by - Deeba Salim Irfan * 20 March 2017
As an aspiring author, you will have some good days, some bad and some very bad days. It does not end there. At the risk of scaring you, let me warn you, you may even have some suicidal days (feel lucky if you never have!) But far in between you will have those few euphoric days when you think you can conquer the world. These are the days, the rewarded moments that keeps a writer going on the path of becoming a published author.
These treasured moments are those days when you feel, your manuscript will turn into a published novel and into a blockbuster movie. That your work will indeed be recognised the way you envisage!
Problem is, these days are very few and far in between!
So what should you do? Many writers tend to believe that writing is not their cup of tea and give up easily. But before you tear all your incomplete and stowed away manuscripts and throw your laptop as well, ponder on my five points, you may already know these, but at times, it is important to remind yourself again:
1. You Are Not Alone:
Every writer at some point or the other feels sick to their stomach and want to throw it all away. It is natural. Writing is not a profession or a hobby that would let you see the results overnight. They say, you start writing only after you have written your first million words. That would mean over 10 - 12 full-length novels. So just snap out of any other ideas you have and put down your head and glue your butt to your chair and keep writing.
2. You Need To Find Your Tribe:
You as an aspiring author need to find your tribe! This is a time-consuming exercise. And quite difficult for some because if you are a typical writer, you do not have the time nor the inclination to dive deep into social media. After all you are busy with characters in your head eating up all your free time anyway. But never mind, you can always take help of specialists like social media agencies to help you connect with the right audience and you build it at your pace.
Till you find your tribe who will give you the adrenaline boost you need to keep writing, you need to find someone else to keep you going.
3. Your Honest Writing Buddies:
This is your next step. Till you find your tribe, don’t leave the side of those friends who are your true critics, who have the guts to say the worst things to your face and who pull you through your worst times - your writing buddies - who believe in you and in your work! Who listen to your story ideas, brainstorm with you and see the possibilities in concepts that may seem far-fetched even for you at times.
Those few, who put the propellers under your drooping wings and push you, if need be, kick you to your goal!
Trust me, we all need such people in our writing life because, let's face it, it is depressing and lonely at times, especially when you get one of those rejection letters! But one rejection or for that matter, even 20 rejection letters, is not the end of your writing career. End of your writing career is only when you stop writing.
I understand writing 50,000 to 80,000 words is not a piece of cake. It needs serious determination and hard work!
It's like going on a long road trip alone! Excited at the beginning but after you cross the scenic patch and are out in the barren desert with a straight road for over five hundred kilometers with nothing on either side except dunes, trust me, you will have moments you want to throw it all up! You will have writer's block too, but it is important to keep at it!
Once you reach the destination, you will see how relaxing and fulfilling it is!
4. Take A Break From Writing And Read:
Take a short break of a day or two or at the most a week. Don’t think about writing. Just read what you fancy. When you read your favourite authors, if you are a writer, you will have new stories cropping up in your head, characters taking birth, taking shape! Don't suffocate them to death let them breathe. Let them take shape! And then get back to your own writing!
5. Self Doubt - A Writer’s Prerogative:
Self-doubt is natural at least in your initial years till you have sold your first manuscript, till an agent represents you. Till you have fan mail pouring in. Till then, it’s natural to have bouts of self-doubt too. You are a creative person, your mind works differently, you are more sensitive to what you see. You absorb more, you imagine more, so you can doubt more as well. As a writer, you have a right to have self-doubt at times, but as soon as you start having self-doubt, talk to your friends who can lift you up and show you the way. Talk to yourself in the mirror and give self-suggestions. It is extremely effective. Tell yourself, there is no reason to doubt your ability. You have an imaginative mind that many do not have. That itself makes you special. You have in your possession a special wand - use it well.
If you are a writer, an aspiring author, do remember, we need you to write more!
This world needs good stories. Fresh perspectives. Because good stories, like medicines, have a healing power too!
Remember, a successful author is the one who kept going in spite of all those feelings of dread and self-doubt but continued to labour till he converts his manuscript into a published novel.
Take rest, if you must, but never give up!
Deeba Salim Irfan - Founder of TheWriteScene.com, a portal for aspiring writers.