Friday, May 16, 2014

Getting Started . . . And Keeping Going

Now, I know this is something I struggled with when I first decided to write, and I'm probably not alone. Starting my project seemed impossible; I didn't know anything about writing, and everything I tried to write looked terrible. If you're feeling this way, know you're not alone, and there's only one way to fix this problem. Write.

I know almost everywhere you look you'll see writing as the advice for how to write better, and that's because it's usually one of the most successful ways to overcome problems in writing. But it's also one of the hardest. One big problem is that many writers, no matter how experienced, can have trouble with over-analyzing their own work. Noticing weak sentences, poor plot, or even just spelling and grammar errors can make you doubt your ability, especially if you compare your work with that of acclaimed published authors.

One strategy that I've read about and am a big proponent of is writing a "bad first draft." No, you don't need to purposefully write badly, but don't stress if you have some plot holes or weak sentences, scenes, characters, or chapters.

You'll get better the more you write, and sometimes, looking over your old work might make you cringe, but that means that you recognize the errors you've had previously and that you've gotten better since then.

But sometimes, just writing isn't enough. It's good to write, regardless, but there are other things you can do to get better as you write and to keep yourself going. One big thing is to read. Reading other books, whether they're in your genre or not, can help you to recognize writing techniques in other books and to see how different authors do things.

The last thing I recommend doing to get started or keep working, depending on where you are in your writing journey, is to read advice. If you're looking at this, then you've already started on this. Reading about how to write certain things can help you to improve, but be careful; too much reading about how to write, and you get sidetracked from writing.

There are lots of different writing technique/tip sites and books you can look at, but some that I personally recommend include or Go Teen Writers: How to turn your first draft into a published novel by Stephanie Morrill and Jill Williamson. Another that I've seen recommended by reputable sources is The Art of War for Writers: Fiction Writing Strategies, Tactics, and Exercises by James Scott Bell.

Also, if you need grammar help or advice, I recommend Grammar Girl, who has written many posts over things I hadn't been sure about. You can find her at She also has books which you can find at the bottom of her main page.

Have you had trouble getting yourself to write? Did you have any way to get over it? Let me know in the comments.


  1. Great advice. I have a terrible habit of forgetting to read while I'm in the middle of writing a book, especially during NaNoWriMo (terrible, considering how much I love to read). i do quite well on the reading writing advice front. I bookmark posts on writing that I've found useful or inspirational, but remembering to read other books is one of my main weaknesses. Good luck with your new blog!

    1. Thanks! I've struggled with remembering to read as well, especially when I'm working on word count goals. I hope you enjoy what I have to post!