- George Orwell
hello there, this is aly. this blog is going to be used as a side blog for all my writing projects and such.
It sounds so simple and so obvious, but it can be surprisingly easy to forget. In my opinion, one of the most important things to remember:
When you’re writing and editing, you need to be excited about your work.
If you’re excited, your reader will sense it in your words. Your energy will inject momentum into your writing. It’s a kind of propulsion that I don’t really think can be taught or studied or strategically crafted.
And after all, if you’re not excited, why should your reader be?
I encounter this problem the most when I’m editing. It happens after I’ve done a few too many drafts and the writing is starting to feel stagnant. The words start to blur. My brain falls asleep. I find myself dreading the hours when I sit down to work.
It just happened to me again, during the tedious editing that I’ve been doing recently: converting my entire novel from third person to first person, one sentence at a time. I started feeling frustrated, hating my novel—a state of mind that every serious writer is familiar with. I had lost excitement, and I was perfectly aware, and I was angry at myself for it.
The solution? Well, it’s kind of like how Zadie Smith says that writing a novel is a confidence trick. “The main person you have to trick into confidence is yourself.”
The same goes for excitement. You have to trick yourself into being excited again. You have to seek out the fuel you need—you can’t just sit around waiting for inspiration to float past.
During these stagnant, low-energy times, I go to my shelves and pull off the books I love best, the authors who are the biggest influence on the project I’m working on. I give myself permission to just sit and read. I look at the words, hear the author’s pleasure in them, see how the sentences draw me into the story.
I read and watch author interviews, thirsting for any wise tidbits they might have to offer. I look at passages from my favorite memoirs on the writing craft. I pull up the strongest parts of my novel and read to remember what it felt like when I was writing them.
As long as I’m actively trying to be excited, the energy always comes back eventually. Like everything else, it’s just a matter of having patience and perseverance.
I HATE BEING A YOUNG WRITER BECAUSE I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THE WORLD YET AND MY STORIES LACK REALISM. LIKE WHAT IF A CHARACTER NEEDS TO FILE HIS OR HER TAXES? I DON’T KNOW HOW ONE GOES ABOUT FILING TAXES! YOU GUYS HAVE NO IDEA OF HOW CONCERNED I AM ABOUT KNOWING HOW TO FILE TAXES.