Opinions Are Just Opinions

Yesterday I went through an evening of shear panic and proceeded to berate myself for decisions I made as a teen. I read an article by a former MFA teacher and suddenly questioned myself as a writer. Seriously, I sat and questioned everything I was so sure of. I may not be the best writer, but I’ve known for a very long time that writing was my passion. Novels, short stories, comic books and video game reviews. I love to write. I chose this path shortly after high school and took a few wrong turns, but I eventually found my way and improved. I didn’t choose the easy path or the path others would’ve chosen for me.

SIDE NOTE: Despite what others think of the career choice, writing is rarely a life of luxury and vacation. The life of a writer is usually filled with sacrifices and deadlines, but we choose this because we love to write.

So I woke up today, still feeling a little off from the internal battle from last night. I couldn’t shake the thoughts because there were so many other writers who agreed with the article. Surely, I had to be doomed. This article just told me I was unlikely to ever be successful because I didn’t read the classics or take writing seriously in high school. Why didn’t I read those damn books we were assigned in high school? I read a lot of books school, but I almost never read the ones assigned to us.

SIDE NOTE: I was an angry and often rebellious teenager. Like many teenagers before me.

So why did I not bother to read those novels later? Was I even serious about writing in high school? My thoughts? I read what I liked and I wrote what I liked. My reading is much more well-rounded now, but I still believe you should enjoy what you’re reading. You shouldn’t sit and get a headache trying to translate text that doesn’t interest you, simply because it’s a classic and you feel obligated. Try it, don’t like? Then just move on. And I did write crazy stories in high school with my best friends as the characters. Was I writing? Yes. Was it super serious? No.

So still mentally beating myself up, I started my normal wake up routine of checking emails and social media. I was exhausted and my head hurt like a bad hangover.

SIDE NOTE: I didn’t drink last night. Maybe I should have.

Then I read Chuck Wendig’s response to the article, which is fairly vulgar and amazing. I had a great laugh and felt so much better knowing that I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t the only one who completely disagreed with that writer’s opinions. See, I had forgotten that’s all the article was. Opinions. Everyone has them, but doesn’t mean they are always right or that they even apply to you.

It’s ironic because I just recently read Chuck’s book, The Kick-Ass Writer: 1001 Ways to Write Great Fiction, Get Published, and Earn Your Audience, and he had me in a great mindset about writing. Honestly, writers need motivation and not negativity. Don’t let anyone tell you what you can and can’t do. And read Chuck’s book about writing because his no bullshit approach to giving tips is hilarious and at least you’ll get a positive experience from his opinions. Most likely.

Stay awesome and keep reading and writing. ❤

Writing Tip: Push Through the Awkward Stage

Photo credit goes to jjpacers

Photo credit goes to jjpacers

I used to think that revisions were the hardest part of writing, but honestly just finishing the first draft is the real challenge. Fight through and don’t try to edit or re-writing anything until you get to the end of the story. Editing during a first draft will only slow you down and you want to stay motivated to push through to finish the story. Once you finished the first draft then you’ve done the hard part. Relax and pat yourself on the back because you’ve already done what many never accomplish. I hear so many people say “I have this great idea for a story.” or “I want to write a book someday.” And often those people never accomplish that. So set your manuscript to the side and take a break. Read some books or take a vacation. If you want to keep writing other material, then feel free to do so. Just don’t touch your first draft for a few weeks and then come back with fresh eyes and start your revisions.

In the past I would get frustrated with my art or writing because I felt like what I was creating just wasn’t good enough. A really helpful artist (acrylic painter Brandon Schaefer) gave a great piece of advice to “push through the awkward stage” because after you get your foundation down, you can go back and make corrections and add detail with a fresh pair of eyes. The same is true with writing. You take your idea and you lay out the ground work with the first draft. The first draft is the foundation of your creation and the revisions are making the corrections and adding detail to make it better.

Think about all the great books you’ve read, you can’t assume that what you read was a first or even second draft of a novel. Lots of great books will go through a tedious revision process so don’t be so hard on yourself if things don’t seem to flow perfect in a first draft. So stay motivated and always try to push through that awkward stage.

Hope you found this tip helpful. Please feel free to comment and let me know what topics you’d like to see discussed here!