60 Postcards: Create. Share. Inspire. Bringing you news every Tuesday on the ongoing 60 Postcards journey (you can read a summary of the story here), and on Friday I share a story of an inspirational person, project or cause.
The process of writing is not an easy one. Oh my – not at all.
I thought it would be fun to publish a post sharing a list of things I have noticed along the way that I am sure any writer will understand.
Many of these points are linked to my blogging and book writing but everyone reading this will be able to relate to some of my ramblings below. It could be through writing essays or dissertations, important work emails or documents – any piece of text that will be viewed by other folk.
1. (I can’t get no) satisfaction
‘It is just not good enough’, we say. No matter how long or how hard we work on something, we are continually our own worst critics. Striving for perfection can be a curse. I mean, they say nothing is perfect, right? But we just can’t help wondering if we could have done it better. Hmph.
2. Caffeine hit
I have been addicted to coffee for years but I have found that writing really does seem to come hand-in-hand with a caffeine kick. You are left a buzzing mess with your hands shaking as you type away. It is just what we do. (Another cappuccino, please?….)
Everyone (I hope) will all appreciate this one! Do you ever find yourself stewing over the spelling of the most obvious word? Oh, that moment when you type a (very simple) word and the naughty red line appears below it. ‘I really should know this’, I mutter under my breath. Thank the lord for spellcheck.
4. Keeping it ‘raw’
I use the word ‘raw’ when talking about my blog. 70% of that is because I mean that it is honest and straight from the heart. The other 30% is to allow a little room for error on the grammar front. Hey – we are all human.
We have over a million words to choose from in the English language so it should be a pretty easy task to avoid repetition. I can’t lie to you, though – I have been known to turn to an online thesaurus for a little assistance. Ooopsy.
6. Time flies when you are….writing
Seriously, the last time I checked it was 2pm. How is it 11,30pm? Enough said.
7. Sleepless nights
When you are on a roll, it can relate to the point above. Before you know it, it’s 4am but feels as though the night is just beginning. They say that we need eight hours of sleep per evening. Tell a writer that and I am sure they have a different story!
8. Break time
Taking a break is absolutely crucial to your writing process. Those breaks are taken with such good intent but the words still seem to be whirling around your mind non-stop.
9. Fresh eyes
If you take a step back and look at a piece of writing you have been milling over for days, you see it in a totally different way and things really start falling together. I didn’t want to believe this one until I tried it out for myself.
10. What did I say?
Oh man – this is a frustrating one. Sometimes you have the perfect sentence, phrase or quote in your head but you just cannot remember it word for word. Extremely annoying.
11. In the zone
When you get in the zone and it seems that nothing can stop you, it reminds you of when you can drive a car from A to B without knowing it. How did that happen? It just does.
12. Mind clutter
Too many ideas, all in one place. This can be dangerous – break time required (as above).
This is when you write something that seems slightly familiar. Uh oh – were these my own thoughts or someone else’s? Research to be done.
14. The Block
Writer’s block, sure. Ironically, it has been written about so many times. We have all been there – even in something as short as a text message!
15. Once upon a time
People may assume that when writing, you start at the beginning. I wrote my book in a very sporadic way – I thought about the final words and would then find myself jumping to the third chapter all on one day. There is no set way.
16. Analogy overkill
When your mind is a creative one, you can find yourself so deep into an analogy that you are not even sure what you really mean. Say what?
17. Outside the box
In order to stand out as a writer you need to find a niche and to think outside of the box. But when thinking too hard, that box can really be a barrier – it needs to come naturally. Easier said than done.
18. Neutral view
We all have our best friends but the very best opinion that you can get on your writing will be from someone who doesn’t know you at all. Brutal as it may be, it is necessary.
19. Deadlines Dreadlines
Deadlines are a positive thing, for the obvious reason of having a goal to aim for. Deadlines do sometimes cause mild panic attacks though, when you are walking down Upper Street in Angel and crouching on the ground in fear. (Ok – that one might just be me!)
20. The wait
When you hit send to that email, draft or piece of work, you pretend to put it to the back of your mind. As hard as you try it is almost a guarantee that you will think about little else until you get a response.
No matter what you have written, there is no way that you can please every single person that reads it. You need to learn to deal with that and move on very swiftly.
22. Split reaction
‘What do you do?’, people ask. When you explain that you are a writer I have found that you get two kinds of responses: ‘Wow that is cool!’ or, ‘Oh – that is a tough industry to be in’. Cheers mate.
23. Great Expectations
This one is for those in the world of words. People seem to assume that you will be able to immediately come up with a phrase for them, or worse still – a spelling. No, just no. (Please see earlier spellcheck comment – I was never entered into a god darn spelling bee for a very good reason!)
A glaringly obvious point it may seem, but if you are passionate about writing, all of the above points seem to fade away quite easily. Loving what you do is a wonderful thing.
No matter what you write, there is no better feeling than even just one person in the world appreciating what you have published. Lovely.
Next post will be out on Friday!
Enjoy the rest of your week,
P.S I had to look up how to spell plagiarism.
P.P.S This blog post is very raw.