To say that writing is a tricky business would be inaccurate. Writing is tricky, it is complicated, and it is undoubtedly one of the most draining crafts an individual can pursue – but it is not a business. Publishing is a business, editing is a business, proof-reading is a business, but writing…writing is a relationship. You write to create, to join your words to an audience, to join characters, to make worlds. That is not a job, it is a not a business.
Relationships are also tricky things, complicated and draining too – but they are beautiful. Each is unique; just as each writer is unique. Your approach must fit your individual situation and your perspective on writing and fiction. A good relationship is a great thing, and a healthy relationship is even greater. So how does one build a healthy relationship with writing? How does an author create a long term partnership with their craft, a partnership that can face the trials of the industry and remain inspired? It is not easy to do, but there are three easy points to remember in the pursuit of your true love with writing.
Communication is key in every healthy relationship. But how do you communicate with your writing? The answer: you communicate with yourself and with your goals. Be clear with your plot, with your characters, and with what you want to achieve. Create a storyboard, set word count goals for the day and mark off whether or not you have met them, list the top 10 reasons why you love to write, and 5 things to say to yourself when you feel like you should stop.
Commitment is fairly obvious, and it ties in well to your goal setting. Set goals, make plans, and write it all down. Buy a calendar specifically for your writing and mark your desired goals and word count for your story progress. Be sure to give yourself days off, let yourself have some head-space. In all relationships it is good to have space, and good to realise that space does not mean abandonment. Stick to your commitment; stay loyal to your story and to your vision. Work around your lifestyle and have moment where you don’t write, but simply remind yourself what it is that you love about fiction and the creative process.
Consistency goes hand in hand with commitment and communication. Inconsistent loyalty and discussion leads to a weakened relationship. Be realistic with your writing timelines and abilities; give yourself some breathing room to make mistakes and be frustrated, but also remember that you won’t move forward unless you are actually moving in the first place. It is better to go slowly than not at all, and better to have the speed of a tortoise than to crash and burn like a hare.
All three of these things are vital to a healthy relationship with your writing. You must start by realising that this pursuit is one you have chosen; you want to fall in love and stay in love with being an author. Write down the reasons why you enjoy writing stories, pen a plan for your plot, ensure you have a realistic set of goals, and then go for it. Really commit to your writing; be vulnerable with the process, be open and do not hide. Write your knight in shining armour; give them flaws and a crooked smile. Remember that you are allowed to have down days, and that up days are to be celebrated. Above all – be honest. Is it a bad day? The answer is either yes or no. Can you make your word count today? Yes or no. Do you really want to watch another cat video, or are you going to do some story research? Cats or plots.
Your writing is going to love you back. It is going to fight with you, it is going to give you pause and cause for doubt. Giving up on it will do nothing except end a story. Your work never finishes because you are a writer and you always have a tale to tell. Sometimes you need to shelve ideas, but never give up on your relationship with your craft. Communicate, commit, and be consistent with it, and you will have a healthy, happy relationship – do that and you’ll have plenty of stories to tell.