Work Ethic and Stigmatization
Fleshing out ideas
One of the major reasons I'm an enormous fan of Joe Hill, author of Heart-Shaped Box, is that he holds a very humble view of the literary world and strives to be successful without the help of his father. In the video above, he makes a valid analogy between putting up drywall and writing.
When I first started writing, I had an idea that I would only write when I felt inspired. Anything I wrote while uninspired would read like I wrote it without that same inspiration (duh?!).
True, some of the best work comes from the moments when a writer cannot stop jotting down ideas for their manuscript, but like Hill said, sometimes you turn out the most work when you're too tired or burned out to write.
If there's something I learned throughout college, it was that I could be very prolific. Now, quantity doesn't mean everything, but it is a good mindset to have.
If you can maintain a steady shift of writing, as you would with a 9-5 job, then you will produce many more volumes of work. If you're working on a novel, dedicate yourself to a certain word count ever day. Some days you'll find yourself struggling with the minimum, and on other days you might write an infinite amount more. I personally throw kudos out to Cathy Day ( The Circus in Winter) for showing me the website 750 words.
750 words is to writing what social awareness is to smokers. If you try to quit smoking, it might be rather difficult, and the support or ridicule of friends, family, and/or fans can really push you to try harder. When you tell people you're quitting smoking, perhaps it will add a level of pressure to actually do it. The same goes for writing. Saying you're a writer isn't good enough, when you're sneaking a literary cigarette on your downtime. Show them what you've actually done. Let them see your word count and possibly have the access to see proof you actually wrote.
Along with this mindset, it's important to always, always, always write. Even if the words on your page turn out to be utter shit, keep on writing.
Sometimes work and family seem to hinder your writing time. Make time for yourself like you would the gym. If you work 9-5, write 6-8 and 6-10.
Whatever works for you, do it and stick with it. It's a good method, trust me. After you've climbed to a point at which you write on a regular basis, there's something else you're going to need.
Another point Hill brought up was the difference of venue.
In England, the genres of the fantastical are legitimate. Genre fiction and literary fiction are one in the same, so to speak.
For instance, Edgar Allan Poe is a great literary author in the United States, although he clearly wrote horror, mystery, and suspense. Don't let barriers bring you down.
There's a lot of pressure out there not to write what it is you love to write. If you know it, it'll show. If someone tells you don't struggle to be literary, go mainstream, stick with what you love. If someone wants you to ditch your sci-fi novel to go literary, ask what's the difference, who says, and what authority do they have? Then keep arguing because some people are going to have an angsty answer.
There are times when I look at some of my work and wonder if it's any good. I believed in the idea. I believed in the writing as I wrote. At times, I still enjoyed certain aspects of my writing as I edited and redrafted. Nonetheless, after I heard people say "Eww, horror" or after I compared my work to others, I faced doubt.
Stab doubt in the fucking heart, and when it's dead, lean down and slit it's throat. (This is all figurative language by the way.) If you believe in what you do, who's to say you're wrong? And you should never waste time comparing your work to others. You aren't the other authors, and you never will be. Don't try to be the next J.K. Rowling; be the first you.
As you as you keep working on your writing, maintain a regular schedule, and keep your head high, you'll do just fine. One day, I hope to pick up your book on my travels. Take it from authors like Joe Hill - The only thing that matters about writing is that you write, and maybe, people like to read what you've written.
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Fear, focus, and the future. C.M. Humphries talks about writing, horror, and whatever.