Writing is a risky business. A while back, I told writers to fire their imaginary editors. Those imaginary editors know all the dangers. They know your writing is awkward and hackneyed, you can’t spell worth a damn, your love scenes make people giggle, and your fight scenes would result in a defeat for your protagonist in any real world setting. They know readers won’t like your writing, you won’t get an agent, you won’t be published, and if you do get published, every single member of your family will cut off communications from you because they are convinced you are writing about them. And if you think you’re doing a pretty good job, you’re probably a smug asshole who irritates everyone around you . . .
Well, you care, obviously, or the prospect wouldn’t frighten you and the previous paragraph wouldn’t have interested you at all. The reason you have to fire your imaginary editor is that the answer to all of that is “So what?” If you never wrote anything at all, you wouldn’t have to face any of those prospects, but the moment you were born you started taking risks and you haven’t stopped yet. Why stop now? Especially since you like writing?
If you have been writing all month, you have a large chunk of verbiage assembled, and that’s pretty impressive. When you finish the month, why not start revising it and thinking about getting some readers? Seriously, why not?
If you haven’t been writing, don’t bother berating yourself. You want to write, obviously. So sneak it. Write in your spare moments. Write in secret. Write on the train. Carry a notebook with you, or a laptop. Treat writing as if it was your favorite guilty treat. It should be a guilty pleasure, even better for your mental health than chocolate chip cookies or ice cream.*
What do you have to lose?
Tomorrow: Revision – Seeing again
*I don’t know if it’s as good for my mental health as buying stuff. I always seem to find time for buying stuff, especially fountain pens. Even when I don’t have any money, I go to thrift shops. But then I write about it later on.