The world of writing is a complex and caveat riddled landscape, and although there is much to do once you've written the manuscript, today we'll briefly cover some things that worked for me while I was trying to get much work up to standard.
To say I spent a lot of time working on An Obsidian Sky would be an understatement, although it may surprise you to hear that most of the resources went towards learning and perfecting my craft. Along the way, I have discovered pieces of wisdom that I'm happy to share, and I'll go into detail about what I learned in this post.
Sit at your desk, and write.
Some days you'll be working on your manuscript and the words and ideas will flow out of your mind and onto the page without any effort. Other days, you'll be fighting against yourself to stay focused amidst a sea of distractions and intrusive thoughts. On these challenging days, you may say to yourself that you're not ready to start, or it's too much work and you’re not up for such a mammoth task.
On the tough days, even if your progress is slow, if you do decide to stick with it you'll look back on it and be glad that you forced yourself to work. Even if you learned a thing or two, or got a few pages done, it's a net win. You won't be able to get everything done in a single writing session, but if writing is your goal, then any work towards learning or developmental work is progress. But you need some building blocks to start with, and if you delay the challenging days you're only putting yourself further away from your goal.
You could spend the day researching story content, finding out what to do once you've published your work, or anything in between, but it's critical to win the battle with your neuroses and make sure you sit and work, even if that means struggling with your inner doubts and nay-saying.
Give yourself time to learn, and lean on your family and friends for help.
The chances of you finishing your manuscript and looking back on it without finding any faults are impossible, and that's a good thing. If you were to do so, the chances of learning would be slim, and you want to get your skills and work ethic as great as they can possibly be out of your first experience.
Once you're completely satisfied with what you've produced, spread a chapter or two around to your friends and family, and ask for feedback on how it all fits together. Spelling and grammar is one thing, but if there are any fatal flaws in your style this is the time to help construct it into something solid. Things like overused words, pacing issues and confusing sentences are easy wins to learn about. Every author will have their own strengths and weaknesses, and this process will give some easy insights into yours.
When you ask for feedback, be humble.
It's a precarious thing to speak to someone about their work. If you have someone close to you who's willing to read your novel in progress, and provide feedback, then this is a precious channel for improvement, and you should keep a few things in mind when discussing this.
Take what the person is sharing internally, and jot it down for review later. Don't interrupt them, and don't try to change their mind about what they're sharing with you. It takes courage to be honest, and you need to be careful not to taint this unique method of learning. After all, do you really want them to hold back when they're sharing their feelings with you?
One other thing to remember is that your opinion counts too. If someone says they don't like a section, but you feel differently, it's okay to want to retain it if you have a good reason. However, If multiple people bring up the same concept, then it might be worth revisiting.
Persistence is paramount.
At the end of the day, you want to make sure that you spend time on simply being a writer. You can set your own hours and schedule, but the more you put in now, the more you'll get out of it later. To hear your friends and family talk about your story is one of the best feelings out there for an entertainer, which let's be honest, is what you're trying to ultimately do.
Every day you procrastinate puts the day of completion further away, so get stuck into it as soon as you can, and know that there’ll be good days and bad days. It’ll teach you about yourself; It’ll help you learn what to look for when crafting a story or a character, and the process will shed light on which areas you struggle with. There’s a community of people waiting to help answer your questions and build from your weaknesses, and the amount of videos and blogs on the internet is staggering. All you need to do is seek it out!
There are countless more tips and tricks out there for new writers, and I'll no doubt revisit this subject down the line to get into more insights I've learned along the way. If you have any thoughts or wish to check out my own novels, please feel free to navigate around my website.
Thank you, as always, for your precious time.