Updated: Apr 26
Every writer who has scoured the internet in search of writing advice—and by that, I really do mean every writer—has come across the writing guru's mantra: Just write.
You can ask a detailed question about getting published and someone will feel the need to leave their 'just write' comment. It's insufferable advice and lacks clarity. Writing doesn't magically solve all your problems. In fact, if 'just write' and do nothing else, you run the risk of falling into bad habits. How will you know if your grammar is correct if all you do is 'just write'? You can't.
I won't say that the advice isn't useful. In fact, this is what this article is about. However, its pervasiveness online creates an issue where I think a lot of writers don't know how to apply this advice.
When I hear the Writing Guru's mantra, I look at it as a, "stop thinking about these issues for now and continue writing until you've reached the problem spot." And this is wonderful advice. You don't need to think about publishing if you've only half your novel finished.
How does this apply to the writer's journey?
Well, a writer's journey is the path they take from the moment an idea comes into their head until that idea has been published (traditionally or otherwise). Every part of their journey requires concentration on different skills. First you have to write out your idea on a notepad. Maybe you're an Architect and you continue writing in that notepad until you know everything anyone would ever need to know about your story. Maybe you're a Gardener and you go right from your idea into a word document. Eventually, you have a draft and next comes editing. Deleting all that great stuff you've written and starting over. You do this until you're comfortable with someone reading it. A friend or family member maybe. Preferably someone who you can trust to provide honest criticism. Then, after a few more drafts, you send it to an editor to iron out the creases before you send it to a publisher.
This is a writer's journey and through that journey, the moment comes where 'just write' becomes the best advice anyone can give you. When you are actually writing your drafts, writing is the only thing stopping you from moving onto the next steps.
In this new series, I want to bring you though a portion of my 'just write' writer's journey. I'll be sharing a chapter of my writing with you, from the very first draft until the final product. I'll show you what I've done between drafts and explain the reasons behind the changes you see.
I'll leave a link to part 1 here if you want to follow my journey through this chapter. Three versions of this draft have already been written so expect to see part 2 and 3 shortly. Until then, fell free to have a look at my other series, The Plotstains Perspective, where I talk about my part in one of my friend's writing journey.