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Guest Post: Why Writers Give Up on Their Novels


“Wow, it’s been a long time since we’ve heard from her,” you say. 

Yes, I heard that. And, yes, it has been a long time indeed. Yes, yes, I missed you too, believe me. Unfortunately, I can’t say I’m back for good. If you’ve read my previous post, you’d know that I intend to start a new blog on a website independent of WordPress for reasons I mentioned before. Until then, however, please be patient; know that I am working on some amazing things– fingers crossed; and enjoy this informative guest post by Patrick M. Greene. 

1More and more people try to become writers and create their own book nowadays. Singers, politics, dancers and average citizens have a strong desire to add their names to the history of literature and that is why they produce tons of papers which have no use and value (quite often) and reach no success. In some cases, these people give up soon after starting their novels. Sure, this is not a great loss for literature and readers. However, it sometimes happens with young but talented authors who can bring some new trends and ideas into belles-lettres. It is a pity because public loses a great chance to read a masterpiece and maybe become witnesses of a birth of a new bestsellers’ writer. Thus, everyone is interested why these well-skilled authors give up quickly and cannot finish their novels. Sometimes even famous, well-known writers become the victims of this issue. They simply stop working in the middle of a book and may even feel depressed because of it. Why does it happen?

No Inspiration

For people who are far from writing and have never tried it, the lack of inspiration seems to be a minor problem. However, it is impossible to produce something wonderful without this abstract thing. No one knows exactly how to get it and not to lose it in the process of work. Why? The ways of getting it are different for everyone and there is no common scheme. Sure, you can write a book without inspiration but it will be banal and probably have low quality. Thus, it is better not to create such a terrible novel at all. Your task is renewing your energy and finding your personal and effective way of getting inspiration. It may be anything you like from visiting museums to listening classic music. The main point is that these things should influence you and propel you to continue writing.

The Lack of Motivation

Sometimes a person cannot see through hard times because he or she has no reason to continue working. You have probably had a kind of encouragement at the beginning of your writing. However, it could be easily depleted soon after the start. There are lots of conditions which influence your personality and make your earlier goals look minor and useless. As a result, a young author is not motivated to continue creating his novel and decide to give up. In some cases, the problem is the absence of a certain great target. For example, it can be winning a certain award after publishing this book or selling a record amount of its copies.

Bad Time Management

It happens that young writers cannot finish their novels because of the lack of time. It seems to be a banal reason but it is widespread. Usually, they have bad time management skills and simply do not dedicate enough hours to creation of a book. It is not enough to do this activity only 20 minutes per day. In such a way, you will quickly lose motivation and become discouraged. Moreover, it is very important to organize the daily schedule correctly in case you have a full-time job and writing is just a hobby. Remember that the longer you postpone the process of writing, the less motivation you will have. As a result, the lack of time is one of the most common reasons why people do not finish their books. At first, they find excuses and then simply cannot urge themselves to do anything to complete this work.

Disappointment

It is true that young writers often encounter huge disappointment while creating their first novel. They might expect that it is a quick and effortless activity and they will produce a perfect manuscript after one attempt. However, things are not that easy as a rule. Sometimes, people who review the work of such an author may leave some negative remarks and criticize this paper. Sure, it often has a great influence on young writers and can even make them quit literary efforts. On the other hand, they can decide not to complete a novel after bad comments about it in someone’s revision of the first variant of a manuscript. In some cases, writers do not appreciate enough the part of a book which they have already done. As a result, they are disappointed and think that there is no reason to continue this work.

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Underestimating Yourself

It is true that many young people who try themselves in belles-lettres very quickly start underestimating their own skills and talents. This is a typical problem of authors who have never published their books and do not know on which public’s reaction they have to expect. As a result, they find themselves worse than others and are too shy to present their works to the readers. It may become the reason why these writers give up their novels in the middle. Sure, it is very unpleasant as in the most cases these talented people simply need more self-confidence and courage to publish their books.

How to Make Yourself Continue Writing?

The next question which appears is how to urge yourself to continue writing and do not give up in the middle of your way. Sure, it is not easy but it is possible to do for everyone. Keep in mind that a writer’s career is full of challenges from the lack of inspiration to angry publishers who refuse to release your books. You have to be ready to these issues and do not become depressed after several minor problems. This is the only right way to fame.

Be Disciplined

Probably the first thing you have to learn is how to stay always disciplined, especially if you decide to build a writer’s career and have no full-time job. It means that your income depends on how quick and effective your write. Discipline is an essential thing for being productive and release texts regularly to satisfy your publisher and meet deadlines. How to cope with this? Set a certain schedule and decide how many pages you have to write per day. Keep in mind that you cannot break these limits in any case. After several weeks, you will develop a habit and there will be no need to urge yourself for writing.

Break Your Outline

Of course, without any doubts, it is important to have a certain plan of writing and the majority will advise you not to break it in any case. However, it is necessary sometimes if you feel that your plot is in the dead-end and make you get bored. Thus, you can completely change your story. Such unexpected things may encourage you and greatly improve your productivity as it is much more interesting to improvise while developing your story. You can be sure that readers will be amazed because of such turns of a plot.

Read Something

It is a pretty good idea to read some novels of the same genre with your book in case you feel the lack of inspiration. Such stories can make you write better and bring you some new ideas. Sure, you should not plagiarize any elements of these books. However, reading some classical novels may improve your knowledge of a genre at all and make your work easier. For example, if you think that you break some requirements of style, you have to make sure that everything is normal and reread its examples once more.

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Take a Break

It is important to take a break if you want to give up and quit writing at all. Maybe, it happens because you are under stress or too many emotions are accumulated inside you. Thus, you have to rest as much as you need. There is no wonder why some writers become depressed. They write during days and nights and have no relaxation at all. Sure, it negatively affects your mental and physical heath. As a result, a person may even start feeling ill, have headaches and lose motivation to do anything. It is vital to protect yourself from tiredness and remember about breaks in work.

Set Small Goals

It is a pretty good way to motivate yourself for writing day by day. For example, you may decide to write 50 pages per week. After achieving this target, you can reward yourself with something pleasant: even a delicious ice cream may encourage you for better work. The common mistake is setting too big and far goals which demand a lot of time to reach. In such a case, you can lose your desire to write very quickly as there are no clear aims.

To sum up, there are lots of reasons why really talented young writers give up writing and decide to pick another activity to do. They simply cannot cope with all the challenges which this career has. Unfortunately, no one is guaranteed to be successful after publishing his first novel. Moreover, many famous authors who are appreciated by everyone nowadays have been poorly read and had no positive revisions on their books. It is a part of writer’s life, and you have to be ready for this in case you choose this kind of job. Sure, it is possible to create something after your full-time work. However, it means you will always suffer from the lack of time on this hobby and probably reach no good results. Anyway, it is worth trying, and the fame of bestseller’s author is really attractive.

 

Author Bio

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Patrick works as a contributor at EssayTwist. He is a former editor of a small town newspaper publishing. He is an avid fan of social media, and runs his own page for writing enthusiasts for his college. With the rising clamor for healthy living, Patrick immersed himself with water sports.

 

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This Time-Management Tip Will Help You Get Things Done


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Source: This Time-Management Tip Will Help You Get Things Done

The Best Thing That Happened to Me as a Writer


After I finished writing my latest novel, I went through a dry spell. The novel I worked on was an emotionally and physically draining project that I have worked on relentlessly for most of 2015. Unfortunately, however, through that entire year, I wasn’t able to finish anything else—except for a screenplay that I co-wrote which is turning out to be a total waste of time but more on that later.

Things were changing. My living situation turned 180 degrees, my savings were running low, bills were piling up and I was unemployed. It’s safe to say, I had a lot to figure out and my writing had a setback.

For months, I looked for ways to make money. I modeled for the most part and I thought I could sustain that lifestyle of working a few days a month in a convention or something, making enough to get by, and writing the rest of the month. It was easier said than done, especially since I wasn’t signed up with an agency and had to look for gigs all on my own. So between searching, applying, going on castings and calls backs, and daily trips to the gym to make it all possible, I had the equivalent of a full-time job without even knowing it. So I decided to sign up with an agency, get employed and try to fit writing into my schedule somehow.

  

Finding the perfect job was a challenge on its own. Living in Vegas, the natural choice would’ve been for me to work as a cocktail waitress in one of the casinos or bars and since a good job in that industry would earn me a lot of money from tips. But that kind of job would demand a lot of time and physical effort, I doubted I would’ve been able to find the energy to make myself dinner by the time I got home let alone write—and I’m big on making my own dinners, by the way. 

It just so happened that my landlady had a friend who worked in the real estate business and they wanted an assistant. I applied and got the job. So now, for four hours a day, five days a week, I process mortgage loans. It’s a boring desk job that requires minimal thinking and offers an annoying boss that goes with it. And it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me as a writer and entrepreneur. 

  

Here’s why. First of all, being that I get off work around 2:00 p.m., I arrive back home at a reasonable hour. It’s crucial to remember that I don’t have a car and a trip that takes 10 minutes in Vegas, takes me at least an hour with the bus. Being home early gives me time to cook, unwind and work out. Since the winter timing, I don’t go to the gym anymore, but I do have time to do at least an hour of exercise daily at home. After that, I have the evening to edit, read and work on an entrepreneurial project which I’ll share with you in due time. Also, since my job isn’t very demanding to begin with, I sneak a little note-taking time during work when my boss is gone or not looking.

  
 

“So when do you write?” you ask. Well, in the morning, of course. My work starts at 10:00 a.m., so I wake up at 6, sometimes at 5, write till 8:30, grab a bite and leave my house by 9:15. It’s all planned to the minute. I recently finished a screenplay. By writing two and a half hours in the morning I averaged around 5 pages. Not bad, right? Also, I get weekends off. So if I’m not shooting a movie or commercial or working at some convention, I get a lot of writing done as well. 

  

Oh, and did I mention that I’m now a writing intern for Cliché Magazine? That’s right, I’m their new beauty writer. Add that to my list of tasks. Within a few month, I went from an unemployed girl who had all the time in the world and didn’t know what to do with it, to a girl with three careers, two jobs and a nascent business who is able to take care of all her responsibilities with a little organization and the sacrifice of a few hours of sleep. 

It was important for me, being newly-employed and all, not to get discouraged by the relatively slow progress I was making as a writer. Usually, I’m much more prolific. But I had to lower my expectations and put less pressure on myself given the little time I had to accomplish what I wanted.

Another reason why this job has made me a better writer and entrepreneur is because I hate that job so much. God, I hope my boss doesn’t see this; she’s already on the verge of firing me for being “unmotivated”. Yes me. But anyway, that job is boring, monotonous, mentally limiting and I can’t wait to quit. And this dire urge to quit has made me work harder on my writing and other dreams. 

  

So if you have a job that you hate, a passion that you’re hoping to turn into a career, and the will to put the effort to make it happen, all you have to do is find that small time slot every day, however short it is, and get yourself one step closer to where you want to be. How are you guys balancing writing with a job?

How I Wrote a Novel in Thirty Days


As I mentioned in earlier posts, I recently managed to write a novel in one month. To this day, it surprises me. Before that, it used to take me three to six months to write 50K words. The first draft of that novel was completed at 78K. Every night I would go to bed both satisfied and incredulous about the progress I was making. And now I want to share my process with you.

  1. The Story

Say what you will about prolific writers, but they can’t get anything done before they find their story. Here’s a little anecdote about mine. I was lying sleepless in bed at 2:00 a.m., I had finished writing a novel a few days before, and I was homesick and plunging into depression when a tiny idea for a twitter post came to mind. It was simple and funny and I was about to post it when another thought struck me: “What if this thing is worth money?”

So I started taking notes and, needless to say, I lost sleep over that idea. The next day, I wrote a bit about it thinking that it would be a nice short story. It proved to have more substance, and I thought that I could turn it into a short story collection. But once I hit 3,000 words and it seemed that the story was far from over, I realized that the short tale was bound to become a novel. And a couple of chapters later, the novel became a book series. Obviously, I was very excited about this, which brings me to the second point.

  1. The Passion

A few thousand words into the book, it became clear to me that the world I was creating was very similar to the one I lived in. The idea was so organic to me and it fed off of parts of my life I was afraid to talk about. Which reminds me, that was a time when I tried to write my memoir. Yeah, I don’t know if you remember me talking about those, but I failed to finish them. Too much pain. When I translated that pain into fiction, however, words flowed, worlds were created, and pain began to heal.

This book gave me a reason to wake up in the morning and kept me up at night. I had to stop myself from writing because I wanted to conserve my energy for the next day. There was a time when I finished my writing day when my main character was in an uncomfortable situation and spent the rest of my evening blaming myself for leaving him there. It was the most passionate I had ever been about anything. But passion alone is not enough.

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  1. The Commitment

Now we can start talking numbers. Once I realized that I was writing a novel, I noticed that I was writing a considerable number of words every day. I always thought that 2,000 words a day was ideal. But I noticed that I was writing much more. So I bumped my daily goal to 3,000. I wasn’t set out to finishing the book in one month. Honestly, I had skipped too many NaNoWriMo‘s because I didn’t want the pressure. Nevertheless, the prospect was exciting. So I made a schedule comfortable for me.

Everyday, I would wake up around 7:00 a.m., make coffee and start writing. I would get hungry around 9:00 and have breakfast then carry on with writing. By 12:00 a.m. most day, I had a 2,000 words written. I took a break for an hour or two, made lunch and sometimes extended my break for a few more hours to read or take notes. Then, I wrote some more until I reached 3,000 words. Then, I stopped.

On average, I was finishing a chapter every two or three days. I started on December 4th, and by January 4th, I was done. It was not easy, even though I make it sound such. But it made me happy which made it easier for me to commit. I had to give up a lot of things for the sake of finishing the project sooner. I stopped going to the gym for instance, I stopped watching TV because I had no more time, I even started reading less because by the time I was done writing I was too exhausted to do anything else. My schedule was brutal, and I managed to stick to it most days. But there were certain days when I wasn’t as lucky, which brings me to the next point.

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  1. The Break

One thing people forget to learn about commitment is learning when to stop. And I’m not just talking about breaks within the day. Yes, somewhere along the way, I had created for myself an invisible, nagging boss with a strict deadline. Yes, I was enjoying writing and the task was not arduous at all. Yes, after getting used to it, 3,000 words a day became normal to me. However, I had my days as well. I stayed at home for an entire month, hands on keyboard, eyes on screen, mind occupied with people and places. Albeit those places and people provided me with an escape and solace; sometimes, however, I needed my break from them too. So I took it.

On the days I felt I had no energy or desire to write, I didn’t. This may not sound like the best idea, but when I was averaging 18K week, I let myself get away with writing no more than 200 words on certain days. There was a day when I wrote only 50 words. I had received some emotional news on that day that rendered me useless.

On days I took breaks, I went to the gym. I would advise other writers to stay active more often than I did, go out in nature and find a quiet place where they can reflect and relax without being too distracted. Also, I didn’t punish myself on the next day and I didn’t put pressure on myself to compensate for the words I haven’t written. For example, if I wrote 2,000 words on one day, I did not force myself to write 4,000 on the next. I simply stuck to my 3,000 words-a-day goal.

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  1. The Focus

With this project, I took it day by day. Every night when I was done, I would praise myself for writing what I wrote and think about what would happen next. When a plot point revealed itself to me, I rejoiced. I was obsessed with the project. When I wasn’t writing, I was thinking about the characters, what they were doing and what would happen to them next in that book and in other books to come.

This was a prophylactic measure I didn’t know I was taking against writer’s block. When I was constantly thinking about the story, I knew exactly what to write the next day, and the only thing that I needed was to focus. Social media was banned. So was anything else distracting. Reaching me over the phone became impossible, having a conversation with me before 9:00 p.m. was out of the question. I was immersed in the story all day, every day. And it was the only way I could’ve finished it.

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  1. The End

Another thing I did to keep me motivated was to reward myself. Sure the biggest reward came when I finished the book, but between every 25K I found myself rejoicing and allowed myself some room to celebrate. I actually didn’t realize that I was going to finish the book on the day I finished it. I thought it would take me a few more days but the story came to an end and surprised even me. It brought me to tears. The book made me cry many times actually but this was one of the most tearful moments. It was as though all of a sudden, all the efforts and emotions culminated and boiled inside my heart. I couldn’t fight the tears then. But surely after that I was fine and dried my cheeks with pizza and wine, metaphorically of course.

EWAN MCGREGOR stars in THE GHOST WRITER

I know that it is very difficult for people who have jobs and responsibilities to follow this formula. I was fortunate enough to be unemployed at that time. Believe me, a book a month is not an average for me; I’ve been working on the sequel for that book for months and I still haven’t hit 20K. I’m sure, however, that if I followed that same formula and had the same levels of focus and dedication that I will be able to finish this new novel within an approximate time frame.

The first draft of my book was done at 78K. I knew the journey was far from over, but a major part of it was. Not only was this book the one I finished fastest, it was also the only one I edited and the one I’m most proud of now. I am happy to have shared this story with you and can only hope that one day a random reader will feel for this book a fraction of the emotion and passion I’ve put into it.

What was the fastest it ever took you to write a novel? And do you think that if you followed my method that you could finish your novel quicker?

 

[Photos aren’t mine unless otherwise mentioned]

Writing Process Blog Meme


Thank you Esther Newton for nominating me for this blog meme. Esther is an amazing writer and tutor. Check out her blog and new short story collection on Amazon.

I haven’t done the blog hops and nominations for a long time. But I felt that this particular post would be beneficial for fellow writers. I’m supposed to answer a few questions concerning my writing process, so here goes.

1. What am I working on at the moment?

I recently finished the first draft of the first book in a trilogy. I took some time off to unwind, so I will start editing that soon. Also, I’m working on a memoir. As for shorter work, I have a half-finished novella waiting for me to come back to it when I have time. Inspiration for poems strikes me when I’m half asleep, I write those sporadically.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I am a huge fan of thrillers, unforgettable tales, stories that keep me on edge and linger in my head for days after I finish reading them. My thrillers are different in terms that they are inspired by my personal experiences. My life is a thriller on its own. But there are chunks of my life that I extracted and developed into an idea for a trilogy.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I write because I can’t but write. It’s the only way I can remain sane and it’s a great way for me to vent. When I was younger, I lived in an oppressive household. Writing was my only escape and it still is.

4. How does my writing process work?

On a normal day– which I haven’t had in months– I wake up around 7:00 a.m., have breakfast, coffee and start working on whatever project at hand. Noon, I take a break, have a snack, check my emails and blog. Afternoons are for editing, research, and smaller projects. Nights are for reading.

I hope this post was informative. I am supposed to nominate a few people, but I follow a very small number of people who are all inspiring and phenomenal.

Thanks for reading and feel free to answer those questions in a comment 🙂

Why Read What Potential Markets Publish


Why do magazine editors tell writers to read a few of the magazine’s issues before submitting to them? It’s because they want to increase their sales or website hits, right? Wrong—well, partially right. But did you know that reading what your potential market publishes is more beneficial to you, the writer?

Writers love to read—or at least they have to read. Most of us have no problem reading novels. But if someone asks us to read a magazine or a literary journal, we need to stop and think about it for a long time before we decide we don’t need to. We think that if we read mystery thrillers, then we are fully capable of writing a short story fit for Alfred Hitchcock and Ellery Queen. Well, I used to think that way, until I read one—yes, only one—issue of Alfred Hitchcock’s magazine. I realized that the story I wanted to submit for that market was not a great fit. And after reading a few other issues, I realized what I needed to do to fix it.

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“But, why?” you ask.

Because it’s that simple. You need to get the general feeling of a magazine before you can successfully submit to it. You need to know what subjects have been dealt with so you don’t repeat them. You also need to pay attention to certain details, especially in fiction, like the degree of violence, swearing, sex, etc… I’m not suggesting that a magazine is a monotonous mastermind that only publishes one thing or the other, after all, several authors contribute to every issue, and each one of those authors has his own style. You do need to be familiar with what the editors like before you send them your “masterpiece”. Your story sometimes is too much for a market—too good, if you want to believe that. You owe it to your story to get it published in the most suitable place, where your story’s counterparts are just as good as it is.

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Think of reading issues of your potential market as going out on a date. There are different types of personalities, but even similar personalities have disparate likes and dislikes. If you like outgoing people, it doesn’t mean that you are going to be compatible with every outgoing person you meet. Every conversation with that date of yours will reveal something about their personality. After a while, you will have enough data to determine whether you want to continue seeing this person or not. Similarly after reading a few issues of a magazine, you will be able to determine whether your story is a good fit for it, if you need to tweak your work, or submit it somewhere else.

Hope this helps. What magazines are you reading?

20 Advice from Great Authors


I stumbled upon this post by Writer’s Digest on 20 writing tips from great authors. If you’re a “struggling” writer, or just in need of some guidance, then you should read this post. I especially loved #19.

Here’s the link: http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/there-are-no-rules/the-rules-of-writing-according-to-famous-writers

What advice would you give writers today?