5 Things to Consider When Writing Your Masterpiece

FrontCover_finalWriting a book is hard. Pretty much anyone who’s ever tried can attest to that. You spend ages coming up with a plot, an angle, characters, and then you have to make them all fit together like a puzzle, only the pictures don’t match and the shapes are all chewed up and the wrong size.

It’s complicated.

Then on top of all that there are all these other things to consider, things you might not have realized were actually even things. It’s no wonder life as a writer can sometimes feel overwhelming.

Below is a list of things I wish I knew back when I first started out.

Have a read—it might just spare you some headaches later on down the road.

  1. Time Scale

Be prepared for your book to take a lot longer you initially anticipate. A lot of new authors hold the misconception that you finish the first draft and then… that’s it. Voila! Job done. Now where’s that champagne?

If only.

It’s an easy mistake to make if you’re new to the game, but a potentially fatal one. During the year it took me to write Dan and Frankie Save the World, only about the first three months were dedicated to completing the first draft. The rest were, the second, third—all the way up to the seventh—drafts. And then there’s the beta reading, editing, proof-reading etc. It’s endless.

If you’re writing to a deadline, you’ll want to plan out as much of what you intend to do and when beforehand. And if you aren’t, it’s still something worth keeping in mind.

  1. Criticism

People will hate your book.

No, they will. Trust me. Even if you were to go out and write the best darn book anybody’s ever written, there would still be somebody out there that hates it. You simply can’t please everybody.

And it will sting. Bad. Like that UTI you got that one time. Remember that? Yeah. Like that.

For new authors it can be demoralizing to have somebody you’ve never met verbally beat your baby to death. Maybe a beta reader, or workshop partner. But here’s where a little perspective is key—if Stephen King, who has often times been heralded as the Charles Dickens of our generation, can’t escape criticism, why should you?

Embrace the criticism. Learn to accept it for what it is.

Even if it does occasionally feel like you’re pissing razorblades…

  1. Why?

Why are you writing this book? Who is it for? Are you writing it simply as a means to get rich and famous, because you read somewhere online that authors get paid ludicrous amounts of money to spit words onto paper?

Whilst it’s true that there are authors out there absolutely rolling in it, that’s hardly the status quo. Most authors will never see a six-figure salary—or even a five-figure, for that matter. And that’s okay. It shouldn’t all be about the money.

But writing a book requires a lot of investment in time and mental energy. You have to write it for the right reasons, otherwise you’ll quickly become disheartened and give up. And whenever a book dies before it has a chance to be born, that’s tragic.

Be practical.

And be honest. 

  1. There Will Be Blood…

Nobody has ever written a book and thought “Wow, that was easy!” That shit’s tough. Labour, tough. Like squeezing a bowling ball through your hoo-ha. Okay, maybe not that tough. Sorry, ladies—but it’s still hard.

A lot of times you’ll sit down before the computer and it will be just the absolute last thing in the world you’ll want to do. You’ll rather crawl across hot coals in nothing but your birthday suit than write. And that’s fine. We’re still human, and sometimes other things take precedent. Totally normal.

—KEEP WRITING—

Even if you don’t feel like it, and yeah but the X-factor’s on and oh I should really take the goldfish for a walk now and hey look is that a kitty?

Stop. You can always go back and revise a day’s sloppy writing. You can’t, however, revise a blank page.

Set a goal—a thousand words a day, for example—and stick to it.

Rinse and repeat.

That’s how books are written.

  1. Enjoy Yourself

Look, you’re human. You have down days. Maybe the plot is just not working for you today, or your characters all seem like pretentious, whiny assholes. It’s normal to at some point or another feel like you should just give up and go get a ‘normal’ job. Whatever that means.

But writing’s supposed to be fun—and it should be. You have the greatest job in the world. You’re God. You get to make wonderful things happen and/or kill whomever you like at will, with no repercussions whatsoever. What other job grants you that kind of power, hmm? Right. Exactly.

So remember—it’s okay to bleed for your craft.

Just so long as you remember to have fun, too.

 

—Rich.

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