Yes, that’s right, this week’s blog is named after a Journey song. It was inspired by an article I read offering writing advice from Ira Glass.
In the Writer’s Circle article, the author advises that, “As writers, we set the bar high. It may seem that our best writing is always just out of reach. We’re debilitated by writer’s block, plagued by self-doubt, crushed by criticism from others. There’s a lot standing in the way between the story sketch in our heads and the polished, final draft we know we’ve got inside us. Yet we push onward.”
Mr. Glass reassures that this happens to all writers. The difference between good writing and great writing? Perseverance and “persistence”. If writing is truly your passion and you can’t imagine what your life would be like if you couldn’t write, then despite whatever roadblocks hinder you, don’t give up.
Like with anything else, practice makes perfect. You can’t expect to be born a “great” writer or to become one overnight. The more you write, the better your writing will become. I know from experience, that sometimes an idea will sound brilliant in your head, but as soon as it is written out, it fails to read brilliantly. If this happens enough times, it can be discouraging, causing you to question whether or not you possess the talent needed.
Do you think your favorite authors woke up one morning and thought, “I’m going to write a book today” and did so in one go on their first try? Writing a novel is a long and painstaking process. It takes drafts and edits and rewrites before it is even fit for sharing, let alone publishing. And once it has been shared with another person (family, friend, editor, etc…), it is inevitable that they will point out mistakes that you failed to see. This doesn’t mean that you are a failure. It simply means that you are human.
As the article points out, “That feeling of inadequacy that gnaws at you after completing a first draft– it’s normal. It’s part of your growth process as a writer, and it proves you have something Glass likes to call ‘taste.’ In other words, you have high standards for the work you produce, and you’re unwilling to settle for less. Hold onto that feeling, and let it drive you to create more.”
As we continue to learn and grow in the craft, we continue to strive to be better, to do better than before. It is this drive that bridges the gap between good and great. With persistence and perseverance, you will not only be able to build that bridge, but to cross it as well. So, despite the nagging self doubt, the cringing inner editor or whatever else makes you want to throw in the towel, don’t stop believing that you have what it takes to create that polished novel you have been dreaming of.