I really enjoyed this clip. While I’ve heard the advice before, it’s presented in such an engaging way. To recap the seven highly effective habits of artists are; daily work, volume not perfection, steal, conscious learning, rest, feedback, create what you love.
I wandered across this list of writing advice and number 17 was about not being distracted. Which was funny because I am currently on the second draft of Jumpstart and switching between internet pages. I mean sweet Jesus, I must have rushed writing this manuscript because from chapter nine onwards it’s 50 to 70% red from track changes. I must have skipped adding some sentences because some times I don’t know what I’m the fuck I’m trying to say.
My memory of completing this manuscript was of joy because I had actually finished it. But god damn. I’m only halfway through this edit. I think the only thing of decent quality relating to this story is the cover image I managed to create. Hopefully, after I tear this baby apart it’ll be better on the next edit.
I worry that what I write is not good enough, but I like writing, so I continue.
To date, all the stories I wrote for my uni assignments have remained untouched on my USB since graduation. It’s been around five years now and I know that I might never go back to them. And that’s ok. There are a quite a few reasons why I’m probably not going to bother with them and they are:
- I don’t like them (I wrote them to criteria guidelines and not entertainment).
- There are other stories I like more or think are worthwhile writing.
- I know they are bad (Bad, being plot).
Some time ago I opened a short 2,500 word story and tried to see if I could make it worthy of self-publishing. It turned out that my first ever story I wrote for uni was pretty effing terrible. No wonder I barely passed that class. I could make the sentence structure better, but I couldn’t get over the plot holes and it was cliched as hell. Give me an award for reaching the cringe-worthy level of over 9000!
I also have other stories that are not from uni that are currently dormant because I’ve been neglecting them for a variety of reasons;
- They’ve got a good base, but need more attention and ideas added.
- More recent stories are taking up my spare time and my growth as a writer has improved their first draft quality to the point of encouragement.
- Something about it just doesn’t seem right and I can’t quite put my finger on it (Trust your gut guys and move onto something else in the meantime).
What I was interested in a few years ago has changed and it will probably change again. One of the biggest things I can say to other people would be if you think something is not right about your story then you’re on to something. Notice I said not right instead of wrong? That’s because there are more than one way to tell a story or write a novel.
When you come to a place like this, it is best that you take a break of however long you think you might need for you to wrap your head around it. Be it a few hours to a few weeks. I like to think of my stories as I’m working behind the bar at work. It gives me time to plan what I think are the best routes to take. Personality wise, I’m more of a ‘take my time to plan’ instead of rush ahead because I’ve learnt that it is how I make mistakes.
That being said, some stories are just bad through and through. Even as a child I was picking up on things in books that disrupted the entire reading experience. Whether it be a single sentence of being preached to or a single word that is the wrong tense (These were from traditionally published books too). You could have a decent story, but a book’s sense of verisimilitude is just as important. And this could be the thing that doesn’t make it worthwhile and you have to ask yourself, Should I go back and try to fix or just ditch? And the answer is yours and what you think is best for you.