You MUST Write Every Day! Unless You Can’t….

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Most how-to books, blogs, and writer gurus tell you that you absolutely MUST write every single day or you’ll never amount to anything as a writer. After all, practice really does make perfect.

Yeah, well, there’s no such thing as perfect, no matter how much you practice. While I agree that the most efficient way to become a great writer is to write as much as possible and to get your work critiqued so you can figure out how to improve, sometimes a little thing called life gets in the way.

I do write every single workday and I write on as many nights and weekends as I can. I rarely have a problem getting motivated and I write even when I’m not motivated. I get up between 5am and 5:30 every day to ensure that I get, at the very least, one hour of writing in every single day.  One rule of mine is that I write for one hour Monday through Friday – pretty much no matter what. My other rule is that I never HAVE to write on evenings and weekends unless I want to. Well, the truth of the matter is, I almost ALWAYS want to, but stuff like homework and kids and dishes and laundry get in the way to the point where I will get overwhelmed quickly if I write every night instead of taking care of those other things.

I almost never have a problem writing. I have a problem STOPPING. The hour between 6:30am and 7:30am seems to be the fastest of the whole day. It’s almost painful for me when I have to stop doing what I love after only one hour so I can spend the next 8 hours doing someone else’s bidding at my day job.

However…

I understand that not all writers feel this way. Many, many writers – GOOD writers – have trouble getting started or feeling motivated to write. This is normal and completely understandable. For sure, you will have to force yourself to write on a very regular basis if you want to have a chance at truly making it as a successful writer, but is not writing daily going to spell the end of your career before it begins?

Not necessarily.

There are two important factors that may determine how often you write:

How serious are you really about pursuing writing as a career?

How much time do you actually have available to write?

The answers for me are – I’m EXTREMELY serious and driven when it comes to my writing career and I don’t have a ton of time available, but I carve it out wherever and whenever I possibly can and this includes a firm daily writing schedule.

There are really a number of factors to consider when it comes to the time and energy that you choose to devote to writing. Do you want to self-publish and/or submit to agents as many books as you possibly can?  Or are you trying to finish one book just to see what happens? Are you writing a memoir for personal reasons – to tell your own story – but you don’t plan on making writing a career?  Are you independently wealthy or do you work a 40-hour work week? Are you single or are you married with three kids? Are you caring for an elderly parent or do you suffer from a disability that makes it more difficult for you to find the time and energy to write? Do you fit in three hours of television watching a day? Are you in school and studying for finals?

Each writer’s career trajectory is different and to make blanket statements that you MUST write every day or you’re a terrible writer and just don’t care about writing seems unfair to me.

Figure out what you really want to do and make a plan to do it. Life can legitimately get in the way sometimes, and it’s okay to give writing a break when you feel totally overwhelmed. If you’ve decided that you really want to write a book, all you have to do is just one thing.

WRITE THE BOOK.

In two months or two years – even in two decades. It’s all up to you.

– Linda Fausnet

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From FanFiction to Original Fiction

Today, Wannabe Pride welcomes guest blogger, Breanna Lee Brown!

I’ve loved to read and write for as long as I can remember. My teachers and family have always told me that I had a talent for writing. But it wasn’t until early 2012 that I started working on my first novel.  Before that, I hadn’t given it serious consideration. What changed? Well, you can thank J. K. Rowling for that. Just for fun, I started writing a Harry Potter fanfiction. It became really addicting. I eventually wrote stories based in the Hunger Games and Divergent worlds as well.  I loved getting feedback. Most reviews were positive, people asking me to write more. It gave me the confidence boost I needed. If you really want to be an author, I think fanfiction’s the perfect place to start. You can put yourself in a familiar fictional world and play around with it anyway you want to. Thanks to the kindness of readers, I decided to begin brainstorming my own original world. Once the ideas flowed out, I couldn’t stop. I realized soon that I had the makings of a trilogy in my hands.

How did it happen, you might ask? I was once told that I should write the kind of book I want to read. The first thing I came up with was the concept. At the risk of having no copyright yet, I can’t disclose much, but I can say that it’s a mix of genres. It’s young adult, science fiction, and historical fiction all in one.

A crucial part of my writing process was influenced by the workshop classes I took in college.  I had to write a few short stories, and as a group, my classmates and professor would critique one another, gaining extremely helpful advice along the way. Not just about our own writing, but the writing world.  Above all, I make sure that I’m always reading. Always learning what kinds of things make a book great or bad. It also tells me the types of books that are bestsellers.

I’m still hard at work on my first book- the third draft, to be exact- and I haven’t begun searching for an agent. Why? I firmly believe that all good things take time. I can thank my workshop teachers for that tidbit. Any amount of work I put into it now will benefit me later. It can mean fewer rejections from agents, and, especially, publishers.

My writing career has only just begun, so bring on 2014!

–          Breanna Lee Brown