Written By Joseph Reilly, Editor in Chief
In 2014, I got a keyboard tattooed across my hands. That was my metaphorical way of saying that I would dedicate my career pursuits to writing. There would be no more “trying this” or “Maybe I’ll try that”. No, writing would be what I stuck to in the good times and the bad. No matter how hard this game would get, or how confused and uncertain times would be, I could look down at my hands to remind me that the answer is at all times–just keep writing.
And that’s the problem sometimes for writers, whether it’s fear, doubt, insecurity, burn out, the writing journey can be a treacherous one. The instinct at times isn’t to keep going, it’s more like “is this even a smart thing to pursue?” I’ve had those thoughts from time to time. Less than I thought I would. But something that always negates those thoughts–writing. Because writing is your product. The more you have of it, whether good or bad will take you somewhere, always.
Why You Should Write Everyday
It’s incredibly hard to keep a flow going. The writing muscle gets stiff and unresponsive very easily. One or two days of not writing can leave you time to doubt yourself, procrastinate, ruminate, you name it. But what I’ve learned in my six years of writing is that all those doubts and insecurities drip away when you just show up.
There have been countless times where it’s been a struggle to get to the computer. It can be hard to just start typing not knowing exactly where the prose will take you. But I promise you, it’ll take you somewhere. And once it does, nine times out of ten you feel surprised by what you turned out.
Write During The Bad Times
I honestly find it easier to write when times are bad. When I’m happy and want to just enjoy time with my wife, writing isn’t something I crave to do. But when I’m hating myself or feeling a little down, the inspiration comes pouring out. And that’s when you really have to muster up the courage to get behind the blank page. The bad times can serve as the best times to get words down. Ideas come from strange places. Embrace the down times and use it to your advantage.
There was one night in 2014 where things got really grim for me. I’d say it was my rock bottom. And that’s the night that I remember writing a chapter titled Anxiety in one of my books Hearts and Diners. This is from a review of the book five years later:
“Wow! What a fantastically dark and unnerving romantic tale of depression, jealousy, and secrets.”
You see, one of the few times I got praise in my writing came from a very dark place. Now, I wouldn’t say to go live under a dark cloud for your craft but you should definitely take advantage of those clouds when they fill your metaphorical skies.
Write When You Have Nothing To Look Forward To
Stephen King once wrote: “Life isn’t a support system for art–it’s the other way around.” You shouldn’t make writing your entire world. But when life flips the script on you and things go awry, I’ve found that writing is always there. When you’re stuck in a dead–end job, that WIP can feel like the ticket out. When you’re sick in bed, or feeling lonely, writing can give you a sense of purpose, achievement, and can be that support system when times are bad.
Write and Read To Practice
I’m guilty of not reading enough. I’ve gone through periods on my life where I skipped a day of putting words on the page. But as a writer, the only outcome for that is feeling crummy. You can’t get away with not reading as a writer. I’ve tried it. And you always come back to books for either inspiration or bettering your craft. Reading is practice. Writing is practice. Your brain needs both if you’re going to be a writer.
Part of the writing community is about getting feedback. When it comes to your prose, it’s best to get as many eyes on it as possible because your own will always be bias. You need a fresh perspective.
We here at Short Story Avenue know how difficult it can be to find those honest and unbiased eyes for your work and that’s why we offer truly affordable beta reads so you can get feedback on your WIP or manuscript.
Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org