I started the Lexicon Writing Blog a year ago with one main goal: I wanted to get myself writing again. It occurred to me that I could write about writing, so over a few months, the idea of the Lexicon Writing Blog rolled around in my head until May 21, 2016, when I pressed publish on the blog’s first ever post: May’s Writing Prompts.
Little did I know what was in store for me once I pushed that button.
Being a writer can be hard: we have to come up with ideas, make them appealing and easy to understand, market our own work (which can totally suck if you’re an introvert, like me), and still at the end of the day, remember why we love to write in the first place.
But since I started the Lexicon Writing Blog, I’ve learned so much. About writing, about myself, about the writing community. I thought I’d share some of those lessons with you today, in celebration.
You don’t have to write in a vacuum.
For the longest time, I considered writing to be lonely work. I’d write on my own, market on my own, search for agents on my own, publish on my own, blog on my own. I didn’t mind the lack of company, but as I wrote the blog and met other writers, I learned the most important thing I’ve learned all year: I don’t have to write alone.
Writing doesn’t have to require me to hole up in my office by myself. There’s a beautiful, thriving community of writers out there who are creative, inspiring, and wonderful people. I’ve learned that it’s way more fun to seek help when I’ve got my character cornered, or when I can’t get a blog post to sound the way I want it.
I’ve found that for all the self-editing I do, nothing quite beats having another pair of eyes looking over my work, catching the things I won’t catch and praising me for things I’m not sure I did so well. This has done wonders for my work, both my non-fiction and my fiction work.
Plus I’ve made some great writer friends, and that’s just the best.
Follow your gut.
Over the past few years, I’ve started a lot of projects. Some I’ve completed, others have been left in the dust. This is normal. But I felt like I was doing something wrong by letting an idea leave me. Like I was disrespecting my writing and the idea by not finishing it.
I had to learn to trust my gut when it came to my writing. Forcing myself to write something because of some self-defined deadline isn’t good for my creativity or my passion.
I found that when I let a story pull me in, carefully mold it and go with it, the end product is not only finished, but I enjoy the entire process.
When I wrote the first book in my Elves series, I had no idea what each day would look like. I sat down to write and let the story and characters take me where they would. I’ll probably never write like that again, but it taught me a valuable lesson: my gut and my heart know where my story needs to go. If I let them take me there, writing remains my number one passion.
Never underestimate inspiration.
Four months ago I woke up from a dream and immediately wrote it down. I didn’t think I’d refer back to the little note in my bedside notebook, but after being unable to get the story out of my head, The Replacement Princess was born and is currently in progress as a short story.
You never know what will inspire your next story. You never know where your next great book will come from. Stay open, with your heart forward, willing to see and learn and take in everything you can. Your writing will be better for it in the long run.
The stories you write might surprise you
If you’d told me six months ago that I would be writing a story based on the Hades and Persephone myth from Greek Mythology, I probably would have laughed in your face. Mythology isn’t something I’ve ever delved into before, but lo and behold, here I am, having the time of my life writing a story I never would have considered.
The thing with this particular story was that I received a writing prompt from a friend and the minute I read it, I felt unsure. A million hesitant thoughts ran through my head, asking myself if I really could write a story based on Greek Mythology. What if I didn’t play by the rules? What rules could I break? How could I retain the aspects of the story I liked and change the ones I didn’t?
This turned out to be a very validating experience, as not only am I loving writing this story, but I’ve also been able to play with the story’s ending in a way I really love. Talk about writerly power!
You can do more than you think
I used to practice the one-thing-at-a-time principle. I couldn’t fathom spreading my attention to more than one work in progress. Writing this blog, however, forced me to take stock of what I’m writing and what I want to be writing and how I could write all.the.things.
Now, I’m writing several short stories and a novel, editing two novels, and writing a non-fiction book for the Lexicon Writing Blog (coming later this year)! I don’t feel stretched thin. I feel alive because I’ve tapped into what my potential is.
I’ve let myself write as I wish, with no guilt or baggage. It’s set my writing free and all my favorite projects are finally seeing the light of day.
The more you think about writing, the more you write
I thought the blog would just force me to do research and perfect my craft.
What I didn’t expect was the copious amounts of writing I would do (which, when you think about it in retrospect, is sort of weird). The more I thought about writing, the more I dwelled on my dreams and goals, the more I wrote. It’s a never ending cycle.
I started this blog as a way to get me writing again and it did. Now I hope that the Lexicon Writing Blog gets you thinking about writing every day. I hope writing never leaves you alone. I hope you find yourself waking up at 4am to write a short story. Which leads me to my seventh point…
Go with the flow.
Yes. I woke up at 4am, walked to my computer, wrote for an hour and a half, and fell back asleep. I’m not the only one right??
When I woke up, I didn’t look over the story for a week. I was afraid my sleep induced state had written something horrible.
In fact, the piece was awesome. I wish I could write that well all the time! And I realized that sometimes, you do your best writing when you’re just not thinking about it too hard. When you’re not analyzing where you’re characters are going, who they’re talking to, what the theme is, how they get from point A to point B.
Sometimes it’s best to let the story lead you where it will. And sometimes that means writing at 4am.
Editing doesn’t have to be frightening
Real talk: Editing used to scare the living shit out of me.
I have two novels that are finished concept-wise and just need a good bit of editing: I Never Considered Copenhagen and the first book in my Elves series. I love them both, dearly. But the idea of editing them made me want to run for cover and snuggle with my teddy bear under a big blanket.
Granted, sometimes Monday’s make me do that too.
But the more I read about editing, revising, and reading through one’s own work, the more it became less of a cross to bear and more of a privilege to tell the story right. Editing allows you to tell your story to the absolute best of your ability.
It’s hard work, but doing the work yields your best stuff.
I’ve loved every minute of writing this blog. There have been moments where I wanted to discontinue it, moments where I wondered if anyone was even listening, or if it was helping anyone’s writing.
But the conversations I’ve had with writers, bloggers, and other creatives have been amazingly inspiring. The impact this blog has had on my own writing is something I’ll never take for granted. And I hope that this blog can continue to help you write.
I would love nothing more than to read all your stories. So I want to help you write them.
To the best of my ability.