Tips · Writing

The Awkward Truth of Being A Writer #4

Not everyone is going to understand your work. I can’t count how many times I’ve read a review and thought – That’s not what it means, at all! The problem is that what you know and what your readers read in your story are often a different thing. So, although you know what something means, unless you spell it out in plain ink, you might not always articulate it well enough for your readers to see that same meaning. Because, if we already know it, it’s perfectly possible that we don’t make it obvious for our readers, either. Either way, we can’t force anyone to see our way. Which is why I keep saying that any author who begins publishing has to decide how they’re going to treat their reviews – read them or not. But if you do, be prepared to read things you don’t want to see and never, whatever you do, be tempted to reply.

Days bleed into each other. It’s inevitable, when you write for a living. Unless you have a day job that is varied every single day, by environment and people, you’re going to find that even your writing feels a little like reliving each day over and over again. As someone who doesn’t work, due to health, I find that happens a lot. I check my e-mails and social media sites first thing, which takes about an hour, depending on how hectic things have been and if I’ve got a new release or review to promote. Then I start work – this can either be reading a book to review, reading one of my books to mark highlights and notes for editing, or writing a current WIP. This takes all day. I stop for lunch, get back to work, then stop for dinner and don’t go back to work after that, unless I’m really hard pressed by a deadline. And that’s my day. Every day.

You get your best ideas when you’re doing something else. Watching a film? Reading a book? Listening to music? You’ll get a rocking idea, then sit at the laptop and try to write it out and…silence. Nothing. That brilliant idea exists only in the form of a one sentence plot. No matter how hard you try, you can’t for the life of you fathom out how to make it into a real story, to give it depth, characters and…most importantly…words!

You’ll be riding the high of a new book that’s just got a lot of great reviews or buys on release and feel boosted. You’ll go back to an old idea that’s probably been sitting there for years. You read it, thinking “Hmm, this has potential, this could be incredible! But it needs some small editing.” You start editing, all enthusiastic and thrilled to have found this hidden gem in your arsenal, all forgot and alone in our archives. Then you slowly begin to realise…you cut this paragraph and used it in another story…this chapter was “borrowed” to boost another book…this conversation was loaned to another story. And suddenly you realise that this story with incredible potential has been looted like an electronics store in a blackout. What is left is just a shell that doesn’t mean anything with those inspired, incredible pieces that you pulled out and used elsewhere. But, hey, they improved and helped other books, so bonus, right? No. Eventually, yes. But, at first, you cry, you smash things, you get so mad at yourself for not seeing what was there in the first place. And just why did you have to destroy it? Why did that other story need the boost? Oh, wait…that other story that got the boost became a bestseller/popular with readers and one of your best selling books so far. So..yeah, eventually it works out. But in that moment in between…darkness. So much darkness.


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