Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Writing Advice

Is there anything better than showing up to work on a Monday morning and your boss (in my case, a 2 yr old) informs you that you have the next day off? 

Answer -- no.

There is nothing better than that. It means several things. One, that when you return to work on Wednesday, it is like you only have a three day work week. Two, you have a whole day to yourself. A whole day, while other people are at work, to do whatever it is you want/need to do. I usually go to Starbucks and spend the whole day writing. 

Over the past few weeks, I have been scatter brained when it comes to my writing. I am at that difficult place in all of my WIPs where I have reached the crucial moment where every decision I need to make seems too hefty. And instead of listening to my characters, I start over thinking everything and putting too much pressure on myself and them. 
No, no, no -- the reader will see that coming. Come on Maxx -- you have got to have a better come back than that. Really -- that is your motivation?!
As a result, I hit a block and stop altogether. Nothing happens. They are left in limbo while I watch late night sitcoms and go on Pinterest. And honestly -- that is not fair to anyone. 

Now, I've decided to get back on the path. Take the weight off my shoulders (and theirs). And continue to write the story for the fun of it. And because really, I just need to see where it goes. 

I've read a lot of wonderful writing advice lately that I am trying to keep in the back of my mind as I go along. 

Kiersten White, author of Paranormalcy and Supernaturally, said on her blog -- Kiersten Writes
Yes: Make publishing a goal if it is important to you.
No: Don't let being published determine your worth as a writer. Always, always, always keep the love of writing first and foremost. If you let the pursuit of publication kill your love of writing, not even a book deal with salvage it. We write because we love to, because we need to. We pursue publication with this firmly in mind, knowing that even if it never happens our writing still has value.
Kristen Lamb, author of We Are Not Alone—The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer,  said on her blog -- Kristen Lamb's Blog
When people ask what you do, you need to tell them, “I am an author” or “I am a writer.” Even if you don’t have your book finished. This is going to sting. As long as you introduce yourself via your day job, that is what you are telling your subconscious that you want to be FOREVER.“I’m an administrative assistant.” Well, I hope you like that job because that statement is forming your identity. Don’t even try to cheat with “I am an aspiring writer.” Again, that is a subconscious cue, and twenty years later you will still be “aspiring.” Just go practice in the mirror and say a hundred times. “I am an author. I am an author.”   
Screw aspiring. Aspiring is for pansies. Takes guts to be a writer. 
I love what they both say. When people ask what I do, with a grimace I usually say, I'm a nanny. And then sometimes I follow that up with and I am trying to write books. Usually mumbled. Everything in my response says I am not serious about it. I have no passion for it. Which is a lie. I most definitely do. But I'm hiding that passion under a bushel. NO!

The question for myself and for writers alike -- why are we writing? 

For me -- I am writing for the same reason that I read. Because I love to escape into those magical worlds of imagination.  Whether a world in the future, a world with fallen angels, or simply a romance in my own world -- what is so great about them all, is the adventure one can go on just by reading the words. 

It isn't about, "Oh this is the top selling book and the best paid author. I'm totally going to read their book because Oprah says it is good." It isn't about, "I am going to write about mermaids because they are super trendy and are sure to get me published." It isn't about, "I'm quitting because this book will never be a NYT bestseller."

It isn't about doubt and jealousy and trends and popularity. It is about the enjoyment you get when you read a sentence that makes your jaw drop below your knees and your heart to catapult out of your chest. 

It isn't about whether you have a huge vocabulary and always know where to put your commas (ahem, I never know where to put my commas). It is about the story you tell. Or the story you read. 

So...I am taking that backpack full of bricks and leaving it at the start of the trail. From here on out, all I need is my heart, my mind, and my soul. I am leaving the pressure and the doubt behind. And bringing with me the passion, the joy and of course -- my imagination. 

1 comment:

  1. This is great!!! Outstanding advice. I love Kirsten Lamb's - 'Screw aspiring. Aspiring is for pansies.' I'm glad you are motivating yourself on the right track. Willpower!!! If I only had that now...haha after reading this, here's to dedicating part of my day to write!


Questions? Comments? Snide remarks?