Thursday, 3 September 2015

Stepping Away.

Writing is a funny thing. 
 
No two people do it the same way: some use outlines, while others just wing it; some believe in writing a first draft in three months, while others think it's better to take your time. There are rules that people like to break, old clichés that one person will stay clear of while another clings to it, and do your like your character names to have meaning or do you just pick names you like? 

No two people are going to agree on everything. But there is one thing that all authors I have seen tend to agree on above all else: 

You must write every day. 

I have always taken this to heart, because I believe it to be true. Practice makes perfect, and writing every day has always been a surefire way to get things finished. Initially, I didn't do it because it was a necessity to improving my craft. I didn't simply because I loved writing, and never wanted to go a day without it. These days, I try to do it in the hopes of getting back into the swing of things. 

Then about a week and a half ago, while my short story from my last blog entry was still giving me trouble, I decided enough is enough

I closed my assignment, turned off my computer, and did something I said I would never do. 

I stopped writing. 

I felt that I just needed to step away for a while. Ignore the barely-started chapters. Don't even think about that evil assignment. Everything was stressing me out, I was feeling really down, and I needed to take a serious breather. So for days, I didn't touch any of my work. I tried not to even think about it. And then something magical happened. 

Yesterday, about half an hour before I needed to leave for work, I was motivated. I opened up my assignment, which was about four-hundred words into what was supposed to be a one-thousand word short story, and I started writing. 

Twenty-five minutes later, the story was done. 

It wasn't perfect. Truth be told, I kind of hated it. But I knew that if I left it for after work, I was going to hate it even more and delete everything again. So without even re-reading what I had written, I sent it off to my trainer and put it out of my mind. 

In my own eyes, I had failed the assignment. Where my theme of choice was family, the main theme of my short story seemed to be death. Sure, there was a slight family theme, but it wasn't major. The story was pretty pathetic. 

And then I got my marks today, and I had another Distinction. 

What? 
 
It's just a much-needed reminder that we are our worst critics. I need to stop being so hard on myself, and just let things happen. 

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