Are you a writer or an aspiring author? Do you find it difficult to get started on your story? Maybe you want to make sure that everything looks right from the beginning?
Ditch the formalities – and write!
I’ve often encountered writers (mostly the unpublished ones), who care an awful lot about ‘doing it properly’. They are asking questions about writing software, formatting their text and other technicalities. Before they have even thought about a plot or a character. Before there is a story to write.
Does that sound like you? Maybe this post can help you to just get started on the actual writing.
Being correct or making excuses?
Have you thought about why the fontsize matters so much, before you’ve even come close to having a contract or a finished novel? A lot of the needs to ‘prepare’ and ‘do it properly’ with margins and fonts etc. has to do with insecurity. You might be cautious about starting because you’re a little insecure and slightly anxious. But that’s okay. It’s easier for most people to worry about fonts, text size, wordcount per page and what software or method of writing to use, rather than actually writing.
But here’s the trick. You’ll only become a better writer, by actually writing things. It’s very nice that you want to make sure your stuff looks correct and professional. But in reality, that’s only relevant when you’ve found a publisher you want to make a deal with or send your script to. Most publishers have their own set of guidelines to follow, when you send in a manuscript. It’s very easy to change the technicalities, once you know what your dream-publisher wants.
Waste of time or well-prepared?
So, are you really well-prepared if you spend a few weeks trying to find out how to format your novel, before you’ve even written anything? Does it make sense to spend two months finding the perfect title, when you’ve only written 3 chapters of an entire trilogy?
Well, maybe you are, but most likely – you aren’t. In my eyes, this kind of ‘preparation’ is a waste of your time, too early in the process. You’ll find out as you go along and write more chapters, what title would fit your story. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to edit, once you’ve written something. You don’t have to worry about all these formalities before you’re actually done writing and ready to send to an editor or publishing house. Then, on the other hand, you will need to worry about these things. Editors are serious about how they want scripts to be presented to them.
If you edit way too early, before you’ve written the majority of your novel, you can risk that it becomes an obstacle for creativity. “Oh no, I wrote my dialogue all wrong I need to correct it!” – well, mabe you did, but you might want to consider just making a note and continue writing. That way, you’ll know when you’re editing, what to look for and correct. And you will not have to switch from being creative to being ‘correct’, when you’re in the middle of writing new scenes.
So do yourself a favor and ditch the formalities (for now) and just write! You can always edit later – and it is much easier to edit a finished story, than doing it as you go along 😉.
Do you recognize some of these thoughts from your own writing process? Are you nervous about not being good enough and thus not writing as much as you would have liked? Feel free to drop a comment below, with your thoughts. I’d love to hear about your experiences!
If you’d like to explore my other blogposts for writers, feel free to have a look at my writers’ collection right here>>