Figuring out how to get stuff done as a writer can be the most frustrating part of the writing. We all have personal weaknesses that draw our focus away, wasting valuable time. Sometimes, it’s more helpful to put our focus into short term goals rather than long-term projects.

Sometimes we need to take time off from writing to let a project sit so we can approach it with a fresh perspective. When we try to force the words on the page, we risk losing our voice. Take a break. Try developing a new project or a writing prompt. Then come back. Take your time. There’s no rush to get published. The more time you spend writing, reading, and learning to be a better writer, the better things will go for you. Don’t try to hurry it along. It takes time to develop your craft.

But let’s say you can’t come up with a story. You try, but nothing comes. Here’s a suggestion. Write about an incident from your past. But don’t write it as you. Write it from a stranger’s point of view and see where the story takes you. This could end up becoming a short story or a new novel.

Every writer’s path is different. We’re all individuals with varying talents. You don’t need a degree to become a novelist. But you do need the spark of creativity that exists deep in the spirit of a writer. Each of you have this spark.

Some writers draft fast and redraft a lot. Others draft slowly but do relatively little editing. That’s fine, so long as it works for you. Don’t let others dictate your pace. Be your own kind of writer. After all, you are unique.

However, if you still find yourself getting discouraged by the success (or lack thereof) of your writing, remember … someone out there has a hole in their soul the exact shape of your story.

For the love of story,



James Glass retired from the United States Navy after 22 years of service. After retiring, he exchanged his rifle for a pen. He and his family moved back to the Florida Panhandle. He’s married and has two children. James is also the President of the Panhandle Writer's Group.

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