Saturday, February 5, 2011

Pushing Past the Gray Days

So I’m relatively new at the writing game. There are those writers who say things like, "I’ve been writing since I was 10," and maybe that’s the case, but not for me. I always leaned in that direction, and I think back then I would have said that I was writer, but it was only recently that I really became one, and learned what its all about.

In college I tried to work at the student newspaper, but ended up not really liking it, so I kind of gave up on the whole journalism thing. When I graduated, I came out to a terrible job economy, and ended up working at a call center for a while. And then, I finally landed my current job as a reporter.

I’ve been at the paper for about a year now, and it’s taught me so much about being a writer. I learned that some days you have it, and some days you don’t, but regardless of how you’re feeling, that deadline comes no matter what. So you better just buck up and push past whatever block you’re having, otherwise you won’t meet your deadline, and pretty soon, you won’t have a job.

Being able to do that – to push past things even when you’re in a slump – is really the most valuable lesson I’ve take away from it. There’s no giving up. Some days you turn in stories that you feel less proud of than other days, but that’s just the way it works. It’s all about being persistent, and continuing even when you don’t feel like it.

I applied that same principle to my creative writing as well, and it’s really helped me. If I have a deadline for something, I know I can complete it within the time frame. Each day, I stuck to writing 1,000 words, no matter how I felt. Of course, going back through the editing process, you can see the days when you weren’t feeling it (Sometimes you have an overwhelming "What the hell was I thinking? moment), but that’s what the editing process if for. The first step is just to get the words down.

I only learned this recently however. My upcoming paranormal romance book, Drowning in the Dark (Got my title picked out!), is the fourth book that I started writing. I had tried to write three other books before this one, and I never got past 15,000 words because I’d get stuck and loose enthusiasm for the story. And soon I’d loose complete interest, and abandon it because I couldn’t get past those gray days.

So finishing and publishing this book is a really big step for me (I guess that’s a stupid thing to say – it’s a big step for every first-time author.) But I’m really excited about it. Even if the book doesn’t do well right away, the fact that I actually finished it and put it out there is good enough for me. (At least for now J ) Now that I’ve done it, I know that I’ll be able to again and again in the future. And that right there is pretty cool.

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