An attitude game - how to control your work and become a better writer

Updated: Dec 10, 2020

Starting a new work is always a thrill: the warm sensation of having every bit of the story in mind, the confidence that the first draft will be quick and easy to build, the creative process that pours copious ideas for scenes and characters.

It's probably the best sensation any writer could feel. It's the aspiration of eternity that embraces us.

The problem is when reality hits us with a firm, fast fist and brings us back to mortality.

Which is a poetic way to describe the end of the creative process per se and the beginning of the construction, refinement and editing of the text we are creating.

Many writers at this point just don't know how to cope with the technical part of the job, the more precise and demanding bit. Being a writer and eventually an author requires so much more than just being able to imagine scenes nobody yet seen. It's the ability to surprise the reader and to let one picture the things we've written with hard work and sleepless nights; the ability to never bore someone or to let one wait and wait for something to happen and then failing on the delivery.

And sometimes, many writers aren't able to achieve that for one simple reason: they don't know how they're writing exactly.

They're not aware of their actual abilities, and they've got the wrong attitude. They are in control of the content, but they're not able to review and critique their work.

Being able to control and auto-criticised the manuscript should be the basic that writing a book requires.

Sometimes books need to be novels, some others they need to be tales and others again it was a novelette the whole time, and a novelette needs to come out.

It's not de rigueur to fall into one specific and sole category to call oneself a writer.

Padding a text out or shrinking it, it's of no use in writing something. It's just an error whom one commits; but if you can't be honest with yourself and your work, you are going to create something that is simply messy or defective.

It's an attitude game. You must be self-critical.

So, are there any solutions?

The first thing anyone should always remember is that none is in control of what the story is going to be or look like, but the writer who's writing it. Assuming the writer who's writing that story is coherent with his abilities and goals.

If while writing, the story seems too lengthy and boring it probably is lengthy and boring and its content should be not only reviewed, but cut as well. If instead the story seems to fly over too many necessary details, one should enlarge the scenes and make it more descriptive.

But what happens when a writer is not coherent?

A magnificent kiss scene becomes a 3 lines debacle and/or the colors of the cat becomes a rather too descriptive 5 pages long scene.

Trying to fall into one specific category to pursue your mythical idea of Authorship is not right. It just doesn't work this way.

No matter if you're talented, committed and whatnot, it's going to end up in the same unfortunate way: you're going to produce something not good.

Your first, second, third and last concern must be the end product. Not the money, not the glory, and neither the fame. It must be to write well.

She's working hard to write well

Now, on the practical side of things: let's have a look at the three general rules of thumbs to improve;

  1. Be honest with yourself! Try to understand if you're ready to write a novel or if you really want to create a tale. If you think your style and your story require more pages and more scenes, do not force yourself in reducing the text. It will lack flair and it will mutilate the story. Similarly, don't overdo if you think you're not yet ready to undergo hundreds of pages of descriptions and dialogues.

  2. Edit, edit, proofread and edit. Once you've finished the first draft: edit it, read the text, proofread it and edit it again. If at the end of this process you think there's something off, try to understand if description are good or not, if there's need to rewrite your dialogues or if drastic cut or additions are necessary. Do not fix yourself with achieving thousands upon thousands of words if it isn't right, or do not reduce artificially your content.

  3. Ask for help! When you have your manuscript ready to go, and you think they could publish it, take a hot bath, relax yourself and the nerves and then stop thinking about the publication. Instead, ask for help; an acquaintance, a colleague, a professional reviewer, whoever. The only thing that matter is to let someone that is not you or a close friend review your manuscript. Friends cannot be helpful as they would be biased or don't want to offend you, and you are simply too much attached to your creation, so you wouldn't be impartial.

These three general rules can improve your works massively. It is an attitude game; the better your attitude is towards learning and being self-critical, the better the end results will be.

If you try to overdo or you're too shy to express fully, you're going to end up with a fail. And nobody should ever fail. So change your attitude, try to take control of your manuscript and be really and truly fair with your work. You're the first judge of yourself, aren't you?

Now write stories. Go create lives!

But do it with the right attitude.

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