Six Lessons I Learned When Writing Dragged Me Down
And seven “expert” tips I ignored
This morning, I was at my desk drafting my weekly article. The subject doesn't matter, but it was on sensitivity readers, the pros and cons - and controversy - of hiring one.
I'll probably write the piece at some point - but I had a major revelation while typing.
I was boring myself shitless.
If you're new to my newsletter, I decided to spend 2023 publishing pieces about the process of indie writing, publishing, and marketing. The plan was to turn the articles into a book about being an indie author. I want to help new indie novelists avoid all the mistakes I made while publishing my debut novel Rock Gods & Messy Monsters.
Don't get me wrong. The subject matter wasn't boring me. Rather, I couldn't get my heart into the work and was trying to force the words. I was back in high school writing a term paper I'd been assigned for homework. And it read that way.
I'm wondering how many of my recent articles have had no soul. Whoops.
What to Do If Your Writing Bores You
I searched for help, and, of course, there were articles on the subject. Tips included:
Take a break
Force yourself to keep writing
Give yourself writing challenges and prompts
Go for a walk
Whatever. Even they sound boring.
What I Did
I sat in the feeling to see what was going on. I realized that writing without heart doesn't work for me - or (I’m sure) my readers. I concluded I didn't want to write about the writing process, at least not now.
So I'm revamping Next Draft. I'll share pieces on subjects I'm resonating with, am triggered by, or want to explore more. At least, I think I will. I'm writing about what moves me when I sit to create.
I'm sure I'll include experiences with indie publishing and marketing as well as themes around the books I have out and am currently writing. Most importantly, I'll write about subjects that move me and might be of some benefit to you.
And don't worry, I still plan to write a book on indie publishing and marketing. It just won't be in the next few months.
What have I learned that might help you?
If your writing is boring, stop. Find another topic - or walk away. Most importantly, please don't force it. Stop. Stop. Stop.
If you don't like your work, no matter how well written, other people won't either.
Believe in your gut. It's the most important part of your brain.
It's okay to change your mind - it's part of the creative process.
Don't feel you have to take anyone else's advice - even mine. You do you.
And, finally, get to know yourself. Sit in an uncomfortable feeling like boredom and find out what it's telling you. It's a gift. Search yourself until you find an idea that has you at your laptop writing without effort.
Please note - there's a difference between forcing and pushing yourself. Sometimes you need to push yourself to finish a piece or continue with an edit. That's not what I'm talking about here.
Forcing is trudging away at something your gut is screaming at you to walk away from. It's that nagging feeling that something's wrong - and it doesn't leave. You ignore it and make yourself keep working even though your body is telling you no.
Only you can learn your difference between pushing and forcing.
I'm looking forward to what I write next - because I have no clue what will come out. That's both liberating and terrifying.
I'm off next week but will be back with I-don't-know-what the first Tuesday of February. Let me know what you think!
Diane is a writer, author, and inner activist. Her award-winning book “Rock Gods & Messy Monsters” was released September 2022. Follow her to stay up to date with all things books, writing, and inner exploration. Or whatever tickles her fancy that week.
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I have a Medium account if you’re a member. Right now I tend to be cross-publishing, but I’ll most likely put some original content here in Substack and on Medium as time goes on, and I get the financial side of my writing career sorted out. (Meaning, I don’t have time right now to write original pieces in two places, promote a book, and write a new one….) But please follow me there if you’re a Medium person.
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