If you’re a writer, you know it isn’t all play and sunshine, you know that following your dream is not always easy and that your efforts are rarely recognized for what they are.
Those nearest and dearest to you know that you are aiming high, but fail to grasp the sheer size of the journey. Sometimes it seems they are not with you at all.
A massive amount goes into writing a book. It’s not enough just to come up with a plot and characters enough to fill it. There’s an huge amount of understanding necessary for each character and research to do on every angle and profession. Your plot, your characters and their actions must be based in truth for them to come across as realistic and believable.
You have to understand the human animal too, and not just from your own perspective. You have to be in the heads of everybody you write about, villain and hero alike. You have to understand psychology and (depending on the nature of your villain) criminal psychology as well. You have to “be” the police officer, the psychopath, the thief and the victim. You have to understand immense fear or immense loss. Gain too – joy, excitement and love so grand your heart wants to burst. You have to understand adventure and the thrill of danger.
But that’s only part of it. You not only must put that all together and make a story out of it but put it together in such a way that it sings and shines and sweeps your readers up into a world that makes them forget all else, even if just for a time.
So, a very important part of being a writer is learning to be artistic with your words, with pacing and the weave of your story. You want to build pictures in the minds of your readers so that they easily and effortlessly fall under your spell and see what you see and live where you live in the finished result. You not only want to lure them into the world your have crafted, you want them to want to stay there. That’s important! Anyone can put a book down, you want them not to want to put your book down!
Understandably, that mastery over the translation of your mind’s landscape and adventures into words and images your readers can enjoy is the biggest and most important part of your craft.
On top of that, you must manage the work that goes into it. You must work it all out, write it, read it, edit it and rewrite it – again and again and again, likely as not, years of doing so – all without losing hope. Then comes publishing it and promoting it, which is a whole new world again.
Many of those around you don’t see any of that or, if they glimpse it, readily forget that this is your life, that you live like this every day. They don’t know. They live their own lives, do their own thing, whatever it is, and sometimes make the mistake of comparing their prizes to yours.
“Not earning yet? [Sympathetic smile] Failure, right? Not published yet? But you said you wanted to be a writer a year ago! What happened? Not even finished yet? Oh my! Maybe you don’t have what it takes. Maybe you should put this writing nonsense aside and, you know, do something worthwhile with your time.”
Don’t take it to heart. A person who hasn’t tried to write a book has no idea what goes into it. They have no idea just what it takes or how much personal time and effort is invested quietly and painstakingly, all the while without pay and unrecognized.
True, it might be years before it “pays off”. Meanwhile you are gaining the skillset you need to really fly, and fly you will because every day you are honing your craft and sharpening your skills.
If you find it hard sometimes, find other writers to talk to. I know most of us are hermits and the thought of “meeting” anybody is sometimes scary, and here the Internet works well. There’s no “invasion” when you chat to someone on the Internet. Bottom line is, only writers really understand writers and chatting with someone with the same dreams and goals and talents helps you to know you are not alone and, more importantly, that you are not “failing” or “not good enough”.
I’m feeling good at the moment and things are going well, but I still got a tremendous boost from chatting with my good friend and fellow writer, Candice Coates, an upbeat lady with a heart of gold who runs a blog called I Came for the Soup. In fact, I felt inspired to write this post to encourage anyone who feels alone in their efforts to find and form bonds with like-minded people. It really helps.
Writing is a process. It’s a long journey. If you’ve come this far in your personal journey and you know exactly what I’m talking about, you’re already dedicated to your craft, you’re already at least halfway home. You’re a writer! And you’re not alone.
Cheers everyone! 😀