Hi, it’s E! This week I have a guest post by the lovely Chrystele. We are doing a blog exchange, so you can find my post over on her blog: https://www.chrystelemyriamuni.com/bleedingink.
Hi! Hello everyone! My name is Chrystele, and I am so happy to be here with you guys for this blog swap! I wanted to thank E. for choosing me to do this! I think it’s great to be able to read about people’s side of experiences or stories, so this idea of a blog swap or collaboration is very interesting.
I’m French, but I write in English. As weird as it may sound, words come easier in English than in French, but trust me, in the beginning it was not the case! I wrote an article about why I write in English and not in French, but this time I wanted to dive in more about how I manage to keep my work (whether it’s my blogs or my books) as structured as good as I can. I’m a perfectionist, so I really look at details (sometimes too much, to be fair with you). But as I look back on my work, what I thought was perfection is far from it. It lacked a lot of things. For instance, my stories only had dialogue and not enough narrative. There was no explanation, no way to know who was speaking, and of course a lot of typos.
It took time, of course. Like everything that you are learning, you need time to master it. Writing is an art, and art is something that you get better at the more you do it. It’s something that you put your heart and soul in it, but sometimes you let your head get in the way and think that you are not enough. Most of the time, you just need either help or more practice, or both.
Writing is an art, and art is something that you get better at the more you do it.Chrystele Miriam
What really helped me with my writing was reading. I used to only read in French, so my vocabulary in English wasn’t wide enough for me to write something that wasn’t full of repetition and errors. So, I started to read in English, and now (long story short) I am losing my French, and I have to force myself to read in French… Ah, irony, my sweet friend.
What I would suggest would be to have a beta reader. Having someone with fresh eyes and different ideas and reading experience than you can help you see mistakes that you didn’t in the first place. No matter how many times you read your work, there is one typo that will just get through the cracks…I can’t tell you how many traditionally books I have read that had typos! Writing takes time. It’s something you need to be patient with. I’m not much of a patient person. When I finish a project that I am proud of, I just want to share it with the whole world! That was my main mistake with my debut works: I posted it as I wrote it. I am doing it today again, for one of my short stories on Wattpad, but this time it’s on purpose. It’s a way for me to have fun. Maybe one day I’ll really work on this story and publish it, but for now it’s not in the projects.
If it’s something you want to publish and promote and talk about, it has to be something clean, clear, and proper. And by that, I mean it has to make sense. Not just to you, but to your audience. Avoid typos as much as possible. As I said, there is always going to be one that goes through, but the lesser, the better. Target your audience. If you want a general audience, I suggest to not over complicate it. If you have a specific audience, you can go into more technical terms and such. You have to consider who you’re going to write for. Otherwise, your work will indeed be out there, but it won’t be seen.
Re-reading your work is the key. I cannot tell you how many times I have read one of my works in progress to the point where I could no longer stand it…That is why I took a break from writing it. Which takes me to another point: do not be afraid to stop for a while. Sometimes when you’ve been at it for too long and too much, you might lose interest or you will block or you just might feel like you don’t want to write the story anymore. There is not a right amount of time for how long it takes to write a book (or any piece for that matter). It is totally okay to stop for a while, and you might even have a great result by coming back to it after. You will be able to see some typos or some details missing or not making sense. You might even have an idea for something that you would just crash on.
Do not be afraid to have many versions of one book. The work in progress I talked about earlier has had five different versions. The first draft will never be perfect. It’s where you discover your world, your characters. It’s where you dump your ideas. I use the first draft as a way to put every idea that I have for the story in, build the universe, the main events and such. I do not focus on the details on the first draft. I use the second draft to work on the timeline now that the main events are worked out. I have to make them make sense, avoid any plot holes, or events having different dates. I work on the details in between — the body of the story. I write a bit more about the characters. My second draft is really where I dive into the story. The third draft is where I care about the typos. I change some things such as chapters or how and when characters are introduced. Most of the time the third draft for me is the final one, but it can be more.
The bottom point of all this is: writing takes time, and it’s not easy. Asking for help is not making you a lousy writer. Imposter syndrome is hard and cruel, but trust me when I say that we’ve all been there. A second opinion or even a third won’t hurt you. It might do you good. All I can tell you is: No matter how easy it is to get lost in this process and terrifying side of being a writer, never forget why you write and why you love to.