Crafting the perfect story is a delicate and time-consuming art. But how much time exactly should it take you to finish writing your story? Read my take on this subject: https://mbkeen.com/long-write-story/
Before I start, I would like to thank you all for the constant support. My writing journey has been winding and arduous, but your encouragement made it all worthwhile.
As I mentioned in my previous post, having a free WordPress blog is a great way to start blogging and building an audience but it’s not a functional way to monetize your website. Having a self-hosted website and installing WordPress to it is the best bet. That is what I did when I started my new blog www.mbkeen.com
I use the self-hosting service Bluehost. It’s slightly more expensive than GoDaddy but they offer services and customer support that makes it worth it. Check them out!
Disclaimer: The links used above for BlueHost are affiliate links. It’s no extra charge to you if you purchase, but BlueHost would throw a few cents my way as a thank you.
Given that I haven’t been active the past two years, I’m sure many of you have lost interest in my content. I am sad to see some of you go, but I am excited for the new chapters in my life and all the opportunities and challenges they are bringing to my personal and writing life.
In 2014, personal circumstances rendered me bedridden with depression. During that period, my only solace was my writing and that was when I wrote the the first book in the children’s book series I’m currently working on. The novel is about a young boy living in a dark town who is forced to hide his talents from his family and society for fear of being prosecuted. It follows his journey of growth and understanding as he tries to find a way to escape the oppressive society he lives in while also trying to make a difference in it. But with the perils surrounding the town, the only thing more dangerous than staying is trying to run away. I’m currently writing the second book in this series.
Countless rounds of edits, a couple of rejections slips, and a disappointing indie publishing attempt later, I am back to blogging with more rigor and experience than ever. In my new blog I will be sharing tips on novel, script, short story and article writing, as well as editing, proofreading and marketing your work. I will also be posting book reviews, handy products and software for writers, writing resources, and much more.
Check out my latest post: 9 Ultimate Sources for Writing Ideas
I hope you find my content useful. Please subscribe to my newsletter at http://www.mbkeen.com to receive notifications of new posts. Hope to see you there! What have you all been up to? Comment below. I would love to catch up with all of you!
“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.
More 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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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?
Everyone wants to write a book. Everybody has thought about it at one time or the other. People have different motives for doing it (fame, telling a story, money…). The truth is, however, few succeed. The number of people who manage to write a novel is scarce, much less is the number of those who publish one. Therefore, before writing any book, a novelist needs to ask himself several questions.
1. Why Do I Want to Write this Book?
“Why?” is one of the most important question a person can ask himself prior to doing anything at all. In this case, knowing why you want to write a novel puts things in perspective. Are you in it for the money? Fame? Love of the written word? Or are you trying to prove something to yourself?
Knowing why you want to do something helps keep you motivated all the way till you finish that book. And, if the motivation is strong enough, it will help you power through the editing process and the long wait for an agent’s or publisher’s reply.
The key here, however, is to be realistic. Tone down your expectations and focus on your book. Writing a novel is a great learning experience; however, it may not be a great “earning” experience.
2. Can I write this book?
This is not meant to question a writer’s physical ability to type 55K+ words. It is, however, meant to help a writer take an honest and realistic approach at his or her ideas. Many people are struck with ideas that seem brilliant at first. Sometimes the ideas turn out to be ridiculous when reevaluated; other ideas still seem genius. However, there is a difference between a good idea, a great idea, and an idea that can be developed into a novel.
The difference is simple. It lies in the plot, characterization, and the subplot. Yet, many writers make the mistake of assuming that a good idea is all it takes to write a good book. Wrong! Ask yourself, can I write this book with the mere idea I have in mind? Can I stretch this idea for 300 pages and still make it interesting? If the answer is no, don’t give up. Simply spend more time plotting.
3. How Much Do I Know About the Subject?
Another important thing is to be sure you have enough information about the subject. A book, like any other piece of writing, requires extensive research. What does your protagonist do for a living? Is he a detective? Do you have enough information about how detectives work? And I don’t mean information you learned from watching movies… Researching sometimes requires traveling to the location of your story, interviewing people in the same line of work as your characters’, and reading several fiction and non-fiction books.
So before you tackle that novel, ask yourself: do I have enough information about the subject I’m writing about? If the answer is ‘no’, then do more research. The better you research your book, the less time it will take you to write it, and writers’ block is less likely to catch up with you.
4. Can I Commit to It?
Like everything else in life, the flare of the new dims after a while; that’s why it is best to write that novel as quickly as possible. That, however, doesn’t mean putting pressure on yourself to write it in a month. It just means that you need to commit to your project.
This is easier than you think. Pick a time in the day when you are usually not working, cooking, or taking care of your children. No matter how little time in the day you think you have, believe me, it’s enough. An hour spent effectively is better than eight hours wasted staring at a screen.
During the day, think of what you’re going to write, let the plot progress in your head, and take notes so you won’t forget. When the time comes to write, take a quick look over the notes and commence typing.
Writing a novel is a BIG project. Like any other project, it takes motivation, planning, knowledge, and commitment. Chances are, if you have the motivation and commitment, you will find a way to achieve the other two. The most important thing is to take your time with the process. And remember that great things take great sacrifices.
As some of you may know, I recently completed a novel for the first time. After two failed attempts to complete manuscripts before, just the fact that I wrote “The End” was an accomplishment to me. I took some time away from the book in attempt to return to it with a fresh perspective. What I saw upon my return, however, shocked and disappointed me. My finished book, the one I spent three months writing, was not worth reading. Many find it difficult to admit this about their own creations – believe me, it took me a while to accept the fact myself. In spite of how disappointed I was by the first draft of my book, there are invaluable lessons that I learned throughout the process.
Many might say that I shouldn’t put so much pressure on myself, a first draft is never as good, and it was only the first novel I ever completed. However, when I finished writing the manuscript, my writing substantially improved. Editing didn’t take as much effort as it used to – even though there were still times when I had to rewrite a piece seven to eight times before I became satisfied with it. Therefore, when I got back to my novel, I noticed that it was written below my own standards. What I noticed, hence, was the first advantage of writing a terrible first novel: it made me a better writer.
When I started writing my book in January 2014, I had a clear idea of how the story will begin and end, the genre, and the main conflict of the plot. However, other than that, I had not much more to build on. I started to discover my characters as I went along, and the plot changed as well depending on what I had written before. It wasn’t planned, and it looked like it. Therefore, my second lesson was to pay more attention to plotting and characterization.
Initially ,I only began writing the novel just to prove to myself that I was able to write one. I was eager to finish the book since I had already failed twice at that, so the most important part of the manuscript was the final chapter. When I started reading my first draft, I could tell that I had rushed through writing it. Even in the places where I thickened the plot felt uninspired to me. The third lesson I learned was to take my time.
Research is invaluable, I came to realize. Even though the subject I tackled was familiar to me, had I not had the knowledge about that subject, writing that novel – as modest as it turned out to be – would’ve been impossible and would’ve placed the novel at an even lower standard. In fact, the most appealing part of the manuscript, in my opinion, was my description of society and places.
However, in spite of my knowledge in the subject, I felt that it was of no more interest to me after a while. Many may tell you to write about what you know; however, I learned that I needed to find a subject that flares a lasting interest in me. Writing one novel could sometimes take years. If a writer’s interest in the subject he’s tackling fades, what’s the point of writing? Sure enough, the reader will lose interest just as well.
There’s not enough time in the world to learn every tip and trick to write a great novel. Everybody has to start somewhere. Armed by the lessons I learned and the experience I gained, I continue my writing adventure. All I can do is write, and learn as I go. I wonder what I am going to learn today.
What are some of the lessons you learned in your early experience as writers?
One of the biggest problems we face as writers is our inability to follow through certain ideas. We would start writing a novel thinking it would be great, only to find ourselves, days later, ignoring it completely for the sake of a newer and more appealing idea. I had the same issue with novels, short stories and even articles. And I’m sure many of you can relate to this, even if you don’t work in the field of writing. So, how to stay faithful to your ideas? And how to resist, without wasting the opportunity of, a younger and hotter inspiration?
Take Notes: One of the reasons we get inclined to dump an old idea and jump to the next one is the fear of forgetting the sudden jolt of inspiration that hits us at 2:00 a.m. as we are trying to sleep. By taking notes you ensure that these thoughts won’t get that far, even if you don’t start working on them right away.
Another benefit of taking notes is that it revives that creative juice at the moments when you can’t find anything to write about. Just pull the notebook and get inspired. It’s like a little letter from you to yourself.
Take More Notes: Yes, I know I already said that. It’s one thing to take notes about an idea that sprung through your head, but that’s not all it takes to write a successful article, story, book, genius meatloaf recipe, or a business plan. There is a fair amount of research involved in writing every piece. So, to make sure all those websites, statistics, medical data, and historical events are not forgotten, write them in your notebook next to the brief synopsis of your idea.
This is, also, helpful for you to feel that you’re working on the new idea, without having to throw away the old one. By the time you’re done with the old piece of writing, you can start writing the newer piece immediately without wasting time on research – which is one of the reasons people get bored with writing.
New is Always Better: Yes, this article is to teach you how to commit to your old writing, but that doesn’t mean you have to get stuck in a rut! Find a new writing location, change the scenery in the room, take a different route to work, or simply research new information on the subject you are writing about. This will help spark up your desire to write more about the old issue, while also get your creative juices flowing.
There Will Be Time for Editing: Don’t look at your first draft and get overwhelmed at how much work it needs. Don’t look at your first draft at all! Just revise the things you wrote the day before, make some adjustments, and then go on – go on until you finish. Even the greatest writers need to edit their work. So, don’t get discouraged if your first draft isn’t that great. Write now, edit later.
Think of It as a Job: Your boss asks you to write a short piece about the cons of throwing toilet paper in the toilet. You don’t get picky and say: No, I’ll ignore this one halfway through and write about alien appearances in Texas.
To be able to commit to your writing you have to be your own boss. Force yourself to sit facing that screen, reward yourself when you’re done, even reprimand yourself if you have to – or find someone else to do it for you. The most important thing for you to succeed in any domain is to have an elephant-sized commitment.