“The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.” – Lao Tzu
In Writing, the journeys we take won’t be of a few thousands of miles (here: words), unless of course we are working on short stories or one of its even shorter versions. There will be ups and downs and not everything will happen as you might desire, often forcing you to retreat several step back in order to get back on track. And this is what I’m going to talk about now in detail.
Welcome to this newest post (as of yet) of Narrating The Dream and this time, we are here to discuss the second portion of foundations of writing : Approach. (Warning: I am half sleepy so do comment if I end up babbling here.)
Planning your approach is like preparing a strategy for war against your worst enemy: You. Only you know your weaknesses and the temptations you are most vulnerable to and these are the things that can define the nature of your approach. Put a few precautions correctly and you will prevent your laziness and other such unproductive habits from interfering. Fail to do so and know that there will be a time when you will stumble while trying to cross a metaphorical wooden bridge and slip down the deep valley. No one will even hear your screams. So, what to do? I can’t tell you everything (after all I need to know everything for telling you), but I can give some pointers.
First of all: Make a schedule and do it wisely. Don’t go all fanatic for your writing and devote a huge amount of time for it. You may think you can manage hours of writing per day but it won’t be so. You will fail sooner or later. Give yourself, um, half an hour or an hour per day so that you don’t let the skills fade away. Try for more only if you are sure that you will be able to afford it in the long run. (And make sure you plan for any last minute emergencies as well!)
Secondly, keep a small pad and pen with you at all times. Yes a mobile phone could serve as replacement but it isn’t always as effective. These two help in being within reach when an idea suddenly catches your attention and you want to capture it in its full glory before you forget it all. Better be prepared than be regretful. (And try not to use its pages for non-creative writing purposes unless necessary.) The voice recorder app would work just as well in this regard, provided you are willing to hear your own voice repeat stuff about the same thing over and over again.
The third major advice for all other writing enthusiasts: Try to mix things up a little. Don’t always stick to any one story or you will find your disillusioned by it sooner or later. It is said correctly (as I am sure you all already must be knowing) that too much of anything is not healthy. So unless you are writing a short story that you think you can finish really quickly. Otherwise, keep multiple projects in progress so that you can switch stories (and their worlds and characters and all that stuff) so that you can feel your interest renew. Of course, not everyone will be able to do this. For them, all I can advise is to walk away from the project and shelf it for some time. Someday you will return to it. But let it rest for now so that you can fill your imagination with more ideas before returning to that world. (Though don’t make a habit of this though because it wouldn’t be nice if you just keep piling things up in your incomplete list.)
And finally, the fourth major advice I can think of presently: Don’t revise. You wrote what you needed to write. The battle of re-editing and re-writing needn’t be done on that same day. Let them remain for some other day. If you ever do take breaks from writing and need to re-read to remember all that you put your characters through, then you can do your edits but don’t do them while you are fully in the writing mode. I re-edit (if I do) only when I am about to post the chapter on Wattpad. (Click here for my Wattpad profile, by the way.) Not before, and rarely after posting. (Unless I am restarting, of course.)
So these are the four major tips I can think for the approach portion. There are many others as well, like being in an isolated room, put on soothing music if you wish, etc. as per your wishes and requirements that affect the writing process as well. And so I will remind you all again that I haven’t promised anywhere to cover everything about every topic.
Still, what important thing do you think I missed? What should I have left out? Do you wish to agree to your support/objection to any of the four above? Please sound off in the comments below.