My motivational writing t-shirt

I’ve been writing professionally (defined here by a goal of publication) for 14 years. In that time, I have to say the art of sticking pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, doesn’t get any easier. Some days I simply don’t feel it. I struggle to get the words out. When I have those moments, you know what I do? I write anyway. I put a few words on the screen and come back to it later. Even if I end up chopping the work I did, it’s still progress. Moving forward sometimes means taking one or two steps back, but keeping the flow in my head is the most important thing.

For that reason I try not to go longer than a couple of weeks without writing something new. I don’t mean editing, as that’s a separate skill; I’m talking drafting new prose. If I’m sick for a week or two, or on holiday, I tend to skim-read back through everything I had written beforehand, just to get the story back in my head again. Skim reading doesn’t take longer than an hour; not all the details, but just to find out where to pick up in the story.

By the way, my motivational t-shirt above helps, along with a strong coffee. As a writer, I’m a weirdo. I much prefer living in the fantasy world inside my head than dealing with real life. I daydream – often. At school I got in trouble many, many times for looking out the window and fantasising about UFOs, then doodling the images from my imagination onto my school books, to the disgruntlement of my teachers. As an adult I still often zone-out when I should be paying attention. Hey, there’s a lot going on in my internal world that needs to make its way out onto paper. I guess that’s my way of giving back for all those many months, or possibly years, when I seemed like I was living in the real world, but actually it was only my blank face while my mind was elsewhere.

About Leilanie Stewart

Leilanie Stewart is an author and poet from Belfast, Northern Ireland. She has written four novels, including award-winning ghost horror, The Blue Man, as well as three poetry collections. Her writing confronts the nature of self; her novels feature main characters on a dark psychological journey who have a crisis of identity and create a new sense of being. She began writing for publication while working as an English teacher in Japan, a career pathway that has influenced themes in her writing. Her former career as an Archaeologist has also inspired her writing and she has incorporated elements of archaeology and mythology into both her fiction and poetry. In addition to promoting her own work, Leilanie runs Bindweed Magazine, a creative writing literary journal with her writer husband, Joseph Robert. Aside from publishing pursuits, Leilanie enjoys spending time with her husband and their lively literary lad, a voracious reader of sea monster books. CONNECT WITH ME ON SOCIAL MEDIA:

2 responses »

  1. spot on. Though sometimes taking a break helps you see your mistakes with fresh eyes.

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