A good question to ask yourself is why do you write? Is your passion for the writing itself, or a desire to become famous? Do you write to fill a deep-rooted need to expunge the words trapped in your mind? Do you feel creative, or burdened to write? Is it for the enjoyment, or the torture? When you pinpoint the why’s of your writing, your goals become clearer and you will rid yourself of the pressures you feel.
For example, I didn’t start writing to become famous. (though I feel ecstatic when selling a book or receiving a good review!) I wouldn’t reject the idea of being a well-known author, of course, but it wasn’t my main focus when I began this journey years ago. Instead, my ‘goal’ was distraction. At twenty-six, I was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and dilated cardiomyopathy. I had a three-year-old and a newborn at the time, and was given five to seven years to live. Happy to report that it’s been eleven and I’m still kicking! Anyhow, I used writing as a way to circumvent my frustration; a way to occupy my time and force death from my thoughts. In doing so, I discovered that I truly loved the craft and here I am today, working on my third novel. My point is simply this; ridding myself of the expectations has helped me to write more freely and thus, churn out some of my better work.
If you’re a writer then you know the elation of creativity as it works its way onto the pages of your manuscript. You also know the torture and understand the frustration of writers-block. You try and try to get those words out perfectly, but nothing comes. That’s when I step away: focus my mind elsewhere until I have something worthwhile to say. Otherwise, I find myself having a love affair with the delete button, erasing all my hard work that might have possibly been good if I had just given it the chance to sit and mingle within the paragraph. Hastiness will get you no where except sitting at your computer, staring at a blinking cursor.
If you write for yourself, strictly unapologetic, you’ll be much happier and perhaps find that writing from the heart is the way to go. Don’t worry about the reviews. Forget the mainstream ideals of perfection. Let go of the worrisome idea that it has to be perfectly polished. That will come soon enough when you get to the editing stage and that’s a whole other ballgame! Prepare yourself for the agony and possibly a few tears!