Shelve it for later

I haven’t posted much recently, but I wanted to write this because I think there’s an aspect to all creativity that’s rarely talked about, and that’s giving yourself room to grow—making mistakes!

Recently I’ve seen a lot of people I know take up new hobbies, with most of my friends choosing writing. That excites me. I think creative endeavours of all flavours should be encouraged across the board, but there’s this growing idea that the first novel (sometimes in the first draft stage—editors do all the editing, right?) is their ticket out of a 9-5 job.

But that’s not true.

Not everything we create—whether that be music, novels, films, art, or anything else—needs to be shared with the world. In fact, most of it probably shouldn’t.

Your first novel isn’t going to be the next NYT best seller, and your first film isn’t going to be a box office smash. But you absolutely need to make them so you can learn from the experience. When you look back on them in a few years time, you’ll be able to see how much you’ve grown as an artist.

I have hundreds of songs on my computer, dozens of novels and short stories, and dozens more screenplays, and I don’t intend for any of them to go out into the world. They’re just practice runs, something creatives across the spectrum need.

I think this trend puts a lot of unnecssary pressure on creatives, and I think it’s something that, as a community, we should address. If you have finished writing a novel, well done! A lot of people don’t get to that stage, but if it’s your first novel, odds are it’s better to take that as experience, and not blast it out to fifty agents tomorrow and publish it next week if Penguin don’t get back to you by then. As an aside, please don’t do this — agents are really busy, and have weeks worth of queries to read before yours. Be patient, do your research, and query when you are actually ready.

Shelve it. Write something else and, after you’ve finished that story, or the next one, or the next, go back to your first book and read it. You’ll be hard pressed to cringe more than I did (nobody wants a thriller about someone blowing up schools written by six-year old me!).

How many stories, songs, scripts, art, or even films do you have stashed away?

(Photo by Julia Joppien on Unsplash)

Shelve it for later!

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Email: cbpowell95@gmail.com

Published by cbpowellwrites

I'm a writer of science-fiction, fantasy epics, and other speculative fiction works and have a little blog focused on writing and how to become a better writer. Hopefully it is helpful to others, and I'd love to hear more feedback and have more in-depth discussions on all thing creativity. Before turning to writing I worked for a number of years as a chef, following on from my time as a writing and performing guitarist in the South West of England. Perhaps I will upload some music from these days at some point...

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