Writing Advice

A Message to the Slow and Distracted Writer

This isn’t advice. These aren’t words to help you finish your story. It’s just a message, a shout out, a moment to say: it’s okay to be distracted, it’s okay not to write that novel today or tomorrow or for another year.

Writing is hard.

It’s said time and time again because it’s so true. Some writers can finish a novel in a few months, others take years to get to the end of their story. Just look at George R.R. Martin who has been working on the Winds of Winter for over 5 years – or even Stephen King who, though he has new books out every year, took over 20 years to finish the Dark Tower series.

Maybe you’re a slow writer. Other people can write chapters in the time it takes you to write a page. You struggle to find the words, maybe you can’t help but backtrack your sentence and retrack, editing as you go along. It is okay to write slowly, because every word you write is another word. Every sentence is one step closer to the finish line. It does not matter how long it takes you to get there.

Maybe you’re a distracted writer. It’s okay, so am I. Sitting down and writing, isn’t as simple as sitting down and writing. There’s a hundred other things going on, you need to plan, make a pinterest board for your characters’ outfits, and put that music soundtrack together. It’s okay to be distracted. Everything else you do, every story you flick betweeen (because maybe you just can’t settle on the one)gets you closer to finishing.That plan is necessary, even if you’ve redrafted it 100 times, it will help you finish your story. That pinterest board gives you a better visualisation of your character, how else are you going to describe them? You need those rock anthems ready in your playlist, it’s for the epic fight scene at the end of the novel.

Maybe you don’t write every day. Maybe you haven’t written for years. You’re plotting that story, you’re thinking about it, even if you’re just not ready to write it yet.

No matter what’s stopping you. Time. Inspiration. Speed. Distractions. You’re still allowed to call yourself a writer.

– Nadia


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