Don't Lose Your Story in the Details

Pursuing a new interest such as writing often generates a desire to learn the details, the "ins and outs" and the accepted rules. This may be the right approach, but don't let your writing goal get lost in the details of how to write. 

If you start applying the correct style guides, punctuation particulars and spellchecks too soon, your writing concept may suffer, bogging you down and potentially robbing you of valuable forward momentum. Your writing is too important to let that happen. 

As you write, you will likely have many people tell you how you should improve your work. Whether it's your writing, your book cover, your plot, your descriptive skills, your punctuation...all these are subject to a range of critics that can restrict your motivation.

Please understand this. You will need some help. A good editor and a proofreader are essential.  The right critique group can be extremely helpful. Fellow authors who are inspiring and optimistic are worth their weight in gold. 

Some "helpers" will mean well, some will not, and some (you will find) have never completed or published anything outside of a school paper.  Yet they claim to know how you need to write your story. 

Getting bogged down by details can be a huge source of frustration and potentially even writers block. 

How can writers avoid these pitfalls? Standard writing advice says writing is best initiated with few details or limits. Write as much as you can, don't edit, get your thoughts down on paper. When you get tired, put your writing aside, come back later and write more. 

Once you have written down your main thoughts, create a general outline including how you see your story ending. Now your story is taking shape. Now is not the time to edit, apply multiple rules, or even punctuate too closely. You will have time for that.

Along the way, you will meet authors and others you find helpful, through a workshop, class or other writing event. You will find most writers to be helpful. Take a class, refine your concept, and make your manuscript better. Just don't get bogged down in details too soon. 

Questions? Comments? Send a note to I'd love to hear your thoughts. 

Stay Inspired!

Malcom Massey