The secret to writing and the reason why this is Awesome!

Writing

Writing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you want to know a little secret? Come closer and I’ll tell you. Now, are you sitting comfortably, got a drink? Go on, go get one, your favorite tipple or a hot chocolate, I’ll wait…

You all set? Great,

Ready, Set, Here it comes……..

“Writing isn’t easy.”

Phew, I said it. Did you think I was going to give you the secret sword of wordsmithing? Do you think that there is some sort of magic bean that instantly transforms you into a genius who wee’s excellence? Or perhaps one ring that rules them….. Sorry got carried away there.

We all wish there was and we’ve all seen the sales patter..

“Sign up for my webcast where I show how you can write a bestseller with next to no effort on your part…” and all for just 500 fat ones… Ohh PURLEASE

Ever thought that if you could just…… find the magic keyword that opens the door to blockbusterville closely accompanied by the six figure publishing contract (where we don’t have to market or speak to people), that everything will be okay? It won’t.

Success in life is about persistence and luck. You have to keep at it and be ready when luck comes knocking. But before luck can pull up at the welcome mat (you are not naked are you? Good Gracious, put something on… No not the jogging bottoms.) you are there prepped and ready for it. So here’s my reason/s why it’s great that writing is so hard.

1. If it was easy everyone would be doing it….

If writing a novel or writing in general was a cake walk then everybody would do it. I know that at times it may seem that everyone IS doing it but they’re not. It’s just the writers resources and blogs where you have hung out. Most people don’t do it or can’t do it and that’s just great for you and me. Less writers, less competition – mwah, ha, ha, ha….. I am stroking a cat, she is long haired but she definitely does not have a diamond collar.

2. If it was easy everyone would finish it…..

Most people never finish. There are hundreds and thousands of dusty manuscripts and half written poems or short stories lining drawers everywhere. If you’re gonna do this writering you have to finish. A half-written story is a broken promise. Now you are not the sort of person who breaks a promise are you? Good. I thought not. (Please in the name of all that walks and crawls do not let this be me…. 9,600 and a full stop to go.)

3. If it was easy everyone would do it well….

Yes, I know a lot of poorly written and unbelievably dire books are out there. If everyone did this well, how would you and I distinguish ourselves against the rest of them? It’s  our error free original wonderful creative voice that makes us special. We don’t just ship, see point 2, we ship rainbows and cream cakes and the smell of grass after summer rain.

So yes this writing is hard and it takes time, persistence, sweat, tears, anger, frustration and love to create.  But that is why the fact that we are writers and we write is AWESOME.

Comments, as always are welcome.

The balance between real-life and writing.

Blah! Party logo

Blah! Party logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have been less than perfect in my day job this week and simultaneously stifled and unable to write in any downtime. Not that there’s been a lot of that….. I’ve clocked up sixty hours this week. – I am not going to throw a pity party about it, that was yesterdays post!

So how do you manage the demands on your time when you are struggling to finish your novel and trying to hold down an intense job that pays the mortgage?

It’s tough and it’s not a subject that gets covered in a positive way by a lot of the advice blogs you read. I think the usual general gist of it is to –  suck it up…. It’s just the journey of being a writer – Blah, Blah.

I’ve seen strategies and spreadsheets. Advice that tells you to get up half an hour earlier. To try harder because you are obviously not utilising your time properly.

Helpful eh?

I think you need to show balance and when you find yourself short on time, focus on the things that count. Sometimes there is stuff more important than writing or building a platform or engaging in social media or anything like that.

How long have you had this dream for? If you are anything like me, it is decades now. Is it going anywhere? – Nope, it’s here to stay. So don’t sweat it and don’t give the inner demons a chance to wheedle their way in. Because once they start they won’t stop and if you let them get a horn in the door of your mind they’re likely to convince you to quit…. AGAIN.

So cut YOURSELF some slack, you are not procrastinating, hey it would be lovely to have the time to procrastinate.

There are probably people in your life and they deserve your love and undivided attention, too. That Novel is not gonna let you warm your feet on them on a cold winters night and they deserve better. They know it’s important to you, they put up with being a writers widow/er so give them some valuable time.

You will come back to the writing, tomorrow or the next day because you gave yourself some room to let it settle. You placed things in the right order of importance. You cut yourself some slack.

It’s only when we force it that the inner demons get into their stride or we end up thinking about what has to give… Something always has too eventually. So stop beating yourself up about it and go hug a husband or spouse or family member or even a little person.

Comments, as always, welcome.

Why Don’t You Get Me?

Bit by Richard Tuttle

A piece of me, I always knew I was Red.     Bit by Richard Tuttle (Photo credit: cliff1066™)

Sometimes, you write a post and it’s all “Hooray” lot’s of likes and comments straight out of the publishing gate. Other times, you write a post (these are the ones you are immensely proud of that you feel a bit like a parent sending your little one to their first day of school) and it’s that tumbleweed rolling down the hill!

So what gives?

Why don’t you get it? Why do I suddenly feel alone in the schoolyard clutching my satchel wondering if you don’t like me and if you’ll never like me?

The writing is the easy bit, the putting it out is  the hard bit. It all get’s mixed up and coalesces into something awful and grimy and messy.

I have a theory that all writers secretly believe their special. Special and different. I know that in my heart,  apart from all the bullshit about grammar, publishing and all that guff, I secretly feel that way too.

I think I fear finding out that I’m deluded and my secret and different specialness is just a dream that keeps me sane.

Here’s hoping I never wake up.

Finding a Niche – Writing to read not writing for readers.

Niche Syndrome

Niche Syndrome (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I started writing again because no one was writing what I wanted to read. There are some amazing books that I really enjoyed but there were no books that really hit what I wanted and that’s why I picked up my creativity and got cracking again.

I was away for the holiday this weekend and I took my net-book and whilst thinking out some plotlines, I realised I was falling into a bit of a trap. The snare of thinking about the reader too much. I was trying to craft situations that I thought the readers would want to read and not remaining true to my original vision of the story.

It’s quite easy when you’re a newbie writer to do this because you are often second guessing what you think. Whilst it’s okay to think about plausibility and originality and to make sure your story is authentic, the minute you begin thinking about the end-user just take a moment.

Writing for other readers doesn’t work if it did then there would be a magic formula that all writers would follow that would result in endless bestsellers and residuals. Don’t believe the hype and all the books that promise just that.. Are savvy (if immoral) authors getting rich off your naïvety rather than any original novels they’ve written.

By thinking too long and hard about the reader and not the story, you’re sure to end up with a confused and stilted mess. The minute, I reset my expectations and began again, with what I wanted to read, the niche that no one else inhabits and the story that makes me light up in dark moments, my flow and my creativity raced back in.

Trust yourself and your story and your future readers will too.

So what do you think?

Comments, as always, welcome.

 

Why have I never heard of half of the people who give writing advice?

Advice

Advice (Photo credit: mpclemens)

I always used to imagine that writing (if you do it properly) is a free and easy creative rapture, where I sit and the words effortlessly flow from every pore like some sort of wordsmith disease. I have discovered Dear Reader that anything worth doing is difficult. Now, I’m not talking brain surgery here, I am talking about effort….

I’ve also discovered a direct correlation between how difficult it is and how likely I am to complete it. Is half of this about showing up and writing stuff down? Stuff that isn’t just about how hard it is to write stuff. I’ve tried that tactic recently and I have managed to complete 3/4 of my novel.  It’s still not finished and nowhere near a publishable or ship-able format but it is 3/4 done and I’m patting myself on the back for that.

It also resulted in a six month gap in my blog writing. I love blogging due to instant gratification, I press the little publish button and voilà someone is potentially going to skim read the first few lines.  However, I have noticed how much writing blogs  and a lot of the advice being extolled,  is from people who have no more right to give advice than I do…

Have they written a bestseller, maybe but not one that I’ve ever read….

So is that what happens when your novels don’t make it? Do you just write about writing instead…..

Your thoughts are welcome friends…

P.S If you fancy a very commercial laugh. Try #danceponydance

P.S.S Do not drink any kind of liquid whilst doing this.

P.S.S.S The Findus one is genius! For all my American friends – Google recent press in the UK regarding Findus after watching. It will make perfect sense.

The Joy of Writing – Because sometimes it actually feels good…

We all talk on the blog about the pain and suffering of writing and of how we must knock our head against metaphorical writers blocks or how we are well versed at procrastination and indecision. When do we talk about the joy of it?

Joy I hear you cry! – Can I not hear your suffering and torment, how can I talk about joy when it comes to this mutual addiction of words on paper. Put quite simply  – because it is true!

Yes writing is hard and you can go from feeling you have reached a pinnacle of desperate craftiness to sizzling mediocrity – depending on how it is going. But there are days when you get lost in the story and when the story gets lost in you. When your fingers can’t keep up with the voices and you are left holding your breath and hanging on for dear life as your darlings sweep you away.

I feel like this now and no, none of it is perfect. It will need tortuous re-writes and endless re-structuring. A certain comma, needs moving or a word gets repeated or it is slipping into a turn of phrase that seem like weeds in the well-balanced prose. Or I keep saying that a character turned towards something or looked at something, some basic mistakes.

I urge you to just get that wip of yours out now and let it go, relax, let the words they speak in your head hit the paper and whilst you’re doing that just imagine not being able to do it. Imagine they have taken the gift of being god (for that is what you are in whichever world your building, the situations you craft) away from you.. That you could never do it again. Pretty scary stuff – right.

There are days when it feels like the mountain is too tall and you left a lonesome spirit at the bottom gazing into the distance, feeling small. Then there are the days where you stand at the top of the world you have built and feel, dare I say, a trifle pleased with yourself at what you have created.

It is a gift to create. Enjoy it.

Of course tomorrow is a different story… One with a much less joyous ending. So whatever you are doing, reading your emails, spending time on social media – just stop – that page aint gonna fill itself and if you feel a trite pissed off at having to do it. Just imagine that you could never do it again, and then smile and get on with it….

Comments, as always, welcome.

 

THE LOST BLOG – A NEWBIE SAYS GOODBYE

It’s been six and a half weeks since I started this little sojourn into blogging and I have met some great characters along the way. Diversity on WP is everywhere. The first time someone decides to Follow You. You want to explode into song. Me, you want to hear more of what little ol’ me has to say. Are you sure? Really? No, I’m not complaining but okay. You think it’s a fluke, an act of madness perhaps; they’ll un-follow you anyways shortly. You then get your second and your third and it’s like all your Christmases have come at once!

Then people start commenting. Not just “nice post check out my blog” – They say stuff that tells you that they have actually read what you’ve said, they’ve connected. They “GET” you!

Some people who comment, you get what they say too… You go and look at their blogs often, you spend time there. You build a little branch of understanding and friendship.

Then disaster!

You see today I went to check out someone’s Blog, they started a few months before me and we were newbies together.

They’re not there anymore. Disappeared, high tailed, vamoosed – GONE.

WP tells me that the Blog was deleted by the author. What? They left, without goodbye, without so much as a “Ta Ta for now” or a “So long and thanks for all the fish?”. They were one of the top commenters on my blog and whilst we didn’t agree on everything, there was a synergy there; a companionship and sense of community. The fact that they were new too and got what it’s like when you’ve started – that thrill you get with every little bloggy milestone passed….

Daniela of the Lantern Press. I don’t know where you have gone or what made you leave but I wish you the best. I hope you come back one day even if it’s just to tell me you’ve set up on Blogger.