The Writer and the Lone Wolf
If you're a writer, I'll bet my bottom dollar that you've dreamed of the day your book will get snatched up by an enthusiastic publisher and placed in the hands of millions of adoring readers. If you're smart, you'll throw a six or seven-figure book deal in the daydream, a giggling chat with Ellen D., and plan your trip to Europe where you'll research your next book AND...
But I get ahead of myself.
First, you must write.
So, let's swat away the dream clouds for a second.
Writing is hard. It's not like the movies where Aspiring Author Samantha, goes through some heartbreak and writer's block, but at the end, sits down among her ficus plants in her industrial loft and writes her fabulous memoir in the matter of a week. And then, (obviously) it gets picked up by an editor in a matter of days and our little Samantha is famous, rich and twenty-two! Yippe!
Good writing is rewriting. And rewriting and rewriting and rewriting and re...well, you get the point.
First drafts are usually only good for firestarters. Mine was. But I learned from it--boy did I ever learn!
A writer is a lone wolf. Sure, you may have your writer group, forums, blogs you follow, and books you read, but when it comes down to getting your manuscript finished it is completely up to you.
The difference between an aspiring author and a published author is this: aspirations mean nothing if you don't take steps to the end goal. There are millions upon millions of people who would love to write a book, who talk about it and write down little anecdotes here and there, but few actually make it to the finish line. Because, as I said before, writing is hard! It's not for the faint of heart! It requires creativity, dedication, patience, and sacrifice.
Sometimes being the lone wolf can get discouraging, so let's talk practically about how to keep motivated and excited for ever writing session.
A Lesson from the Greeks
The Ancient Greeks had beautiful a word called elegchos. It means a personal conviction that is based on evidence. It is being certain of something that is not yet a concrete reality and living it out until it becomes so.
The idea behind this is to visualize where you are going and where you want to be. It is an old philosophy, but it not dead. In fact, it is readily practiced by successful entrepreneurs and business leaders today. These people take time out of each morning to sit quietly and visualize their day, week and year. These principles can be applied to your unfinished manuscript.
By imagining yourself achieving the end goal you are setting yourself up for success. You are empowering yourself.
Take a moment right now to picture your WIP (work in progress). Think about what you've written, what you love about your idea. Think about your favorite scenes and your story's theme. Now, imagine all the work you have left to do OR the things about you WIP that you don't like.
Perhaps that can be defined easily, "I have five chapters left to write."
Or maybe it's more daunting, "Too much happening in the plot, need to uncomplicate things."
Now imagine yourself doing those things and doing them well. Be as specific as possible.
Then, take out a sheet of paper and write out some clear goals/changes that need to be made. (It helps me to convert the work that needs to be done into hours so that I don't feel so overwhelmed.)
As long as you are working toward your goals it doesn't matter how you do it. Your task is to take charge and be a better writer than you were yesterday.
We all may be lone wolves with only our life experiences and imaginations to guide us, but we can still howl encouragement to each other across the canyons.
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