I might have mentioned that writing is a lonely job. It requires self-discipline, patience, stubbornness, and a thick skin. You will develop these traits over time if you stay in this business, because if you don’t, then you won’t stay.

But there is help.

The first thing to do is find a writing partner, who will critique your work, and allow you to critique theirs. You can learn much from reading other people’s first drafts. See what kind of things work, and what doesn’t, and things you can avoid or use in your own writing. A partner also provides you with social contact, a shoulder to cry on, and an encouraging pat on the back when you need one. And you do the same for them. It is the single best thing you can do to further your writing career.

Second is to take care of yourself. Get enough sleep, eat healthily, and most importantly, get some exercise. Make it a priority to get a half an hour walk in each day. You can think about writing while you are walking, or ideally talk about it with your writing partner, who is out for a walk with you.

Third would be to take a writing class or seminar. You can learn a lot from a well taught class and being able to talk to a published author (who is hopefully teaching the class) will give you insights into the business.

Lastly, there will be days when you don’t want to write anything. If it is just one day, then give yourself a holiday. No one needs to work every day. But if one day goes to two and two stretches into a week, then you have to make yourself get into it again. The best way to do this is–just do it. Start writing, wherever you left off. Don’t worry if its crap. You can always revise it later. Set yourself a goal. Five hundred words in two hours, or something like that. Then do it. Eventually the words will start flowing again.

That is a great feeling.

I spent most of today going over the bits of Ketha’s Daughter that my writing buddy, Mike and I talked about last night.  He was in a particularly critical mood, so I had to do a lot of defending.  Sometimes he is right, and sometimes he is wrong, but he always helps me to clarify my own thinking.  I did need to cut out some of the flab in the passages we discussed, and today I did just that.  It is hard, because I am in love with all the words I write.  But sometimes things just have to go anyway, in the service of creating a coherent whole.

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