by Michelle Griep
Whenever I tell someone I’m an author, immediately following the deer-in-the-headlights stare, the person I’m talking to invariably says, “Hey! I’ve got this great story idea.”
To which I reply, “Then you should write it.”
That’s when Mr. Slump Shoulders takes over, and the person wilts in front of me. “Yeah, I should,” he murmurs. Then he slinks off into the sunset, and I know that book will never get written. Why? Three reasons . . .
Yeah, I get it. Thinking about writing a book can suck the living breath right out of the hidey holes deep down in the caverns of your lungs. No, really, I get it. If I dwell on the magnitude of work it takes to write a book, I’d curl up in the fetal position, too. So here’s what you have to do . . . just say no to your gnarly thoughts. You don’t have to have every plot point figured out, research a bajillion books, know all the characters and their motivations and what they like to eat for breakfast before you start writing a novel. Those things can be added in on later drafts.
Lots of people start writing a book, but then they make the same mistake I did when I first began — going over, and over, and over the first few chapters, trying to perfect them. That’s when it hits you upside the head that you’re not perfect, and neither are your words. Stress sets in as you try to rearrange phrases, sentences, paragraphs, your rubber duck collection, and all of it crashes in on you, landing you in the corner with your thumb stuck in your mouth as you call for your mama. As tempting as it is to make sure you’ve got things right before you move on, here’s a piece of advice for you . . . MOVE ON! Write the first draft. It won’t be perfect. It doesn’t have to be. It’s a freaking first draft for crying out loud so cut yourself some slack.
Some people barf words on a page like a drunk who’s been on a month long bender. I’m talking word explosion. Descriptions of characters down to their nostril hairs. Entire narratives on how the wind sounds in the beech trees at sunset. Pages and pages and pages of dialogue about the heroine’s favorite tea and why darjeeling trumps earl grey. To which I say, “Stop the madness.” Use the delete button. Fight the urge to let your fingers run too wild on the keyboard.
If you can get over these three writerly hurdles, then you, my friend, will soon be the proud parent of a brand spanking new manuscript.
|Author Michelle Griep|
ABOUT THE AUTHOR ~ MICHELLE GRIEP
Like what you read? There’s more. WRITER OFF THE LEASH: GROWING IN THE WRITING CRAFT is a kick in the pants for anyone who wants to write but is stymied by fear, doubt, or simply doesn’t know how to take their writing to the next level.
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