Thursday, February 21, 2013

Laura Carlson on Writing a Book Part II of III - Reasons We Avoid Writing

Welcome back!!

Grab some refreshments and pull up a chair!  Laura Carlson is back to talk about tackling the obstacles in the way of us and our books. You'll have to hush for this one... please... 'Cause this is where I'm stuck. If you missed yesterday's post on You Have a Story, you really must check it out. (There are cookies.)

Reasons We Avoid Writing

Yes, that’s right. You are avoiding writing. Many of you are fairly aware of this, but you tell yourself you are not avoiding it indefinitely. You’ll pick up writing once you get a little extra free time.

(Yep. I do that. Oh, sorry... sh...)

It’s amazing how well we lie to ourselves. If you are telling yourself this lie, then you need to sit up a little straighter and listen to what I am about to say. No one ever wrote a book with this attitude. No one.

I’ll Write When I Have More Free Time

Our lives are never going to get less busy. There will always be something that demands our attention. Further, “free time” is not an absolute measurement; it’s not like you either have it or you don’t (despite popular opinion). Instead, it—like most things—is a sliding scale, a matter of degree. The truth is that if you are not writing during the free time you currently have, then you will not write when you get more free time. Period.

I’ll Begin Tomorrow

The content of this lie is very similar to lying about free time. There are an infinite number of tomorrows to promise yourself. There are also an infinite number of todays. Try promising yourself that instead. My guess is that you’ll be more productive with that promise.

I’m Not a Good Writer

For those who have not written a book because they believe they are not good writers, here’s a little secret that published writers won’t admit: most people begin their writing career as terrible writers. Why? Because writing a book is not something we’re taught in school. Writers have to educate themselves through experience. That means writing a really crappy first draft.

Let me tell you another secret: you are already a better writer than most people who sit down and write their first draft without this worry. Why? Writers who are aware their writing needs work are more open to constructive feedback. You will not believe the sheer number of writers who come to me, talking about how amazing their book is. Many times these books are worse than those who willingly admit they need help. This is because writers who do not have times of self-doubt are also extremely unresponsive to outside feedback.

Obviously there is a huge drawback to believing you are not a good writer: you are so scared of writing rubbish that you never try. Accept that your first draft will be awful—my first drafts always are, and I work with words for a living. Take that first huge leap and write your idea down; you can worry about cleaning it up later.

Ok... pass around the refreshments. I just... I'm too nervous to discuss this. Someone else start.

About Me
Laura Carlson, Editor
American Editing Services

Laura Carlson is founder and editor of American Editing Services, an editing business based out of Santa Barbara, California.

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