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Your Story Deserves More: Putting in the Time

I have a short post to share with you today with a small but rather important point.

We need to take our time while crafting our stories, to say something meaningful, or to craft a story of which we’re proud, whatever that may be.

I’ve just ordered a pain au chocolat and a café crème in this little café in Nice. I know, poor me. I’ve got my journal and my laptop and I’m jotting down thoughts about tangled plot points as they come to me. I’m also spending some time asking my protagonist questions that may be difficult for her to answer. I’ve had this story idea brewing for some time, but it has become wedged in my brain and I’ve had trouble digging it out, coaxing the characters to talk to me. Maybe the four trips I’ve made in the last two months has something to do with it, or losing my beloved mother-in-law this summer and all that has entailed, or it could also be that I’ve been too distracted by another project. Whatever the cause—and it’s likely a little of all of these things—I’ve had trouble diving back in. Fair enough, right?

But the issue is, I’m feeling so much pressure.

It isn’t just that my life is full. That’s always the case and it’s something I’m grateful for. (Frankly, when it’s not, I’m bored.) The pressure is self-imposed, mostly, but it sort of buzzes through the publishing industry as a whole as well. There’s so much pressure to hit that goal, to be the first to write about that particular angle on a subject, and mostly importantly, there’s pressure to get paid.

But as I stir my coffee and take a bite of this flaky pastry, I’m thinking about all of this pressure and timing. I’m thinking about how often we really give ourselves time to rest, recoup, and process—and the affect this has on our craft. Sometimes we need to let a story percolate. We need to allow our subconscious to take in bits and pieces from our daily activities and the world around us. We need to let our brains chew on things. We need TIME. Time to pluck our story threads until it’s tuned to the right notes, and time to write an unforgettable story.

Do you ever feel pressured to write more, faster, and why is that? Do you feel as if you produce your best work that way?

About Heather Webb [1]

Heather Webb is the international bestselling and award-winning author of 6 historical novels set in France, including her latest Meet Me in Monaco and Ribbons of Scarlet. In 2015, Rodin’s Lover was a Goodread’s Top Pick, and in 2018, Last Christmas in Paris won the Women's Fiction STAR Award. To date, Heather’s books have sold in over a dozen countries worldwide and received national starred reviews. As a freelance editor, Heather has helped over two dozen writers sign with agents, and go on to sell at market. When not writing, Heather feeds her cookbook addiction, geeks out on history and pop culture, and looks for excuses to head to the other side of the world.