Yes it can be, but also rather rewarding. Here's a little something of what a writer's life can be like.
It might be worth your knowing that I no longer work full time. In pigs I was just too exhausted, at the end of the working day, to get anything done. So, through very supportive parents, I now work most of my days as a writer. Not an easy choice to make and if it wasn't for them I'd still be at that job. It was my dream job, but I was no longer happy, unable to get pen to paper. Yes, I had the weekends, and had half days, but I still had to check on the animals. Which put me off starting for I knew I'd have to force myself to stop. Once or twice I just did it anyway and got so engrossed that I forgot all about those afternoon checks. While no animals suffered, I did feel guilty for it was part of my job.
If it flows without thought, it will probably read awfully. Writing takes time and effort, far more than people may realise. I've written some stories like this, spending days bashing idly at my keypad and then come the editing stage, I found them to be rubbish. What followed was days, and sometimes weeks of tedious revamping. Now I take my time, think about every word used and how I structure my sentences.
Which makes the second draft that much easier. It is here, certainly for me, where the magic happens and where I can really get to grips with it. It is where I often find the flaws I gave the main character, if it's a long piece or a novel, have somehow managed to miraculously be either fixed, healed or functioning and where I can then give them more thought or scrap them entirely.
I often thought that writing should flow freely and I should be able to express my stories with words the very first time I set anything to paper or screen. On reading how other authors work and through watching interviews, I found this not to be the case and anything is always re-written. Which gave me the boost I needed to carry on.
I wrote a 10,000 word short story a month and a half ago, just bashed it out over a fortnight. Then left it, (very important for gaining distance from your work, which allows you to read through fresh eyes. You get to see things differently from when you first wrote it). I then re-read it for editing. This didn't go well and although I had given it time, it hadn't been enough, because I could see there were flaws, but just couldn't place where they lay. I was still too involved in the story. Baffled and bemused, I sought help from an online community. There followed a review of their comments. Some of their advice was ignored, whilst others, where I could see improvements to the story were adhered to. Of course they reviewed only part of the story, the rest was up to me.
Which is what I've been up to the last three-four days. The first day I hated every minute of it, and gave up in favour of writing something else. (It might be noted that, up to the time I uploaded the story for editing advice, I'd thought this to be the best piece I'd ever written, in short story terms at least. After reading their thoughts, it wasn't the worst I've ever done, but not as good as what I wrote whilst awaiting said reviews.)
The second day I just got on with it, battling with myself to just carry on. Taking out bits that didn't need to be there and cutting sentences where appropriate. The third day was much the same as the first, although I did push myself a little harder and managed at least some of the work. So today, ready for the challenge I set forth and before I knew it, I'd been at it three hours and the work was almost done. There I leave it to pick up again tomorrow. I did come up with a cool ending. I roughed that out, so tomorrow will start at the ending to make sure it reads well. Then I'll probably read the new version, from start to finish out loud, adjusting where necessary.
Reading out loud, may seem silly, but does help the mind focus the story. Getting someone else to read it can be better, though with my new laptop I have taken to recording myself and listening to the played back version. Also helpful.
Charles F Bond is writer of fantasy and paranormal fiction. He wishes you much merriment in the pursuit of good reading.
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