Why You Should Kill Your Writing Perfectionism Today

Do you suffer from writing perfectionism?

Do you stay on a chapter or a paragraph for days, weeks, or even months until that first draft is “perfect”?

Well to be fair I think we all find ourselves doing this to some extent.

In today’s post, I’ll teach you why it’s important to keep moving on in your

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first draft and how doing so will benefit your time, overall story, and sanity in the long run.

Okay first things first. I think it’s clear you want your book to be the best out there in terms of clarity, entertainment, as well as being well written. Am I right?

But how long is “long enough” to write, rewrite, correct, change, fix, or modify your writing before it become ready to be published or sent to professional editors?

The truth is there is no magic number that is the right for how many drafts it’ll take for a book or story to be “perfect”. Eventually, you have to finish and show your work to the world or give it to a professional editor to help you take your work to the next level.

The goal is to finish. The goal has always been to finish, but the problem lies if you are stuck on making that first draft perfect the first time you write it because, more likely than not, you’re going to have to change something again later on anyway.

Let me explain.

The problem: when you correct your words, sentences, phrases, etc while you are still in the first draft stage all of your work is still at risk of being changed again when you start your second draft.

What if while writing you decide to change a character’s goal or motivation? That’s an important detail in a book and if you change your mind you may find yourself having to start over with a blank page.

Yes, planning and outlining helps to prevent this but somethings you don’t realize until you’ve actually started writing the words. You may come up with an even better idea for something. Then what?

All your perfectly polished words from before would have to be erased for words that fits with your new idea.

That is why time is wasted perfecting a first draft while writing without finishing the book first. Once you have your book done from start to finish you can see the story in all it’s glory or non-glory and make any big or small changes without worrying too much about grammar and punctuation.

This will save you TIME.

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The solution: Create an outline for your book before you even get started writing. If you’ve already started writing the first draft, stop and create your outline so you know how your book is going to play out in words.

It may seem to make sense in your head but just like math sometimes things can be a lot more clear when it’s written in words and you can see your words and ideas in front of you.

If you need help creating an outline please check out this post How To Outline a Novel

Once you have your outline finished going through the first draft should become a lot easier but it’ll only be fast if you focus on getting the words done and worry about editing those words once you have everything you planned on working with.

You can’t edit a blank page.

Once the first draft has been written you are free to focus completely on editing and changing without the annoyance of deleting well polished and perfectly spelled words.

But don’t get caught up in perfection in the editing stage either. Some authors take months even years not putting out something because they struggle with perfection.

I sometimes do too. I change my mind on scenes, chapters, even characters names WHILE writing and it sucks because I feel like I’ll have to start over in the changes are too big to work around.

But that’s okay. writing and rewriting is what being a good writer is all about. It’s when we never publish lies the problem.

Nothing in life is perfect. Not me. Not you and not your book. Someone, somewhere is not going to like your book no matter how hard you work on it. Readers have different tastes and some of your work will connect with them while some won’t. And that’s okay.

When you let your stress go of having it perfect, you’ll find yourself writing more, editing better and putting out work faster because of the time you’ve saved.

Do your best to edit. Give it to professional but don’t keep revising forever just because it “needs one more run through”. You have to take a chance and see what people think of your work or else you would never ever know.

Besides what if you change something you thought was bad that was really actually good?

Hope you’ve found this helpful. Please share with someone you know who’s new to writing.

How do you overcome your writing struggles of being perfect? Let me know below.

The #1 Tip For Better Dialogue

Let’s face it. Writing dialogue is not the easiest task in the world. I felt like I had to practice for years with conversations in my head of people going back and forth just to feel the natural rhythm that good dialogue has.

But there is one major thing I’ve noticed after years of practice and that’s that all good dialogue reflects the characters that are talking in some way, shape or fashion.

Simply put: The better you know your characters, the better your dialogue

Most of the time dialogue is used as a creative way to get information from one character to another, however, a preacher( who may be soft spoken, careful with their words, etc) is going to use different words than a drill sergeant who may be more blunt and straight to the point.

Personality plays a role, who they are talking to plays a role, and also the character’s lifestyle or career.

One thing you can do right now to make your dialogue better is really think about who each of the character are in the conversation, what their past were and how their life experience (like the preacher and the sergeant) may impact not only their dialogue but their tone of voice, their patience when talking and their ability to even explain themselves well. It all comes together, just like real people.

The better you know your characters the easier it will be to put your mind in their shoes and say something that a person like them would say. For example, a kid trying to explain something cool is going to sound a lot more exciting than an over worked librarian who can’t wait to go home.

Dialogue is not black and white simple words on a page with quotes around them. It is your character’s chance to talk and communicate with the outside world and their voice should be as unique and special just like any other person in real life. Because to them, the world you’ve created is their life.

Thank you reading and comment below what you do to make your dialogue stand out as a writer.

5 Quick Tips For Creative Fiction Ideas

Get Your Writing Idea!

Get Your Writing Idea!

I know sometimes creative ideas comes naturally but for most of us sometimes we have to really think about a new idea.

So here are my 5 quick tips to help you get ideas for your future book…

1. People Watch

People are weird. Not everyone’s the same. Especially not me. By watching people interact with their friends, family and the world around them may spark an idea for a new character for a book. Or even a whole plot idea.

Eh, it could happen.

2. Read Books

Sometimes you can read a book and really like how the writer wrote it, like I find myself doing all the time. But sometimes, you may wonder why an author made a certain choice with their story and you wonder how the story would have turned out if such and such would have happened instead. Now you have an idea in your head.

Reading books can spark new ideas maybe totally unrelated because your imagination is already working so thinking about different situations the characters you’ve just read could be in can really give you some great ideas.

3. Ask Yourself ‘What-if’ Questions

maybe you have a simple thought in your head. One way to get your imagination pumping is to ask ‘what if’.

Let’s say you’re thinking of a story about a girl who gets bullied in school. But then you ask yourself ‘what if’. What if the girl was teased because she had wings? What if she had wings because she’s from a different planet? What if she got crashed to Earth and is now an orphan?

Asking ‘What-if’ questions to a simple thought or idea can spark a whirlwind of ideas and situations that you never thought could go so far. Which is a good thing.

4. Travel

If you need new ideas, getting out of your area and exploring other places can really do the trick.

Traveling in and of itself is rejuvenating to any creative spirit and if you travel to far places to see things you’ve only saw in books it can spark an array of ideas even if it’s simple takes place in the city you traveled to.

5. Take From Your Personal Life

We may think our lives are boring but I bet if you think hard enough you can think of something that happened to you in the last year or even when you were a child that will spark a creative idea for your book.

What was your personally like when you were in high school? What kind of technology was going on then?

Do you know people know who’s lives would make for a good book? Since it’s fiction you can work off a few things or add things to make it better but thinking about your life or the lives of people you know could be inspiration.

Thank you for reading my post! I hope you find it useful. If you did please share with a friend 🙂

Happy writing!

Where do you get your inspiration from? Let me know what inspires you in the comment section.

The Pros and Cons of an Outline

6789978-book-and-pencilsIt’s finally November! Aka National Novel Writing Month. Since I am currently working on my sixth book already(before November started) I won’t be participating in the writing a book in a month’s time challenge. I’m still in the write a book before the year’s over challenge which apparently I’m struggling with…

Anyway, Outlines!

I recently just started using outlines in a totally different way before thanks to James Patterson’s Master Class on writing. Wonderful tip about outlining by chapter with details as opposed to my old way which was just bullet points of what’s going to happen. His way is much better because it always you to structure your chapter in ways that you can ensure your readers are going to want to read the next chapter and then the next. So on…

I put this method into action and of course I loved it!

But then I got to thinking…

Like with all things there are pros and cons and I want really look at the pros and cons of writing an outline before you write. Here’s what I came up with:

Pros:

1. Direction

  • Sometimes you just don’t know where you story is headed, but one pro of the outline is that you can see your story and the direction it’s heading in. This will allow you to create a clear path.

 

2. See Faults and Gems

  • You’ll be able to spot what works or doesn’t work in your story before you start writing and change it.

3. Save time

  • This goes with point #2 because when you spot things that doesn’t work out, you can save time by fixing it in your outline before writing.

4. Perfect for planners

  • Some people like to plan and some like to write without planning so if you’re a planner outlining is perfect for you!

Cons

1. Prohibit Creativity

  • Sometimes if your outline is too detailed you may fill like you can’t any wiggle room to create or change things without having to redo the outline.

2. None preferable for some

  • Some people don’t like to plan when they write and prefer to just let the story carry them where it wants to carry them, so outlining wouldn’t be very helpful in this case.

3. Extra Step

  • Creating an outline would be an extra step in your writing that could take from 30 minutes to days to perfect. This can slow down getting your book written, but for others it’s an important step not to pass up.

Bottom line:

It’s really up to you whether to use an outline, but for me I find it very, very useful because it gets the idea from my head and on to paper. It’s a way that I can assure my story makes sense and not something crazy that my brains made up.

I recommend trying to outline. If you need help, check out my post How to Outline A Novel then get started. Thanks for reading and happy writing!

Do you outline? Share your thoughts about outlines in the comments below.

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5 Quick Ways To Finish Your First Draft

Sometimes I feel like the rough draft is the longest stage in the writing-a-book process. It’s all brand new stuff that’s trying to get out of my head at once. Then I realize that sooner I can get the first draft out, the sooner the revision process can begin.

But that draft has to be done first.

  1. Close your eyes and type.

You’d be surprised how far closing your eyes can help you picture the scene in your head, be in the character’s mind, or open your creativity. Blocking out the distraction of the outside world around you, even for a few minutes can spark new eyes, push your story out and really make you focus on your story. I dare you to try it the next time you’re sitting down and stuck on words.3121066506_bd0b6795f1_m

2. Create a detailed outline

What really helps me write faster is to create a chapter outline so I know what to write in that particular chapter. I’ll know how to start the chapter and how to end it. That way I won’t ramble on about nothing without getting to the point. The less fluff a story has the better!

3. Get excited

Passion in your writing is going to be the main thing that’s going to propel you to write fast. If you’re excited about a scene or chapter than you’re more likely to write faster. The trick is to have this level of passion and excitement throughout your whole story. If you’re bored, then your readers are definitely going to be bored, too.

4. Get out the house

Sometimes it’s hard to work in the same place you eat, sleep, and goof off. Try getting out the house to write and go to places like the library, coffee shop, or any place that’s just for work. This can also help block out at home distractions.

5. Set the timer and race

My favorite thing to do when I really want to up my word count is to see if I can write a thousand words in an hour. That’s 500 words in 30 minutes and 250 words every 15 minutes. This forces you to get in the zone and once you’re in the zone you just keep typing. I’ve actually done this with a 1500/hour goal and still win! It’s very fun so try it the next time because it also helps build up your writing speed.2746117951_ba77914e86_m

Well, that’s my five quick tips on how you can get your first draft done and out of the way so you can start editing. Maybe even write 2nd and 3rd drafts! I wish you luck.

Tell me what you do to write faster down in the comments. What’s one thing that stops you from writing your first draft? Let me know below!

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