Category Archives: encouragement

Hitting the Wall

It’s funny, I remember a time when I thought that I’d eventually get to the point that I didn’t hit the wall anymore.  I thought that becoming a writer meant that I wouldn’t find myself at those points where motivation is lacking, and inspiration is dry, and I sit in front of my computer, trying desperately not to check facebook for the dozenth time, trying not to let myself get distracted.  Trying not to fall flat on my face.

But that doesn’t happen.  The bad days keep happening, the hard times keep rolling in.  The thing that is changing is me.  Not a lot.  I’m still weak willed and prone to let myself wander, but I’m becoming more familiar with my weaknesses.  I’m getting knocked down just as often, but I’m getting better at standing back up.  I think.  Maybe.

Book three is dragging a bit.  I’m well into it, I’d say two thirds to three quarters of the way through the first draft, but I’m having a hard time making myself keep at it.  It feels like it doesn’t matter.  But I’ve felt this way before.  And I know that I’ll feel this way again.

But I also know that I’ll get through it again.

Sorry, I know this isn’t a particularly interesting post, but it’s important to me.  It’s like those epic quest stories you read: the focus is on the battles and great escapes, but I think that every once in a while they should give you a glimpse of the days and weeks of slogging through rough terrain, massaging blistered feet and trying to clean yourself off with the dribble of water from a creek.

Becoming a good writer

I’ve had a couple of conversations with friends recently that all went kind of similarly.  Basically, when I start talking to them about writing they’ll tell me that they would love to write, and they have some great ideas that they really want to get down, but they just don’t have any talent for it.

It brought to mind a quote on writing that I’ve seen a couple of times over the years.  I can’t remember how it went exactly or who said it, but it was something along the lines of ‘the first few years of writing there’s a disparity between your tastes and your output.  You know what good writing is, but you can’t seem to produce it.’

I think it’s important for people who start out writing, or who start out doing any kind of artistic endeavor, to keep this in mind.  A lot of people, in my experience, allow themselves to become discouraged early on and quit something that they enjoy doing just because they aren’t good at it.  But the things, nobody is really ‘good’ when they start.  some may be better than others, but nobody is actually good.

If you want to become a good writer, or a good painter, or a good musician, you have to be willing to be a bad writer, or painter, or musician first.  Whatever your goal, you have to be willing to be awful for a while, until your skill catches up with your taste.

That is not to say that if you do anything long enough you’ll become amazing at it, I can’t guarantee amazing, and god only knows what it takes to become successful, but I do know that it takes time to get good, and you have to be willing to invest that.