There comes a time when you have to stop reading How to Write books and articles.
I’ve gotten SO much shit for saying that over the years. It’s nice that more and more writers are saying the same thing.
“But you’re learning–”
You’re hiding in your invisible study, thinking Joyce Carol Oates or Stephen King has the magic formula.
Read. Keep reading. Read.
But stop reading How To Write books for awhile. A year. And actually write.
Finish what you write. Submit it to agents or publishers or magazines. Don’t let it be reviewed by people you will then owe a review.
Just write. Finish. Edit, polish.
If you’re writing a book, this will be a long, involved process. We all know this. But are you using the process to avoid being judged? Then write for your friends, who’ll only applaud.
Write some short stories and send them to magazines. Got a book finished?
“Yes, but I have to submit it to my crit group.”
Send it to a publisher.
Do you really know that it sucks? Then you can’t send it. Why are you online? Get off the Internet and rewrite that damned book.
Someday you’ll die. I don’t know when that’ll happen, but it won’t be on your schedule. That last day won’t be after you’ve established yourself as a great writer, probably. If you don’t get your writer’s nose broken a few times, it’s never, ever going to happen.
Create a schedule for writing every day. Stick to it. If you know you won’t stick to five hours, schedule one hour. If you can’t devote an hour a day to writing, you don’t want to write. You want to be Stephen King.
Stop running away because you’re afraid someone you really trust will say your stuff stinks and you need to keep at it.