Sometimes You Don’t Have to Do It Alone

Writers are often misled by the idea that our line of work is a solo job. And to an extent, that’s true. We are largely responsible for coming up with most of the ideas and constructing our plot and creating our world. However, you don’t have to go at it entirely alone, and trying to do such may be a fatal mistake.

I’ve been working on a certain fantasy series for several years now. Recently, I realized that I needed to drastically change some of the fundamentals and instead of trying to edit it, simply redraft the entire thing. Because I was still having problems motivating myself in doing this, though, I decided to enlist the help of my creative writing teacher at my high school, who’s read over some of my short stories before. We’ve set up an independent study of sorts, and now she’s really pushing me to work harder and focus more on my story.

What I’m trying to say is this: sometimes, you need people to keep you accountable and give you that extra push. Some people are able to tell others, “Hey, I’m going to write a story!” and then they’re motivated to finish. However, I need to actually have someone keeping tabs on me at all times — just the knowledge that people know I’m a writer is not enough to motivate me. What’s it like for you?

They don’t only have to help in the way of accountability either. Ever feel dry of inspiration? Try asking someone. Whether they’re a writer or not, everybody can have great ideas. And the fact that they look at the world differently than you do — and subsequently your story — is a wonderful thing.

Don’t know where to start? Are you a new writer? Or maybe someone who’s experienced with the craft, but just a little unsure this time, or feeling stuck. Try talking to people. Ask them for advice, inspiration, whatever. Whether it’s other writers, your family, or friends: people are full of good words; you’ll be surprised what you can get out of them.

One of the biggest times having other people as helpers comes in handy is when you have a story ready to show the world — well, maybe not quite ready. Basically, you need some beta readers first. Call on some of your favorite people, your best motivators, those who give you the best feedback and critique. I like to have an even amount of people who will just give me general advice, like how they thought of it and stuff (generally family and friends), and then those who will give me feedback with a more critical eye, things like grammar and plot structure (usually other writers).

Do you have people in your life who help you on your writing journey? What roles do they play? Do you prefer “doing it solo” or working with others?

I hope all your writing endeavors are going well. Thank you for reading.

~ J. Dominique