Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Advice To Writers: Stop Complaining!

Find ways to move past your frustrations to complete
and publish your manuscript.
"I have writer's block!" "I don't know where I'm going with this story (or character)" "I've lost my inspiration, I can't finish this story!"  "Who's going to buy this book anyway?" 

How many times have you heard these statements from a writer or if you are a writer, have said these things yourself? When it comes to being successful in completing your manuscript – or for accomplishing any goal – the best place to start is by making a commitment to yourself to stop complaining!  

Of course, it is perfectly fine to question your decisions to write a character a certain way, to revise your entire storyline, and to remain thoughtful and analytical at all times. However, you can't move forward when you're complaining or consistently doubting yourself and your writing abilities. Berating yourself is counterproductive and takes your eyes off of your goal, which is to complete and publish your manuscript. 

If you find yourself in this situation, here are three tips to keep your fingers humming along on the keyboard until you have completed your manuscript:

1. Do more research. Whether it's a fiction or nonfiction book, it's important that writers research the subject of their stories. For instance, if your story is a historical romance set in the American West in the mid-1800s, find out about the culture, customs, politics and personalities of the people who lived during that time. Was there a major event that occurred during that time? Let that become  a turning point in your story for one or more of your characters. 

2. Skip to the next chapter. If you find yourself hitting a snag with a character or a scene or developing the next chapter, move on, don't stop. For instance, insert the information you found in your research into another part of the story, or create another scene, or expand the role of an already established character. The point is not to stop because you hit a bump in the road, keep on going. 

3. Generate ideas to add to your story. It's amazing how many ideas you can generate on your own by talking with others. Is your friend going to physical therapy because of a sore shoulder? Are your cousins planning a family reunion? Is your co-worker having repair work done on her home? You can use all of these examples in some way in your story. Your readers will relate to the details you insert about everyday life. 

4. Review and your revise you work. If you need to take a breather, review what you have written so far. If something is not working, revise your work and take another approach. 

5. Talk with other writers. Writers are willing to share their successes and concerns with each other. If you do not know any writers personally, there are many writers forums you can join and find people who are willing to help you move forward. 

One important difference between successful writers and those who are not is that the successful writers do not discourage themselves easily by complaining. Rather than complain, they focus on solving problems that are keeping them stuck. So, if you find yourself getting frustrated over your manuscript, find ways to develop a stick-to-it-tiveness that will help you achieve your goal of completing and publishing your manuscript!

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