Drafting your story: The Call to Adventure
A draft is a merely a detailed brainstorm of your ideas. It’s supposed to be messy, disorganized and yes, even a bit awful. However, don’t let this discourage you from writing. There is hope for you. The drafting stage is your “Call to Adventure”, you have an amazing Idea and now it's time to do something with it! One of the most important attributes of a successful author is the ability to keep writing in the face of opposition. In other words when people tell you “your writing is trash” get up turn around and recycle that trash. If they Honestly tell you that “your writing is trash” then figure out how to learn from it. Maybe it is trash right now but it doesn't have to stay trash forever!
Refusal of the Call: The Rough Draft Blues & Writers Block:
If you have ever experienced writer's block you know that it is relentless. Every hero along the hero’s journey will at some point refuse their call to adventure. That’s where writers block and discouragement come in. The moment you believe you can’t be a writer is the moment you have set yourself up to fail. I am a firm believer that self doubt is the biggest enemy to our creativity. Now, at this point you may be saying something like this “What if it’s just the way I am? What if I suffer from anxiety or depression?”
First off, you're not alone if you are asking yourself these questions. In fact, I asked myself the same questions while I was drafting Shyelle - Rise of the Dragon Kingdoms. You may just need to Meet with a Mentor, which I will talk about more in the next section.
Sometimes this writer's block comes as a result of stress in your life, sometimes it comes from a lack of inspiration in your mental inspiration holding tank. The cure? Put away your story for a while and carry a notebook everywhere you go. I really do mean everywhere. Do yourself a HUGE favor and invest in a good durable notebook that is small enough to carry with you everywhere. This may be a physical notebook or an online “notebook” you keep on your phone in Google docs. Whatever is more convenient for you. Maybe you're a fairly decent artist too and you want a sketchbook so you can draw and write.
Like this Quote:
“Keep a Notebook. Travel with it, eat with it, sleep with it. Slap into it every stray thought that flutters up into your brain. Cheap paper is less perishable that gray matter, and lead pencil markings endure longer than memory.”Jack London
Seriously though, write down everything in it! I recently discovered Frixion erasable ink pens and I’m obsessed! I can use my notebook over and over and over again. When it's full I scan it all into my Google Drive. When I first was diagnosed with A.D.H.D. my doctor told me to carry a notebook, I have found that it was also the missing tip I really needed at the time to improve my writing not just my ability to remember things in school. Even if you don’t have A.D.H.D you can still gain exponential benefits from carrying a notebook especially if you are a journal writer.
Journaling not only improves your mental health but it also improves your ability to focus on the important things, meaning more focus to your writing. Authors often write into their stories topics that they deal with in their everyday lives. Journaling will help you to remember these topics that you can insert and play with in your writing later on. If you are worried about pesky people getting into your private writing I do suggest using Google Docs or a Word document encrypted with a password. Print your document from time to time and keep it safe, you always want a back up weather it’s your journal or your Novel. You can trust me from experience on that one.
Meeting the Mentor: Authors Read and Learn from Others:
Think about someone who has positively impacted your life. This could be a teacher, a friend, a family member or a doctor. All heroes need a mentor or teacher along their hero’s journey. Those of us who were having self doubts may even need some professional help. There's no shame in that! The most important thing I have gained from my struggles through Learning Disabilities is that you have to suck it up and ask for help. You need to humble yourself enough to kick yourself over the head a little bit and go ask for the help you know you really need.
For the rest of you, congratulations you're reading this and you’ve found a Mentor in your writing process! Reading is one of the most powerful tools for an Author. I didn’t always believe this for myself, in fact for a long time I avoided reading. However, I have been able to find the right tools that allow reading to be less of a burden on me as an insecurity. I got a C pen Reader Pen for my birthday and oh my gosh it’s like where has this been years ago! So, even if reading isn’t your strong suit, you can find tools and adaptations that work for you. It’s ok to be different, just learn what works for you.
Crossing the Threshold: Committing to a Realistic Goal
A hero in the hero’s journey needs to cross the threshold in order to grow and continue their journey. Usually they must also overcome guardians of the threshold. This is where you must find what is holding you back from writing and work to overcome it. The best motivation for change is to set a realistic Goal. Let’s say that I want to be better at descriptive writing. I would set a goal to work on a descriptive writing exercise at least once a week. Then I have to evaluate how I’m doing. Even if you get off on your goal keep working towards it.
Tests, Allies, Enemies: Learning from Life
In the hero’s journey your protagonist needs to face challenges. They need to struggle. It’s what makes a book a bestseller. The same goes for us in our lives and in the writing process. Take what you learn from hard times and give that knowledge to your characters.
“Truth must always remain, yet it must always face opposition. Without such opposition there would be nothing worth fighting for and no need to conquer our fears.” - Shyelle - Rise of the Dragon Kingdoms
Ordeal, Death, and Rebirth: Editing Your Work
For many authors the Editing process is a big scary thing but it doesn’t have to be. At the same time I called the Editing process the “Ordeal, Death, and Rebirth” in the hero’s journey because it really is Death and Rebirth of your story. This is the phenix of your story. The point in which your character faces their biggest challenge that hits them at their weakest point. Editing is about keeping the good stuff and strengthening the weakest points.
Return Home With Reward:
Your final draft is being polished, your hero has learned from Their journey, have you learned from yours? What have you gained from the journey? Sometimes you will not receive recognition. It is the true writer that continues to write whether or not there is rewarded publicly.