For Those Who Write · 4:06pm
Let me start by saying this isn't some “8 tips every author should know!” shorthand bullshit. What this is about, is how to learn.
I see authors, first time and experienced alike, spend months toiling over a first chapter or a first story, getting caught working at it for weeks on end. Hell, this happened to me. What pains me about it, is that they don’t realize how badly they are sabotaging themselves as writers. They get stuck standing still, and sometime while standing still, their learning grinded to a halt.
I see authors publish a mountain of first drafts, as though they’re blindly throwing a handful of darts at a dartboard and hoping one manages to hit the bullseye. They don’t realize that they’re barely getting anything from writing these stories. That 10 stories later their writing is largely unchanged. They’re usually not trying to improve or change their writing at all.
It’s cruel irony that the second kind of author will wind up better than the agonizer poring over his past work. But it comes down to the simple matter that: if you’re not writing, you’re not writing.
So, to get better at writing, you have to write. I’m not saying the second kind of author is the ideal role model. His actions are almost as bad as the first kind of writer’s.
But most importantly, you have to write new. You will never learn faster than when you first try something. If you apply this to writing:
- write stories in different tenses
- write different types of protagonists
- write with a different PoV (third, first, unreliable)
- write a different genre
- write something with a different tone
Every time I’ve written a new story, I’ve tried something different. Every time I have, I’ve learned more about writing in the first chapter than in five chapters of any one of my ongoing fics.
Just a thought to keep in mind when you start your next story.