"A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people." Thomas Mann
When it comes to writing, I do not count myself as an expert—as long as I'm writing, I'm learning😊. However, after six (and a half!) books, I do understand my own writing style much better than before I started. And, despite my best efforts to the contrary, there are certain things (challenges? issues?) I still cannot change about my writing style/process. It feels like it's time to acknowledge them. Then, hopefully, I'll know in the future not to stress out when they happen. I can dream! In case there are any other writers out there who have similar quirks and might be interested to know they're not alone, here's a top ten:
1) I always start every book thinking, "I don't know if I can do this again. What if I can't do this?"
2) The half-way point of the book is always the worst part. When I look back on what I've written so far, I invariably think it's rubbish. I worry I've wasted my time. I consider starting again. I second-guess everything. Fortunately, I have always managed to persevere, and I've never had to rewrite the first half of the book.
3) I try to ensure my characters end up facing new life-threatening situations/enemies in each adventure. Because I don't outline my plots in advance, this results in a period of time—days/weeks—when I think I won't be able to come up with any way for them to escape. Yet, so far, I always have. (No spoilers—there's no guarantee that all of them always escape). I need to trust that my brain will find a solution even when it seems impossible!
4) I don't write a complete first draft. I edit as I go along. By the time I get to the end, I'm mostly happy with the story and content, prior to my editor applying her expertise to the manuscript, of course. I'm pretty sure this isn't recommended! Most of the advice seems to say you should focus on completing the first draft before you do any serious editing. However, when I sit down to write on any given day, editing what I wrote last time gets me back into the flow of the story. It might work for me because of the whole absence of plotting thing.
5) I worry that my writing speed is very inconsistent. There are days when I can write an entire chapter easily, and other days when an opening paragraph is the best I can do. There is no rhyme or reason to it. I could never be a two thousand words a day writer.
6) I try to write original stories but inevitably I fall back on some tried-and-tested tropes along the way. No wands. No Latin spells. But does magic glow silver? Yes. Yes, it does.
7) I'm still searching for a decent alternative to "he/she rolled his/her eyes." It turns up approximately seven or eight times in each book to demonstrate how my teenage characters are feeling and I wish I used it less!
8) I find taglines and back cover descriptions very very difficult to write!
9) I like using adverbs in dialogue tags. I know I shouldn't, because they tell rather than show the reader how the character is feeling. I try not to. I spend a fair amount of time failing to come up with alternatives. Perhaps moderation is the best I can hope for.
10) I use a thesaurus. Not often, but there are times I'm too tired or in too much of a rush to come up with a synonym myself.
Looking at it from a glass half-full perspective, none of the above prevents me from diving into my imaginary worlds with enthusiasm. However, I think I might have to write a future post with the top ten most amazing things about writing to balance the picture! If you're a writer, do you recognise anything in my list? Thank you for stopping by my blog today!