Almost every day I fight the the good fight of turning a blank page into one covered in words. In my head I refer to it as the battle to turn blank to black. Sometimes I win this battle. Some days I just can’t find the time and the blank page wins.
It feels like the page has the advantage. I have a family and kids, two other jobs, a growing list of things that need to be accomplished, and there are only so many hours in a day. All the page needs to do is just sit there and remain unchanged to win the day.
It feels like every precious writing session needs to be planned out. That I’m either writing something that fits, or I’m just adding more days, weeks and months to the empty space where I don’t have something new coming out.
On top of that, when I look for help or reassurance I feel like there is a vast spread of columns that treat writing as something more akin to an act of industry than something artistic.
Find your genre. Find the target audience. Look into what narratives are currently popular with that audience. Make sure to be aware of the rules pertaining to both the genre and the narrative trends. Experiences authors may find a rule or two to break. Don’t do more than that. Follow these rules. Follow. Then, make sure to pay your advertisers.
I understand. Most of us writers do want to be read and that does mean selling books. And, yes, being completely ignorance of trends in your chosen genre is not the way to be.
But perhaps neither is following all the rules.
We, as writers are blessed with the process of editing. That first draft is ours to go completely wild with. We can fly in the face if all the rules we want. Experiment and go crazy.
Have aliens attack during your romance. Make your fantastic dragon a robot. Heck, just have two characters sit and take about bugs for two pages. Do absolutely anything you want.
It might not lead to anything and might all need to be torn away. Or maybe just giving yourself the freedom to defy conventions will let your mind play and make connections you hadn’t seen before. Or maybe that experiment will lead to something that might not fit your current work, but excites you for your next project.
If we view writing as something that must be finished on a defined schedule, and for some of us that is very true, a tight process can be a boon. But, our writer’s imagination is our most powerful tools. And oftentimes rules are just ways to rein in what we most need to let fly.
Only you can write like you. Give yourself the chance to go crazy on that page, even if you are the only one who sees the result.
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