Keep Up the Good Work!

The cloud-coated, late November sky dimmed into a hazy blue as Steve O’Malley trudged through the forest surrounding Oxborough Boarding School, on the west side. The stinging air chilled his face, and the steam of his breath puffed before him as he looked steadily through the seemingly everlasting stretch of leafless trees. ~excerpt from The Magical Fair

I overthought my draft for this blog post and lost what I’d half-way written of it the first time. Anyhow, I should probably just keep writing and not think too much or over-critically as I do so. As I was writing the excerpt above in Chapter 6 last evening, my inner-editor was even then yapping at me, “That’s not the right word! That part of the sentence doesn’t flow! That needs to be changed over there! Yaaah!” However, I knew from earlier that evening, as I sank into a spiral of existential questioning of why I was doing it and why it mattered, that the real problem is simply my frustration that I haven’t gotten into the story enough . . . yet.

I honestly don’t know why so many people, including me now since 2017, are susceptible to “crippling self-doubt” about their writing. I had the confidence that I could write growing up, though obviously not formally trained in creative writing techniques, and that unquestioning confidence did help me to write stories that, with all their unpublishable qualities, are enjoyable to read to this day for what their worth.

There are a lot of pieces of writing advice out there; some are good, some are terrible. I hesitate to embrace the notion that creative writing is a craft you can get lessons on how to do, rather than a communicative art learned through immersion in many great books. I’m still open-minded to working out that debate.

Nevertheless, there are three pieces of advice that are helpful to any creator, whether you’re a writer, painter, inventor, tiny-house designer, or musician: 1) Keep at what you’re doing, and you’ll get better at it. In other words, keep the momentum up. PRACTICE! Don’t give up doing your kind of work regularly, because then you won’t get much better at it than you are now. However, take a break when needed.

2) If you’re interested in something, other people will be too. Go into your work with gusto, whether other people care about it or not. But if you’re trying to sell your book or product, you can be sure someone will love it just as much as you do.

3) The ever-profound command: Just Do It. Our lives are not meant to be spent aggravated or self-pitying. If you enjoy writing, just continue in it. Be fruitful! Life is too short. If you are hesitant on an idea you have for a project, I say, “Go big or go home!”