When should a wannabe writer, like myself, stop reading books on writing and start writing?
I thought I could do both but the more I read, the more I realize I might be wasting my time writing. There is so much I don't know, so much I need to learn. Every time I learn something important, I want to go back and start my story over.
For instance, while procrastinating writing, I went through some old writing books and found a real gem: Schaum's Quick Guide to Writing Great Short Stories by Margaret Lucke (1998). After reading a few chapters, I was inundated with ideas to make my story better. Unfortunately, they all require major reconstruction of my characters and plot.
I'm unsure now. Should I finish the first draft and make the changes later? Or should I restructure it and then write the first draft?
Writing has become such a doubt-filled experience these last few weeks that the only time my brain will relax and create is late at night while I'm trying to fall asleep. Probably because my subconcious knows there's no chance I'll actually get up and write anything down. And by morning, it's gone.
I'm done thinking about writing. If I stop reading about writing, I'll stop learning. So, I'm back in the chair tonight and ready to write. And I'm still reading that great book on short story writing. It may take me a lot longer to finish my work-in-progress (WIP) since I'll have to do a lot of rewriting, but it's not a waste of time.
Writing is never a waste of time.
What I write now may not be usable, but it's practice. And almost every book I read or writer I talk to says the best way to become a writer is to follow these steps: