Tag Archives: Writing

Writerly Links

As a relatively new writer, I often wonder if I’m doing things right. A friend of mine told me “If you’re writing, then you’re doing it right.” Fair enough. The most common advice authors tend to give out is to read voraciously and write often. However, there are still things we should know as writers.

To the interwebz!

 

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Larry Brooks’ 5 Creative Flaws That Will Expose Your Lack of Storytelling Experience – Great post explaining small changes that have a large impact. Very clear and concise.

MaryElizabeth Summer’s 7 Things Your English Teacher Lied to You About – As a one time English teacher, this post had me giggling to myself. Yep, I remember telling kids all of these rules. While they probably still apply in some areas, they really don’t necessarily apply to your novel/writing.

Kara Lennox’s How Much Research is Enough? – This is a great question. As authors should we be more concerned with enteraining or knowing the ins and outs of every skill/job/experiment/task/etc our characters perform?

Chuck Wendig’s 25 Ways to Defeat the Dreaded Writers’ Block – We all face it at one time or another! Check out his book, 250 Things About Writing too.

Marcy Kennedy’s Crafting a 25-Word Pitch – Great information for your pitch. Struggling with your novel? Take time to write your pitch and maybe you’ll see where the problem is!

I know there are many other useful links out there as well. Please share some of your favorites in the comments section!

Nobody’s Perfect

Lately, I’ve found myself becoming more of a perfectionist with whatever task I’m trying to conquer; whether it’s a quilting or writing project. If a seam is even just a little off I get frustrated and want to rip it out to start again. If the scene isn’t going exactly where I want it to, I delete it and try again. However, that’s not always the best answer.

As creative people we tend to really focus on our art to where eventually the art suffers. Like Mark Lipinski stated last week:

Sometimes when I work on my art, not planning it, but literally working with my tools, supplies and techniques, I get so focused on perfection that my work — be it drawing, designing fabric or patterns, knitting, crochet, painting, quilting, hooking strips of wool, or whatever, — that  I find myself holding my pencil and pens and tools tighter and tighter and my art, my process, and my end result becomes more inflexible, severe and, well, tight.  It doesn’t work on so many levels . . .

LOOSEN UP, CUPCAKE!  Shake the stress and strain and perfection from your bod and allow your art to flow through you!

Well said. We need to loosen up and see where the creative process takes us. If the finished product isn’t what we expected, that’s ok. It may be better! Or, it may turn into more supplies for your scrap pile. Sometimes we need to step back, walk away from the project for a bit to get a different perspective. Many people use a reducing glass so they can see more of a cohesive picture as opposed to focusing too closely on one particular block.

You may find when you return to your project that “wrong color” turns out to work better than what you had originally envisioned. No matter what our creative journey may be, we need to remember that sometimes perfect can lack personality!

Oh, Didn’t Expect That

I’m going to take a break from Flash Fiction Mondays this week to talk a little bit about my work in progress. This past Saturday I drug my tush out of bed at 6AM to meet up with my running/workout partner for our run. After finishing almost 4 miles it was time to head to Borders for our Writers’ Guild meeting. This is only my third time meeting with the group and every time they ask me if I have any writing I want to share. So far, I haven’t had the guts to lay myself out there. However, I made a step in the right direction. I joined up with one of the other members, Laurie, to be crit partners. While I’m not yet brave enough to subject my writing to the entire group, I am willing to let Laurie dig in and tell me what she thinks.

Laurie is currently writing a YA Paranormal book and the first chapter was quite intriguing. Her use of imagery was outstanding. I have no doubt that once she begins the editing phase her novel will be in excellent shape. I’m quite excited to see how this partnership develops.

As far as my WIP goes, it took an unexpected turn last night. My novel was going to have some elements of fantasy and steampunk but not be overly so. Well, that all changed last night. This is definitely a fantasy novel. The world is being re-created and altered and I am having a blast with it! I also would have said this was going to be a romance, but I believe it’s leaning more toward a mystery with romantic undertones. I’ll know more the further I get into the story.

Do you find your story changing when you least expect it? How do you handle that? Do you go with the flow or write it down for perusal at a later date?

Fear and Heavy Equipment Auctions

My husband is one of the quirkiest, kindest people I know. He wanted a big chunk of land when we first started dating and now we live on 30 acres of untamed timberland. Now, it would make sense that some sort of farm equipment (e.g. a tractor, a skid steer) would be purchased about the same time. However, that wasn’t the case. We are still sans tractor. Mike and I have looked over the years for a skid steer to whip the land into shape but the prices are a bit high and given the fact that we know nothing about heavy equipment, it’s hard to tell if a used skid steer is actually worth what the seller is asking for it. That being said, today Mike is facing off against a crowd of 1000 strangers in a place he’s never been, by himself.

He has been talking about going to a heavy equipment auction for a while to see if we can get a decent deal on a skid steer. Normally, I would go with him for moral support because…well…it’s less intimidating to get out of your comfort zone when you have someone to share the experience with. Unfortunately, today I had to work. I fully expected him to put it off until the next auction when I’d be able to go with him. To my surprise, he went by himself into the great unknown and I have never been more proud.

Seeing him push aside his comfort to step outside the box is encouraging. This action shows he’s not willing to just sit by and let life happen (staying in his comfort zone) but rather is going to push the envelope, no matter how uncomfortable it may be at times. Granted, we may end up with some odd piece of equipment he bought at an outrageous price from being out of his element at the auction, but that’s ok. I’ll gladly eewww and ahhh appropriately as he shows off his “steal”!

So often we let fear or anxiety keep us from doing what we want. Many times we’ll stop before we even get started. As Kristen Lamb stated in her Dance with the Devil blog:

Fear is the dream-killer.

Nothing great was ever accomplished in the comfort zone. The very nature of creativity is risk. As writers, we experience this every day. We face off against friends and family that can be benevolent dream-stealers. They mean well and they don’t want us to feel the sting of failure, but we can never be big winners if we don’t take a chance.

Once we do take the chance to write, there is always the fear of rejection that comes along when querying our work. Here, we’ve spent months if not years working on our novel and when the time comes to send it out into the world our fingers start to itch and the “what if” parasite infests our grey matter.

“What if they don’t like it?”

“What if I’m not as good as I thought?”

“What if…..”

You get the picture. Add to all of that the social media aspect of being an author and it’s enough to make people run for the hills. Thankfully, there are plenty of people/authors willing to help on the journey. Kristen Lamb has a couple of books specifically about social media  and bloggingfor writers as well as having started the #MyWANA hashtag for twitter. “We are not alone!”

Jody Hedlund’s blog is also fantastic resource for writers in all parts of their journey. If the idea of twitter/blogging/facebook overwhelms you, she has a helpful post on how much time you should be spending on social media.

Every time I sit down to work on my WIP, fear and doubt try to take over. Fear is nonproductive and unwelcome. When I feel it creeping up, I have a conversation/pep talk with myself:

Practice makes perfect. Just keep writing and eventually the confidence will come. So what if my first attempt ends up poorly received? What’s the worst that will happen? I will have learned from the writing/editing process. I will have created something! No one is going to take away my computer and forbid me to write because of this bump in the road.

So, no matter how much we may doubt ourselves at any given time, the only way to improve is to practice. Write, write, and write some more!

What do you do that helps you overcome the fear of putting yourself out there?