Writing Advice: The Project of Your Heart

by Matt on August 27, 2012

OK, I’ve gotta make this quick because it’s the first day of school today and I need to catch the bus in about 20 minutes.

Good day to you, all at Hogwarts. 

It’s Monday again! Yaaaayyyy! Don’t you just ADORE Mondays? No? OK, good, I’m not the only one. 
Onto today’s topic. 
How many of you have a book you’ve been working on for several years? (Just me?) Do you consider it “the project of your heart”? Have you not been able to get past the first 100 pages or so and have been struggling to get past this part for months, years? Decades? You know what happens next and how it ends, but don’t have the right words to use to finish it? 

“Have we got a blog post for you!” 
If you applied “Yes” to any of the above questions, you have a bad case of “IhavethisawesomebookI’vebeenworkingonforsolongbutIdon’tknowhowtofinishitbutit’ssoawesomeandIloveit-itis”. This bacteria has been floating around the writing field for years. 
I have a bad case of this as well, I’ll admit that. Although, I’ve over-come it easily because of the way the story has changed so much and how cool it is. Besides, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. The light at the end of the book. 
Yes, because all books are relatable to tunnels. 
But if you’re still at that, like, 20-page mark and you can’t go on, and you’ll sit down, completely motivated, and will only get out 3 words . . . you need help. 
The way to over- come “IhavethisawesomebookI’vebeenworkingonforsolongbutIdon’tknowhowtofinishitbutit’ssoawesomeandIloveit-itis” is to simply . . . 
. . . write something else. 
Give yourself some practice before you return to the “project of your heart”. Short stories are good to over come . . . blah-blah-blah-itis . . . because, well . . . they’re short. You don’t get sucked into writing short stories like you do full-length novels, because, while there’s still a beginning, middle, and end to short stories, short stories move much quicker and they feel more exciting, sometimes, than novels. Short stories may only take you a few hours or a few days to write. Short stories are usually between 5,000 and 10,000 words. Flash stories are MUCH shorter, like 500 words or less. 
So, pump out a couple of short stories. You might even want to consider trying to write something that doesn’t really suit your taste, just for practice. Remember, this is all for practice, and don’t be afraid to treat that “project of your heart” like practice. That’s what I’m doing, and I’ve been working on the “project of my heart” for almost six years. 
So, if you’re a sci-fi/fantasy writer . . . try writing some contemporary fiction or something. Or . . . romance . . . whatever you don’t sit most well with, because you might actually find you’re good at stuff like that. 
It’ll work out in the end. Trust me . . . I’m the Doctor. 
Yes, I’m a Doctor Who fan. Any out there? 
-Matt

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jared Peterson August 30, 2012 at 9:17 am

YAY!!! Matt's officially a Dr. Who fan . . . *sheds tears* . . . I couldn't be more proud. 😉

Wow, six years? What were you, nine? Impossibly cool; I didn't start writing sereously until I was ten — and even then I quit for three years before i started up again.

Sadly I don't yet have a "project of my heart." The first book I started was basically Eragon+Twilight. My second was, like, Harry Potter+Percy Jackson. . . . Anyway, neither of them I'd like to go back to. My ideas now are much, much, much more original. Thank goodness. However, I think I MAY have found one. It's called City of Song. But I haven't even started it yet . . . sooo . . .

I hope you do well on this project! Six years is a very long time! =D

P.S. We should really video chat.

Matt Hayes August 30, 2012 at 8:26 pm

Yeah, we do need to video chat. I've been really busy with school, though. I'll have time this weekend, probably.

-Matt

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