Writing Secrets: Put publishing thoughts aside
When my first book was a work in progress, I would reward myself for a good day’s writing by allowing myself an hour’s worth of the “When my book is published” daydream.
I’m a big daydreamer. In the car, in the bath, making food … I create a story and live within it for the time I have available. If it’s a particularly good one, I may pick up on it later and continue where I was forced to leave off.
I was aware that my publishing dream was a fantasy, which is why I limited it. I didn’t allow myself to dream it at any other time. And I certainly never allowed myself to worry about it in real time. It was a reward for writing well, that’s all. Then I put it away.
We recently had a question from someone in our mentoring programme, who had blocked himself creatively by worrying about whether his was the sort of book likely to be published.
You can’t worry about that. I’m sorry, but you just can’t. It’s not healthy. If you’re focused too much on whether it will ever see the light of day, or what kind of people will read it, you’ll get stuck, or probably worse, write something that is stilted and constrained.
While you’re writing, think purely of producing the best book you are capable of. You’re writing for the sake of it, for the beauty of creating something unique. Until it’s done, that’s the extent of your job.
Creative Saturday, Muizenberg, Cape Town – 1 April
30-Day Writing Workout, online – 2 to 31 May
Venice Writing Retreat, Venice, Italy – 6 to 13 September
Click here for a complete list of our 2017 courses