Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Insecure Writer's Support Group- 5 Tips for Writers (from an aspiring one)


Five Tips for Maintaining Sanity as a Writer (may be taken with a grain of salt)

1. You don’t have a deadline(assuming you are unpublished, of course.) I hear a lot of advice about not wasting your time, not procrastinating.  For me, the opposite is true.  I am constantly pushing myself to meet self-imposed deadlines that mean nothing to anyone but myself.  Don’t get me wrong, goals are good.  But I also work full time.  And have a family.  Sometimes I come to and realize that I’ve been chipping away at my project so furiously that I’ve got nothing left- I’m at the absolute end of my endurance.  I have to tell myself that it’s okay to rest.  I actually forced myself to play a computer game last night rather than try to add to my word count. You can’t get blood from a stone. Repeat after me: IT’S OKAY TO REST.

 2.   Feedback is only so useful. That’s right.  I said it.  I love feedback from… well, anyone who is interested, whether they are writers, or friends, or some guy off the street wearing a hotdog suit.  But sometimes feedback is contradictory.  Sometimes it is demoralizing.  Sometimes … sometimes it just isn’t that useful. I’m slowly learning that there are times when it’s okay to ignore 90% of the feedback you get. (Depending on the source, etc.)
  
3.  Most of my favorite books don’t follow the exulted rules which some people are fond of using to beat you over the head like a lead pipe. I’ve read the rules.  I’ve tried to adhere to the rules.  I’ve become confused by the rules.  I’ve taken down a Kim Harrison book (and a Patricia Briggs book, and about five other authors that I adore) and read the first chapter.  Then I’ve done a small, albeit crazy, “I told you so” dance.  I try to adhere to the rules, but I don’t always succeed.  That’s okay.  Many sources will tell you that you have to at least KNOW the rules before you can break them.  Noted. Now, I’m not saying that I think I’m so bad ass that I don’t have to, you know, have a basic grasp of the English language, etc.  But it’s no use having a freak out I-can-never-do-this-and-I-might-as-well-die-and-be-eaten-by-stray-dogs panic attack over something as irrelevant as non-said dialogue tags, or how many times you use the letter Z on each page (okay, so I made that one up) when you are trying to get your novel finished. I vow to write the story first, and worry about the rest of that stuff (at an appropriate level) later. Mostly because for every “never do X” there is another person saying “always do X,” and a third person saying “well…only do X when this happens.” It’s straight up maddening, yo! (Yes, I did just say that.)
     
      4. In all honesty, you can do whatever the hell you want to do. That’s right, you heard me.  It’s your book.  Your life.  Go for it. (Repeating this to myself like a mantra.) For most of the hours in my life I have to adhere to things like, say, social norms.  Not when I write. It’s a free-for-all.  Embrace the freedom.


     5. You are amazing.  Sat down and outlined an entire story?  Finished a rough draft? Finished a final draft?  Finished five of those mothers? Good job! I’m proud of you. Even if you never accomplish another thing in your life, you’ve done something that not many people ever have the guts, creativity, tenacity (or sheer crazy disregard for their mental health) to do.  You rock, writer.  You rock!  
 



15 comments:

  1. I agree with all of these points. Oh, I should probably mention that I'm closing in on the end of the first complete draft of my second novella. Woooo!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay!!! Congrats on all the hard work!

      Delete
  2. Love these five tips!!! Although I'm currently working under a self-imposed deadline, it's actually a fairly realistic one . . who knew I could create a deadline that makes sense with my crazy full life? But I did, so it works.
    I think rules are for the revision stage, and even then, we have to decide what works for our story. Besides, who knows? Maybe our books will set the next set of trends (I mean, rules) for the future?

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm a fellow IWSG member. Hi, Kaye. Ok, my fav part of your post is this: "...sheer crazy disregard for their mental health." Isn't that the truth? haha

    Your points are so valid. Thanks for validating my occasional moments where I NEED to rest. It is tough working FT and wearing all of my different hats. A little break now and then or everyday if needed is ok.

    Thanks for these points. They are valuable things to live by. :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I totally agree. That balancing act is tough! Especially with a family. You don't want to feel guilty about spending too much time on your work and don't want to be too burned out to give them some time and energy- but at the same time, can't lose momentum! Best of luck!

      Delete
  4. Great, great post. I especially love #4.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm totally with you on #1 - probably because I have a job and kids (even homschooled a couple of them for the last few years) that keep me from having much good writing time. Heck, I've been known to write a scene during a slow night at work and email it home to myself! (don't tell my boss) :D Drive to up the word count is not a problem I have. Getting the time to do it is.

    I'm with you on #2-4 to a point--as you said, depends on the source and the rule. If lots of reliable people are saying the same thing, I think we need to at least consider their remarks. I've always said I'd rather get raked over the coals in private by my crit partners than get vilified on Amazon. LOL At the end of the day, though, if we like our story after an editing pass and after it's had time to sit and we come back to it, then others probably will, too.

    #5 is where I slack off and forget to give myself an occasional pat. It IS something to complete a written work - even if it never gets published.

    Great post! :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love these. Very glad to have hopped over here, Kaye.
    Karen

    ReplyDelete
  7. Great tips! Thanks for sharing. And we all need breaks. They are a good thing.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. :) Best!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I love this post!! What great advice. I also love the feel of your blog, all of the greenery and pretty pictures :) The A-Z idea was very creative too. I am definitely going to follow your blog :)

    Andrea

    ReplyDelete
  9. Better late than never (from IWSG). Great tips...just shared on Twitter. Hoping Camp NaNo is going well for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow! Thanks Donna :0
      I'm slogging through. I'm at that place where I hate my novel's smug little face... but deep down in there somewhere I still love it (kind of like that irritating family member?) I've passed the half-way point for my nano goal, and the novel is about 70-75% done.
      Back to slogging...

      Delete
  10. Well, did you ever finish it? We're well into 2013 now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lol. Finished, queried, requested, rejected. I've finished another novel and sent out for critiques, and am well underway on another.... I refuse to sit still :)

      Delete

I'd love to hear your musings :)