With the release of my first book only weeks away, I thought I could share my experiences with the writing and publishing process. Sure, there’s a metric-ton of writing advice out there on the web and in book stores, but I’m gonna drop some truth.
WRITING YOUR STORY IS THE EASIEST DAMN PART OF THE WHOLE PROCESS – and if you’re hung up on that, gods help you if you ever finish and have to move on to the next steps.
See, it took me a long time to figure that out. I was like you once. Agonizing over perfect word choice, constantly backspacing to correct grammar and punctuation – essentially taking all day to craft the perfect paragraph only to find out that by the end of that day, my awesome story idea had vanished while I focused on nit-picky details. Do you have any idea how many unfinished stories I have on my hard drive?
It is essential to turn off your inner editor while you write a first draft. It is essential that you understand and believe that a first draft is supposed to be shit. Who cares how many errors it has? How many plot holes? How many one-dimensional characters? Who?
Because nobody is going to see that first draft except you. You don’t publish a first draft. Never. There is always room for improvement in your story, so save it for after you get all your ideas written.
Otherwise, your ideas will vanish into the ether, never to return, and that brilliant story will go unfinished, shoved aside with the hundreds of others you never finished.
Once you can do this, once you can pound out a story with your mind in Zen Master Mode, you’ll see that writing a first draft is the easiest part of the process. Because the next part involves someone taking your story and cutting it to ribbons only to make you put it back together so that it’s better than before.
That’s called re-writing and it sucks.
When an editor you trust tells you a story is too short and you need to add more, or a story is too long and you have to cut large parts out, it’s like being told you have to take apart and reassemble your children. It sucks, it’s hard, and I hated every minute of it.
Look, you can search online for articles and lists about tips and tricks about how to become a better writer – and you’ll find it. You’ll find a lot of it and most of it is from amateurs like me. It’s all crap.
Listen to the pros. King and Gaiman – guys like that. They say “Just write.” Like the old Nike commercials – Just Do It. Get the words out and don’t think about it until after you are done. Gaiman once said that he writes until he is done. Do the same.
Take it from a guy who’s figured out the truth.