How I Cope With Hiccups In My Writing Journey

When you're trying to write a book there's always going to be things that come up that make you want to give up. It could be self-doubt, it could be your first rejection, but sooner or later you'll have a hiccup in your writing journey. I've had to deal with one recently where I've had to rework my entire timeline in order to make the story make sense. It's a tough thing to do when you think it's sorted but by going back and reworking I know I've made the story better.

Hiccups are going to happen

Trying to write a book is tough, and I have given up more than once. But I always come back to it which tells me it's what I'm meant to be doing. So here I am for the third time trying to get this novel finished.

Giving up before was me giving in to the self-doubt, I convinced myself I was a rubbish writer and it was pointless trying to finish. But at the end of the day there are thousands of writers out there and readers have their own tastes when it comes to writers, so why shouldn't they like what I do?

This time it's been a rework of the timeline that I've been struggling with, but this time I won't be giving up. I'm going to finish this first draft so that I can get to the gritty stuff. I want to accomplish this thing. By admitting to myself there are going to be hiccups along the way, and that I can cope with them, I'm ensuring I will continue writing. 

Plan to reduce hiccups

Planning has really helped me reduce the number of hiccups this time around. I've planned the timeline, what my characters are like, and I've planned when I write. While writing is a creative effort it still requires planning and I have to have the right circumstances to help me write. 

How I Cope With Hiccups In My Writing Journey | Coffee, a planner, and my mac are my go-to when I'm planning.
Coffee is a must, and so is a planner!

I like to have music on while I write, for example, but it has to be the right music. I can't have anything with lyrics because it's distracting so I'll often listen to classical, jazz, or ambience, and it really helps me get into the groove. Once I'm in the writing zone you can't stop me!

Have an 'ideas' page to prevent hiccups

While I'm writing my first draft I want to minimise the number of times I alter the story. But there are always going to be new ideas popping into my head, I had a new one just the other day. The thing about these new ideas is they're bright and shiny and might seem like a good idea to start with but if you take time out and follow your new idea you end up stuck again. Or at least that's my experience. Instead of adding new ideas into my story straight away I write them on an 'ideas page' then when I've got a minute away from writing I'll take another look at the idea. I let it fester in my head for a while, I think about it. If the new idea works, I may add it, but more often than not I'll abandon the new idea because it either complicates matters too much or is just a bad idea.

Research helps

Depending on the genre you write research can be a huge help. For me it's made a huge difference to my writing and my confidence when adding things to the story. I've spoken to retired Scenes of Crime Officers, Police Officers, I've done online research and made hundreds of pages of notes. And it's really made a big difference to me being able to stick with story and feel like I know what I'm doing.

How I Cope With Hiccups In My Writing Journey | Reading newspapers, online research, and talking people in the know.
Research is key!

Believe in yourself

Hiccups are going to happen. Self-doubt will eat at you. But the key is to keep believing you can do this - even if you think your writing is rubbish. So many times I have threatened to give up because I think I'm a terrible writer, but here's the thing - the first draft is meant to be rubbish! You're just supposed to be getting the story out, once it's out then you can work on making it better. 

Some days are easy, I get into the writing zone and get on with it. Other days I'll read what I've written and think I'm wasting my time. But like I said, I can always make it better later - getting it out is the most important thing.

For me the hiccups are just part of the writing journey and they make you who you are. Wanting to be better makes me work harder, and surely that's best for everyone - especially my readers. I want to put something out there that is good, not mediocre, and having a healthy inner critic can only help with that.

How do you cope with hiccups in your writing journey?

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