The ending months of the year 2012 makes it two years since I became a writer. Though it’s only been a couple of years, it’s been one heck of a ride consisting of rise and falls, successes and failures, elations and let downs. In these two years, however, I’ve learned a whole lot of things about the writing process, which I outline below. There are many other things about writing, no doubt, but here are a few vitals:
No one can write your Idea as well as you
It’s how I started writing, really. That concept or idea, I always feel, dropped in your mind for a reason. I have also found out that no matter what tiny bit of an idea you get, it comes with some sort of vague idea as to who some of the characters might be. You are already bonding with the characters even before the first word is penned (whether you’re a pantser or an outliner). It’s like a soon-to-be mother in labor. The second the baby emerges, the connection between the mother and child is the strongest. Sorry, dads! It’s the plain truth. She did carry the kid for nine months, after all.
Inspiration and Passion isn’t nearly enough, discipline is required
In today’s world, everyone is teaching that you should follow your passion. Good and fine, but I found out that especially in writing, inspiration and passion aren’t nearly adequate driving forces for seeing you through to the final period. Discipline is required. If you cannot sit down at your work for protracted hours and write, your story can be likened to chasing a rainbow; you see it after the rain, but really there is no “end of the rainbow”, and there’s certainly no pot of gold there. Discipline is the transportation to the end of your manuscript.
Discipline isn’t enough, you need patience
Discipline might certainly be the transportation to the end of your manuscript, but it is a rickety way of getting there. Oil up discipline’s joints with patience. Patience is what ensures a smooth sailing all through the writing process. Writing is a brutally remorseless process, and if you’re doing it the right way, it’s a lonely one, too. Where discipline might falter, patience stands firm. You just gostta keep pressing till you see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Set goals, but start small
No one is disputing the fact that setting goals is almost the only way to achieve things, but many times we tend to get overtaken by our goals of becoming a New York Times #1 Bestseller, that we forget the number one thing writing is; a process. Have those goals—I have them, too—but instead of making your first work am epic 600 page tale, why not try your hands on writing short stories first, getting the hang of the art that is writing. I learned this the hard way.
Characters aren’t just that, they are people
Your characters aren’t just characters that help take your readers to the end of a story; they are living, breathing people with a past, a present, and a future. Like you, they have ambitions and goals, which may or may not be becoming a New York Times #1 Bestseller. If all your characters take decisions the way you would, they are nothing but clones…of you. It’s back to the drawing board, then. Sorry.
Writing should be fun, inasmuch as it is work
I did say that writing is “a brutally remorseless process” earlier. Though a hundred and ten percent true, it should be fun. If you don’t have fun writing, perhaps you should think of another career path. There is nothing worse than working in misery, trust me, I know. Above all else, you need to love writing. You need to breathe, eat, and sleep writing. Nothing, for me, comes remotely close to writing. I love it.