Sometimes its all you can do, plod along. Rapid progress is always nice but rarely achievable. Doing big things in one fell swoop is generally impossible and is very daunting. Like writing a story. Whether its a novel or a short story there's little prospect of doing everything required at one sitting.
So, best not to try.
Many times I've heard the refrain 'I'll write my book when I'm [insert here a set of conditions that might never happen].' Nobody has the time to write. There's always something that needs doing. That's why a writing habit is so important. Writing every day, even if it's only a few words, is the best gift you can give yourself.
The arithmetic involved is compelling. I can write about a thousand words in an hour. So, if I wrote for twenty minutes a day I would have 121,000 words a year. A fat fantasy novel or two skinny crime thrillers! Twenty minutes a day!
I'm sorry to bang on about this but if you can't grant yourself twenty minutes to do what makes you feel good then you're not having a good day.
So I'm telling you to write every day.
I'm also suggesting that if you don't manage to write then don't feel bad about it. Be kind to yourself. But remember that writing is actually being kinder to yourself than forgiving yourself for not writing.
Then there's another thing. Write for yourself. Don't worry about readers in general or a reader in particular. In my experience, if you don't have fun writing it then nobody is ever going to have fun reading it. Equally, if your guts aren't churning with emotion as you put down the words chances are that it will leave most readers cold.
The publishing bit has been dealt with in numerous previous posts (as has this advice). Don't worry about markets or genres or what you think might grab the eye of a literary agent. By the time you've competed your story, the market will have changed anyway.
Do seek help in improving your writing. Join a writers group, find someone to mentor you, don't take any notice of the effusive praise lavished on your work by your friends and family.
That's my heartfelt advice.
It works for me.
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