I have a lot of flaws as a writer. I don’t finish what I start. I read really slow. I think too much about style, rather than substance. And yes…I get lazy.
I’m far from a perfect writer. But there is one thing I do know. I know how to change it.
Ever since I graduated from University last year, I’ve made writing a part of me full time. I’ve continued to ask myself: Who am I as a writer? What do I want to say? And even, how do I help others create theirs?
Right now, I only have a few answers. But I’ve stumbled upon a secret. It’s what I keep in mind whenever I feel lazy or if I forget my writing goals. Here goes:
I’ve decided to pursue this, with all of your heart, until I die. I know that sounds morbid. But it works. That’s the secret.
In order to be good at anything, it can’t just be a simple choice. It needs to be a realised purpose. No back-up plans. No ifs or maybes. It needs to be a full throttle, 100% realised part of your psyche. You need to BULLY yourself into doing what you set your MIND TO.
It has pushed me to change my ways, step by step, day by day.
As soon as you pursue something with all of your life-giving passion, you start to do it even when you are not doing it. In the coffee shop. Whilst you’re at your desk. Or even in the toilet. I get my best ideas in the toilet!
Every moment then becomes an opportunity to become better. And you know what? You will suddenly realise that you are becoming better without doing anything at all.
So here are 3 steps that I try to keep in mind wherever I go. I keep it pasted to my wall as I write.
1) Study your work:
Understand what you do. Why you do it. Study the look of the page, the words you use and the message you are trying to get across. Just study it. No changes yet. Know your style.
2) Critique your work
Here’s the hard part. You don’t need to write like everybody else – but you must still follow the basic rules that everyone else is playing by. Even if you are the most naturally gifted pro footballer in the world, there’s no point, if you decide to kick the ball into the stands rather than the goal. So compare your writing to top writers in your field. How does your page look compared to theirs? It only takes ONE PAGE to know if you are good. Is it good? Why not?
3) Reflect on your work
The most fun part. Read it and digest what you have written on an emotional level. Would you buy it? Does it do everything you set out to do – the suspense, the story, the characters, the world. Do you feel that you have grown with this piece of work?
Not everything you write has to be gold. It doesn’t have to become a bestselling book or an award winning piece of fiction. But if it is good – pat yourself on the back! Well done! Go out and bloody treat yourself.
Write because you want to become better. Because you love it. Because there’s nothing else you’d rather do for the rest of your life.
I hope it helps you as much as it has helped me. Do tell me your thoughts!