If you really want to improve yourself as an author, then write what you hate! Try to make it work even if you’re up against the worst possible scenario!
Besides messing around with the website and adding a couple of products to the store, I am actually working on a novel!
I began writing the novel a couple of years ago, adding and editing a little bit here and there. I was first working on an epic story, but I loved it so much that I decided to shelf it until my writing skill became good enough do to it justice! So I began on a different novel, which turned into a trilogy, which became pretty epic as well, however, I didn’t want to shelf it, so I decided to work on it during my long walks, exclusively.
And that brings us to this third attempt at writing my first novel!
This time however I decided to write about something I did not want to write about at all. I intentionally chose a genre, plot and characters that would otherwise never cross my mind! I picked a location I knew nothing about, an era I vaguely remember, and characters I cared nothing for.
But something interesting happened!
I love solving problems, so by setting up myself for failure I ended up improving my writing skill beyond what any creative writing course has ever taught me. Authors are usually told to write what they love and to “just wait” for their writing to get better, which is said to “come” after 8 books or so.
There is a better way and I would like to believe that I have discovered the secret for authors to improve their writing skill much faster! I believe authors – or maybe just me? – become blind to bad writing when they write a story they love. They romanticize their novel which prevents them from seeing what is really going on! So the secret is actually to write something you don’t want to write about!
Do you love writing about magic, dragons and larger-than-life heroes?
If yes, then write about a boring court battle fought over some un-magical nonsense by mindless non-heroic farts.
There is something special about the boring and mundane!
If you can turn crap into gold, then that becomes the method to measure your writing skill in a tangible way.
“But but but, how would you know if the end-product is actually good!?!?”
The answer is simple, if you were truly honest and really did set up yourself for failure, then, if you read your novel and you like it, then congratulations, you’re now a master of the written word (or at least on the right path towards it).
So yeah, that’s basically what I have been doing with this novel.
Also, you should always be working on two novels simultaneously, one that you love and one that you hate. This allows you to learn new ideas and techniques from both and incorporate those techniques into both stories. You should divide your time between those novels around 2/10 for the novel you love and 8/10 for the novel you don’t love! So if you write for a total of 10 hours a day, then 2 of those hours should go towards your beloved novel and the other 8 hours should go into your other novel. This helps keeping you motivated… and trust me, you will need all the motivation in the world when you’re working on the “boring” story.
If you’re serious about a writing career, then I can’t stress enough how useful this is! Getting used to the feeling of “heavy work” and the “pain” of getting the words down is something you have to really get used to. And writing the boring stuff will discipline you pretty quickly!
There are so many benefits to gain from doing this.
Even if you are already a great author, sold millions and respected by many for your writing skill, give it a try!
Can you turn “boring” into gold?
And no, I’m not talking about marketing tricks, or cliffhangers, or any other types of tricks solely for the sake of keeping the reader reading or making people buy your book. I’m talking about genuinely writing a great book despite all its challenges, without using any cheap tricks.
I’ve heard many authors say that they usually just throw a “bad” story away, that it isn’t worth the time! I think this is a lost opportunity for growth, but some authors don’t like feeling forced to really sit down and figure things out. I believe most authors prefer the easy way. They want a story that flies out onto the paper and gets sold the very next day. There is nothing wrong with that, we are all different and that’s what makes the world of books so fantastic!
I gotta admit, I’ve wanted to throw out this novel of mine multiple times, but I keep reminding myself to keep pushing, and the reward is amazing. Every time I feel that I am stuck and there is nothing I can do to solve a plot or scene, I just stick to it and leave nothing to chance.
This is so tedious that every word has to be chosen specifically, why? Because there is nothing there to save you. It is just you, the blank paper and the words you choose. No magic, no dragons, and no heroes to save you from bad writing.
Perhaps it is best to try it out with a shorter story first, otherwise you will feel like there is no end in sight.
Peace & GOD bless!
The Young Teacher is a novel by the author Ahmad Wehbe. Work began November 19, 2015 and the goal is to finish it sometime in 2022.
It is currently a work in progress, you can check out its development journal to see how things are going: https://ahmadwehbe.com/journals/current-projects/the-young-teacher-journal/