Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday, September 19, 2014

A bowl of lemons

I want to attend a writing conference that's coming up in just three weeks, but the finances simply aren't there. I'm bummed, but I am going to focus, instead, on spending my time wisely at home. I plan to block out "conference day" and do some reading and writing here (or at the library). It's possible, thanks to my amazing and supportive husband and some pretty incredible, independent, and capable kids, too!

I'm not fond of the adage, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade." But, in this case, I am making the best of it. It's not what I'd prefer, but it is what it is. I think it shows a parallel to writing, really. Only in the writing world, I believe it's what they call "rough drafts." Good writing doesn't just miraculously happen, even if there is talent. (There are a few geniuses, but it's rare.) It takes a bit of squeezing, shaking every drop of creative juice from the lemon. It's a tedious process, but one that's worth the effort.

As much as I'd like to attend the writing conference, I'll take my bowl of lemons, admire them for the beautiful, bright color they are, and then squeeze what I can from each one. They may be tart, but with enough sugar I'll make 'em sweet.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Wait? No, no, no

Perhaps one of the first lessons I learned on this writing journey was that writers wait for no one. Which, in the writer's world, means that once you submit your ms (manuscript), DO NOT WAIT. Do not, under any circumstances, sit around waiting for a reply. Instead, GET TO WORK on your next manuscript. Keep writing. Waiting is a no-no.

The average (and I use that term loosely) wait on a reply after a submission is three months. Three months! Many are longer than that, some are shorter. Waiting without writing is death to a writer's career. Now, this wasn't news to me. I didn't have to be told to keep working after I submitted, but I have met several writers who, when asked what is their wip (work in progress), reply, "Oh. I'm waiting to hear back from ______." 

Goodness. I'm rather dumbstruck when I hear that, but I'm also (no surprise) rather forthright. My response is usually, "Don't wait." I've never been good at waiting anyway, but in the writing business, it turns out it's a good thing. It means that the flow of creativity can continue. It means that our lives don't have to be put on hold while we wait. It means we can continue developing the necessary discipline of writing daily.

Waiting? No, not me. Here are 13 Ways How Writers Can Survive The Dreaded Waiting Stage.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Being brave

I look back over the past three years since actively pursuing this writing journey, and I am quite amazed at what I've done. I used to think of myself as a brave person, but in reality, I was not. Like many people, I was just good at talking big. As the saying goes, I was "All talk. No action."

But as the saying also goes, "Talk is cheap." and "Actions speak louder than words." So I am writing, reading, and educating myself on the craft of writing. I put myself out there, risking rejection and criticism, but am getting stronger and better for it. It's been an adventurous, courage-filled three years.

And I'm about to take yet another courageous step on this writing journey. It is simultaneously exciting and terrifying. However, I have nothing to lose...except fear. I encourage anyone who dreams, like I do, of being a published author to just put yourself out there. Do what it takes. Show up. Learn the business. Follow directions. Humble yourself. Be patient. Be persistent. Be brave.