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Friday, January 7, 2011

Panning for Gold

It's freezing, flippin' cold out there! But, at least we had a snow-day today. Yay! Love an unexpected long weekend.

I've been spending a lot of time wrestling with myself. I have the part of me that likes to have everything planned, and the part that prefers to "go with the flow." Going with the flow is winning out at the moment.

You see, I prefer to be an organic writer, which simply means that I don’t plan too much before I begin. I know where I want to go, and how I’m going to get there, but the details of it all are left to happen by osmosis. I find that I work much better that way.

I do, however, make what I call, “vision files.”

I take a file folder and paste pictures of what I imagine my characters might look like or the homes in which they may live, etc. I also throw into that file any dialogue that I may have written, or snapshots of plots or scenes. Anything I write that I think may fit into my story line, I cram into that file. But, as far as outlining, I stink at that. I feel too confined, if that makes any sense. I wish I could do that… outline. I have tried it, but I never, ever stick to it. And, I find that I can’t flow free in my thought process if I have to “stick to the rules.” (As I've said before, my creative muse gets her butt kicked by my editorial diva. And, that restricts me a bit.) So, my vision files are my organizational tool, for the time being, anyway.

I revise as I go along. I finish a portion of work, then I go back and reexamine, reassess, and modify whatever I feel may need it. Then, I go onto the next segment of work, write fresh, then I start the procedure all over again. It’s a long, arduous process, but one that works for me.

Might I change? Maybe. But, currently, I like the feeling of discovery that I get as I journey along with my characters. As long as I have the bones of the story, the flesh can be applied along the way.

I'm thinking, however, about expanding my writing endeavors to non-fiction. Then, my organizational process will have to change. I'm not yet sure what I would like to pursue as far as topic matter for articles or what have you. As a typical writer, I have many ideas. Just need to pan for gold, and get the dirt out of the way so that I can see what shines.

On a different note, I've been spending these first days of the new year grappling with what I want for myself, in all areas. I'm ready to push through what has held me back in the past, whether it be fear of rejection or failure, or lack of prioritization of my goals, or whatever. I feel as though I've embarked on a new journey.

Maybe it has to do with my age and taking more serious thought about my future. Maybe I'm maturing in certain areas and not "caring" so much about what people think, and being able to see criticisms as constructive and not taking them so personally.

Maybe, with age, brings confidence, and liking who we are. Maybe age facilitates us becoming our authentic selves. Maybe, with age, there's a new hunger that propels us to conquer and then eat what we've hunted and gathered with our own hands, instead of just allowing our stomach to growl, wishing there was food handed to us on a plate.

Whatever it is, I like it.

I will be, if I continue to will to be. You will be, if you continue to will to be.

See? This is what happens when I don't outline and just write "organically," I ramble. But, hopefully through the dirt of the ramble, they'll be nuggets of gold.


Shoe Mood:

Practicality coupled with free-spiritedness.


I think it works quite well.

Monday, January 3, 2011

How Will You Judge Your Success As A Writer?

I think as writers, we all come to the realization that it may take some time to become a success. I know that everyone has differing views on what writing success is or isn’t. For some it may be getting published, and that’s it. For others, it may be having healthy, consistent royalties. Still others, the hope of continued contracts for further work and nice fat advances. (Do they still even have those if you're not a movie star or someone relatively famous?) Still for others, it may be just being able to say that they’ve completed a full manuscript. Then, there are the “purists” who say they write to write only; that it doesn’t matter whether they ever become published or not. The love of the craft alone does it for them.

I can’t say that that’s where I’m at with my writing. I’m certainly not in it for the money, although it would be nice to have a reciprocal relationship with my writing and to have a little more tangible substance to go along with the joy of creating. (You know, I love to hear my husband tell me he loves me, but every now and then, a little bling-bling and sparkle does a girl some good!)

I guess, for me, I’ve not yet decided. I know that it’s more than just becoming a published author. Especially now, in this era of e-books and self-publishing, what was once frowned upon, discouraged, and disregarded as nonviable talent and caught the "roll" of many a prospective agent and or publisher's eye, now has some teeth to it. If you haven’t noticed, the publishing industry is changing, in a very big way… But, I digress.

I suppose what I am trying to say is that I want to write for the rest of my life. And, I don’t think that money alone will do it for me. In other words, I don’t think I could crank out just anything because it’s pop culture or what’s hot in the current trend. Every now and then, that would be great. But, I would like to think that my writing has touched someone’s life in a special way; that, my work didn't only serve as entertainment, but that in some way, I was able to challenge someone to dig deep within themselves and to ponder and consider the possibilities. I would like to think that when they closed the back cover of my book (or virtually turned the last page on their Kindle), they inhaled deeply and released with a sigh, saying, “Wow… now that was a story.”

This is why, no matter how many times I “walk away,” I will inevitably return to the desk and plant myself for the long hall. I just have too much to say.

So, in the meantime, I’ll keep pressing on. I’ll keep on writing, and no matter how many rejections come my way, I’ll keep charging ahead, and standing tall! I hope you will, as well.

How about you? What will be your measuring rod for determining your success? (Just a thought as we have entered a new year with new goals and vision.) Stay true, friends. You'll make it.


Shoe Mood:

Standing tall!

Must Reads

  • "A Long Fatal Love Chase" by Louisa May Alcott
  • "Gone With the Wind" by Margaret Mitchell
  • "I Capture the Castle" by Dodie Smith
  • "Les Miserables" by Victor Hugo
  • "Rebecca" by Daphne Du Maurier
  • "The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing" by M.T. Anderson
  • "The Grace Awakening" by Charles Swindoll