I have been applying some brain twirlings to the business of writing recently as you might imagine after my last post. Why is it easy sometimes and not others? How come the ideas that accumulate and assemble into rational plot lines and sentences in our heads sometimes refuse to fall into line on the page? And why do the same composed words give us joy one day and grief the next? Well I have no answers to any of those questions and I am willingly accepting any that you might offer, but in the meantime I thought I'd talk about a bunch of things that can interfere with our writing.
1) You aren't reading enough and aren't benefiting from the lessons you could be getting if only you read more books demonstrating how good plots, great characters, well composed sentences and expertly applied grammar look and work. Reading can also be inspiring and motivating. And I'm sorry, but if you don't read at all I'm not sure where your desire to be a writer can possibly come from.
2) You are reading too much and everything you read is light years better than anything you've been trying to write, and/or you are reading so much you run out of time to produce your own things. Too many books can overwhelm and demotivate you. It is a delicate balance and it may take a little while to strike it right. Being aware of the potential problem is a good place to start.
3) You aren't living your life. Seriously folks, having a life makes writing easier. Experiences provide raw material for future stories.Where else can you eavesdrop on the juicy conversation of others and find the people who will become the basis for the antagonist in your story who you will gleefully kill off in the most slow and gruesome fashion in your children's comic novel. And for a bonus 190,000 points, living your life will help you keep body and soul together when the writing is proving difficult and deflating. Hanging out with people you love is the best tonic.
4) You forget to feed your creative mind. Seriously, that thing does not work for free and cannot run on empty. And those sad desperate $20 fill ups that have you limping along will not result in the best work. And don't fill the tank with just anything or a constant diet of the same thing. Go watch, listen to, feel and take in, stuff you love, hate, want to analyse, and feel terrifyingly jealous of. All will inform your work in a positive way.
5) You listen too much to your inner voice when its on a downer. Man that thing can be a complete bummer that makes you wonder what the hell you are doing. It can be a broken record with a broken message. Tell yourself the message is boring, or even better, wrong. Graft in some positive mantras. Or listen to yourself give someone else some good advice and then use it too.
6) You give more weight to the negative voices of others than you do to the positive ones. This a classic. The negative feedback just seems so much more believable because it chimes in with what our inner voice has been telling us. Here is one of the reasons you need to deal to your inner voice. And remember if you choose to believe the criticisms, then you must also believe the compliments. They are no less worthy of your trust.
7) You don't eat properly, get enough sleep or get any exercise. You either treat your body like a temple, or a public toilet. Now think about what each of those might produce.
Things that don't matter
a) having the perfect place to write. Writing is conveniently portable and transferable. You can do it just about anywhere although I hear pen ink freezes in Antarctica. If you are delaying writing while you look for the right place, you are not writing.
b) having that world changing story idea. There are no new ideas, and even if that isn't true, waiting for something that no one has ever thought of before in thousands of years of civilization and written expression will stop you honing your craft, so, if and when that idea appears, you won't be skilled enough to write it. Of course if your world changing idea appears immediately I don't want to talk to you
c) believing there is some insight or secret that will make all the difference in finding writing success. 'Lots of writing' is the only secret I've discovered that works so far, in twenty years of writing experience. Do some writing while you wait
Educational Resource: Time Machine & Other Stories1939
- Educational Resource: The Were-Nana
- Educational Resource: Jack the Viking
- Educational Resource: The Half Life of Ryan Davis
- Educational Resource: Made With Love
- Educational Resource: The House That Went to Sea
- Educational Resource: A Winter's Day in 1939
- Educational Resource: While You Are Sleeping
- Educational Resource: The Song of Kauri
- Educational Resource: Fuzzy Doodle
- Educational Resource: Time Machine & Other Stories
- Educational Resource: Sharing with Wolf
- Educational Resource - Moon and Sun
- Book List - Complete List of my Publications
Sunday, April 22, 2018
Monday, April 16, 2018
So, what am I doing now? I'm currently looking for strategies on how to resurface my self encouraging mantras that have been wearing thin over time. Something like electroplating, cos another coat of varnish just won't cut the mustard anymore.
I'm sticking with the traditional publishing route for the moment. As fraught as it is, I know where my strengths lie and I know not everything I write can handle the rigours of appearing in book form. For better or worse I prefer to take my chances with the traditional.
I'm looking at previously unexplored publishers and how to reach them. Submitting overseas is notoriously difficult but worth a try. I am researching opportunities and their relative worth: conferences with pitching sessions, workshops and competitions. I am also reinvestigating trying to find an agent. If one took me on this would electroplate my mantras and expose my work to a wider range of publishers.
Taking action of any kind is a good thing. Stewing in ones own juices, especially when the water hasn't been changed for months is a sure fire way to get some noxious, stagnant water-borne disease. From time to time you should update the plan.
And I'm choosing not to change the way I write. This may sound counter-intuitive but I am not unhappy with the way I approach stories. I like what I'm producing. I will however keep pushing myself to create better things. Hopefully the world will come back round to meet me.