Like many authors, I wrote for years before I ever tried to get published. I wrote little stories that floated into my mind, with no more thought to the process than what the characters decided to say or where they wanted to go.
The more I wrote the more I wanted to learn. I wanted to improve. I set about discovering all the rules and different ways you should write. The way to vary sentence structure or how to stay in the same POV throughout a whole scene (which I believe is an issue for everyone starting out). And the more I worked at it the more my writing improved.
When I received my first publishing contract the whole game changed. Now I have to pay attention to what sells, and how I plan to market a book (and yes, I pay attention to all this while I'm writing not just after the book is completed). Now as a writer I have to balance the pressure to publish more books. , to write the stories that readers want, with the characters that were talking to me at that moment (which can often be the ones I should be listening to at that moment). Along with the added time and stress of promotion, while still trying to write and occasionally have a life.
I love publishing. I love almost every aspect of it. But it can wear on you, if you let it. Especially after the blockbuster but demanding year I had last year. And recently I've noticed that some of the joy for writing has been usurped by the business of being an author. My brain has been scattered, unfocused and unable to really click with my characters the way I used. I've been assuming it was a side effect of my burn out after last December, and it probably is, but it might be bigger than that.
So I decided it was time to refocus myself on what matters. I needed to reset my intention for my writing. Though selling the most books, or making the publisher happy are very important qualities for any writer, they aren't the most important parts to me. Writing for me has always been about creating stories and characters that I love.
After listening to a podcast about improving energy and focus they brought up an interesting thought. The host spoke about starting each day by stating your intention. Something clicked for me when I heard that, and I realized that's what I needed to do for my writing. I needed to set my intention.
For the last month, I've started out each of my writing sessions by stating what my intentions are before I get down a word. To write a great story, to entertain my readers, to create characters that I and readers will love. Just the simple act of writing down what I really intend with my writing has helped me to focus on what's really important and put the noise behind me. The noise of what others need, of what other things I should be doing, of what benchmarks I should be hitting.
Since I've started this process I've been able to get deeper into my characters and get down the more words than I have in a long time. I feel more connected to my writing and my characters than I have been in months. Not only is my writing going better, but I'm enjoying it more.
Is there anything in your life that's gotten off track that you might reassess your priorities? Try spending a second setting your intention. Its such a small thing, but its amazing how those small things can make all the difference.
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