“Writing is like driving at night. You can see only as far as the headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” ― E.L. Doctorow, novelist, editor and professor
Writing cannot be learned overnight. It is a process that takes trial and error, energy and endurance, stepping away and coming back.
We like E.L Doctorow’s quote as encouragement that even though you can’t always see your destination, you can see just ahead of you, and that’s enough to keep you headed in the right direction.
If you continue to move forward, keeping your eyes on what’s in front of you, no matter the twists and turns in the road, you will reach your destination.
If you are finding writing overwhelming because you’re trying to see the whole book, instead look at it in this way:
- Only focus on the bit of the road/story just ahead
- When you turn the bend, then look at what’s in front of you
- Take it one mile at a time
- Look at what’s around you on the road, be open to stopping at points of interest and adding these in the margins of your story
- Keep going for each leg of the journey until you are at the end.
Then step away and come back to it later. We recently wrote about how writing a book is almost like renovating a house, and the same idea comes into play here.
Your writing process is going to take time and things might not always go as planned, but if you keep making progress regularly on all of the smaller parts, you’ll be able to see the whole picture in due time.
And you’ll be so happy you kept at it!
What helps or motivates you to keep going when you’re writing a book?
“There is only one person a writer should listen to, pay any attention to. It’s not any damn critic. It’s the reader.”— William Styron, Pulitzer Prize-winning author0