Writing is Tough.

I sometimes post on a writers’ forum; posted this yesterday and thought I’d put it here, too. Kill two birds with one stone kind of thing. 🙂 Anyway, I hope you all have an excellent week of writing, reading, and discovering. Go get em!

Writing is tough. Writing well is tougher. It takes a ton of time at the keyboard, journal, and books, books, books to develop your writing skill. It doesn’t ever get easy per se, but you develop momentum and stamina over time the more you do it. It’s like physical exercise and just as arduous, and like physical exercise, you must try to write every day to see results.

Start small, though, and work your way up. I used to hear the dictum “you must do 2k a day” and try to immediately push myself into that regimen. It didn’t work for me; it felt like I was forcing out work instead of really writing the story I wanted to tell. Start small. Write until you are satisfied, and then go do something else. Just make sure you show up the next day and try some more. Eventually it will take over if you work at it and you will write more and more at each sitting, and feel really good about it.

Writing is also thinking, planning, researching, reading, discussing; it’s a really organic thing that grows and your actual words-to-the-page output, at least for me, is usually the result of a lot of other work.

Enjoy it as much as you can, and as far as writing fancy, unless that is your natural voice, don’t try to jam your brain into a style of language you perceive as “writerly” because it’ll just sound false and make you feel miserable. (Been there.) Write using only your at-hand vocabulary, even if it sounds utility and basic to you, use it. It’s not basic to everyone else. Your perspective is what you bring to the page, even if you are writing through the voices of your characters, you are the one seeing the story — use your words.

Your vocabulary should develop further with more reading, and pay attention to what you read. Dissect it at grammatical, dramatic, and structural levels, and then try to forget all of that and just enjoy it. Don’t be tempted to poach the thesaurus to find ornamental language. Use your thesaurus only to cut word repetition; don’t go searching for a word to spice it up and make it sound fancy. Just write the words that come to mind.

TL;DR — Write what you know with your own voice. If you want to be a writer, you must write. There is no other way around it. Do the work, reap the rewards.

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About Andrew Conlon

Fiction Writer. World Builder. Likes Books, Words, Ideas. Loves Family, Friends, Food.

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