The soul-crushing weight of writing

As a writer, I do a lot of reading about writing. Yet here’s the thing; the more you read, the more overwhelming it can become.

One of my Christmas gifts this year was Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies. To be clear, the book is about how a dummy can write YA fiction, not how you can publish a novel for idiots. It’s a great book, but it’s also pretty daunting. There’s so much to know:

  • What is YA?
  • What makes it appealing?
  • How do you write authentically?
  • What research do you need to do?
  • What shape is the market in?
  • What groups and conferences should you be attending?

Ugh! It’s enough to make you quit before you’ve started. So here’s my advice, to keep you sane and keep you going. Ready?

Write for yourself. Craft the novel that you want to read, with characters you care about. If you’re in it for the status of publication, the royalties, film rights and maybe an appearance on The Jimmy Fallon show, you’re going to drive yourself crazy. Instead, fall in love with your story. That’s the curve I’m on right now. My story needs much more in the way of structure and I’m spending more time planning than writing. Boy, it’s worth it; forcing yourself to write authentically opens up whole new worlds of creativity. If you need help on this, I highly recommend K.M. Weiland’s Structuring Your Novel.

So there you have it. Don’t let yourself be crushed by the task ahead of you. Put first things first and make the story itself your prize. Everything else will follow.

Jez Fernandez Written by: