Writing is an emotionally exhausting process — especially writing fiction. Involving yourself with these characters and their never-ending problems can honestly be traumatic — and I know that sounds dramatic but it's true! You get to know them so well and you're so involved in their world that it can take a toll on your mental state. I mean, have you ever heard of too many "normal" or "sane" writers...probably not. Hemingway once took a urinal from his favorite bar and moved it into his home, saying that he'd “pissed away” enough of his money into the urinal that he "owned it." Friedrich von Schiller kept rotten apples in his desk, claiming that he "needed the scent of their decay" to help him write.
Writers are their own breed of crazy — in the best way possible, I might add. Writing a book can probably drive you mad. I mean, it takes a lot out of you to write 50,000+ words. Here are five useful tips that will help you get through writing your first novel...
1. Set goals
You're obviously not going to write the next great American novel in the span of a day. Set realistic goals for your writing. Maybe it is ten pages in a week or writing an hour each day. Start with the basics.
2. Reward yourself
Once you achieve these goals, treat yourself! Maybe that means a box of pizza and a bottle of wine on a Friday night or a little trip up north with friends. But reward yourself in a way that will push you to keep writing — so that you can treat yourself again!
3. Take yourself on "artist dates"
I refer to the book "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron quite frequently because it has helped me grow so much as a writer. One thing she recommends in this book is the artist date — in other words, taking yourself out on a date. Whether it be to a museum, a movie, a yoga class, or to get some wine. Just you and yourself out and about, experiencing something new for the first time. It's a great time to think. When you're alone with your thoughts is when the best material comes to you!
4. Get input
As a writer, it's so important to get input from others. Sometimes when you're struggling, it helps to have a friend, another writer, etc., read what you have so far to give you feedback. It'll help your growth as a writer and push you to keep writing.
5. Read more books
Take a break from your own writing to read another book! Like Stephen King once said, "If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that."
These are just some of the ways you can help yourself during the writing process. Everyone develops their own rhythm and techniques in the end.
Stay posted for more posts like this! I will be posting once a week...