked up by a publisher that likes it. So just be aware that right away you probably won't be having an income.
4. Publishing. - You may think you have the greatest story ever! Yet, you send it out to publishers and all you get is rejection. And having a story rejected somewhat feels like you're in a sense being rejected. Because stories come from within, they are a part of the writer. So it absolutely sucks. But if you believe in your story don't give up! I always think about J.K Rowling when I think about the possibility of rejection. One of the biggest book franchises was rejected 10+ times before a publisher saw its potential. So don't give up hope!
An Honest Description of The Writing Process
To be completely real with you, I don't know many other writers, or haven't explicitly talked with them before. All I can tell you is how I wrote my novel, the methods that seemed to work for me, and how I dealt with some of the struggles.
General Steps of My Writing Process
1. It begins with an idea - then taking that idea I create the characters, basic plot, the conflict. This also consists of scrolling through Pinterest and creating a board for your book. (at least in my case it did) But I do really like writing specific details down in my journal.
2. Next I begin writing, though if I haven't been writing for a while it starts out pretty slow at first. Now some writers like writing the scenes that first come to their minds. As an example, some like to write the middle or end before writing the beginning. In my case, I prefer writing from beginning to end as it keeps all my ideas lined up in the way I want them to be. So just find a way that works for you! If you have a different part of the story in mind first, write it!
3. Now, as I write I tend to get more ideas, but a lot of the time those ideas need to stem from the beginning. But instead of going back right away, I make a note of the addition or change I want to make, and later when I revise I'll apply it to the story. If the idea can be incorporated right away I'll do that as well, still making a note of it just in case something beforehand needs to be changed or added.
4. This step is the most difficult. It's getting to the end. Of course, if you want your story to become a series like I'm planning mine to be, then it's not the finale, but still it has to come to a close. And if you don't have a vision from the start of where your book is leading to, it's that much harder to create the ending. In my case, my ending has changed so I've scrapped probably 4 chapters and have to add in new things to the plot in order to make my new ending work for the story.
5. Revise, edit, rewrite. This process will repeat itself constantly, as it should. A first draft is never perfect. It takes time, patience, and effort to reread over and over again to make the story the best it can be. In my case, after I finish a draft I step away from it for about 2 weeks. I do this to make sure I'm looking at my writing more critically, detaching myself from the story. When I do this, my mind becomes clearer on the flow of the story and things such as character and plot development.
If you're a writer or aspiring to be one please feel free to message me! I'd love to talk about your story and hear what you think about this article!