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I don’t mean specific like what’s the best way to do this element, I mean specific like how do I write a gay Native American character with a speech impediment specific. (Note: that was a made up example).
Here’s the thing: we writers often tend to get caught up in the details. We fret over sentences and misplaced commas and we overthink our characters and plot and every minor detail we can analyze, we probably analyze it to death. It’s an easy trap to fall into, and while a little bit may be okay to let slide (hell, a little can even be kind of helpful), if you overdo it, it can easily become a way to procrastinate the actual writing part.
The secret to writing is writing. Really. That’s it.
When it comes to writing certain types of characters, the only thing you really need to remember is no matter what your character is like, whether they’re a girl, boy or somewhere in between, straight, gay, bisexual, asexual, white, black, brown, able-bodied, disabled, neuroatypical or not, they’re people first. They have dreams, fears, wants, dislikes and personalities that are entirely separate from whatever other traits you give them, and as long as you remember that you’re writing a person, not a disability (or sexuality, or ethnicity, or whatever), you'll be off to a great start.
Now that’s not to say research isn’t important (it absolutely is). It’s also not to say grammar and formatting and those easy-to-obsess-over details aren’t important (they are). But by far, the most important thing is to get that book written—after all, you can focus on those obsession-worthy details while revising.
So if you’re working on your first draft, or haven’t quite started yet, and you find yourself overthinking the details, take a breather. Relax. Then get writing.
Have you ever caught yourself overthinking before or during a first draft?
"The secret to writing is writing."#writetip (Click to tweet)
"You're writing a person, not a disability (or sexuality, or ethnicity, or whatever)." (Click to tweet)
Have you ever caught yourself overthinking before or during a first draft? Join the discussion on @Ava_Jae's blog. (Click to tweet)