Encouragement for the Aspiring Writer

I had a friend recently ask me how I managed to write a book. She’s been having a difficult time getting through the process, so for all of you aspiring writers out there, I thought I’d share what I told her in hopes that it might encourage you.

As far as writing your book and the difficulty of it… Tell me why you want to write it. What do you hope it will do for you? What do you hope it will do for those who read it? If you can answer those two questions (and they’re not rhetorical; I’d really like to know) then it just comes down to a matter of getting your butt in the chair and doing it. Make sure you write every day. You don’t need to write something good every day. You just need to write every day. As William Faulkner said, “Writing is rewriting.”

Because of the speed of Internet publishing these days, there seems to be such a finality to everything you click into the computer. We imagine on some level that the words we type will be the last ones, the final draft. It’s not true, of course, but with one wrong click it could be. So it’s important to remember that just because you write it doesn’t mean you have to publish it. There is going to be, and there should be, a good percentage of things that you write that no one else will ever read.

If you look at any painting that any great artist has done, you do not see every stroke the artist has made. You don’t even see every stroke in the painting. The artist has painted over many of them. He has obscured some of them. Sometimes, he’s even whited them out and started again. Don’t expect every one of your strokes to be a masterpiece. Just keep making them because you know that the masterpiece will come eventually.

In the meantime, beyond whatever answers you come up with for those first two questions, hopefully, you’ll find enjoyment in the process of expressing yourself and your readers will find enjoyment in looking into your inken soul.

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