Finding A Way

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So earlier this week a friend shared an article on Facebook that I’m not going to link to here because I don’t want to send any traffic to the article. I generally try to keep my blog posts positive and the article in question was one of the most pathetic excuse filled articles about writing I have ever read. The author was whining because she thought publishing one book that people raved about would mean she could quit her day job and just be a WRITER.  Yep the “W” word in all caps. In other words she believed her own press. She stopped writing when the offers did not come pouring in and she managed to give herself a big old case of writers’s block and in case you are unclear about my opinion, this is my post on writer’s block.

I have a book that will be released on Monday and you know what I’ve been doing while I was waiting for the book to be published? Writing. While I was doing all the things you need to do when you have a book coming out, i.e. revisions, edits, plans for publicity, etc., I have been writing.

Why? Because I know that writer’s write. Even on days when I can not sit down at my computer because of day job/ kids/ other obligations I write in my notebook. I make story notes on scraps of paper, or collect photos of places that inspire stories, or write blog posts like this one. And that is my point. You can’t stop writing and wait for things to happen, you have to keep going.

When you coach T-Ball one of the things you have to work on is getting kids to run after they hit the ball instead of standing there watching to see where the ball is going. Writing one book and not having plans for the next project is like standing at home plate waiting to see what happened to the ball you hit.

So in case you are struggling with my sports analogy or if  you publish a book to critical acclaim and you think that is enough, here is the advice the woman should have gotten.

KEEP WRITING

because you are a writer and writers write. We write when we are sad, overwhelmed, overworked, anxious, happy, frisky, exhausted, hungry, frustrated, angry, sick, or convinced that no one but our Aunt Edna will ever read our work. We write because we are writers and writers write. Don’t quit. Find a way to write and do it.

 

Persistence: Keep On Keeping On

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Persistence and patience are qualities that every writer needs. Persistence so that you can keep going when others do not understand why you do what you do, patience as you send your work out and wait for a reply. Persistence as you continue to write and submit and edit. Patience as you continue to carve out time to write when you have a job/family/other obligations. Persistence to fight for your time to create.

If you are a writer/creative you have to keep writing, even if is only one sentence, keep moving. Some writers struggle with getting words on the page, and I wrote a post about writer’s block and not having time for it, which you can read here.  Making progress and achieving your goals can be achingly slow, and I have written about slow progress here .

As a writer who wants to be published you have to keep writing and submitting your work, you have to keep producing, and you have to keep sending it out there. Why? Because one day you might just get that acceptance letter instead of a rejection, because if you don’t send it out no one will ever read/see/experience your work.

If you are writing and creating just for yourself, with no intention of ever sharing your work with anyone else that is fine, but if you are serious about sharing your work with others you have to be persistent. The flip side of persistence is patience. It is hard to be patient, hard to wait for decisions to be made about your work.
So, what should you do to cope with the time between when you send your work off and hearing back, and how do you cope with rejection if you work is not accepted? Get to work.

Write, create, paint, photograph, throw clay pots, whatever it is that you do creatively, get back to work. Be patient. Be persistent. Keep going.

This week a short story that I wrote was published. It is not the first time I have been published, but this is the first of my fiction that has been published, and that makes it is special. So how did I celebrate? I wrote this piece, and got back to work.

Here is the publisher’s link  for the book. I hope that you check it out, the stories are unique and I am very happy to have my work included in this anthology.

Here is the link to Cheyenne Blue’s site for more information and tantalizing bits about the writers included in the this anthology http://www.cheyenneblue.com/

 

 

 

Here is the Amazon link for the book

 

Writer’s block? I don’t have time for that.

Age: One Day
This is how old my kids were when I started writing my thesis.
This is how old they were when I finished.
At the celebration lunch.

You did it Mom!

One year.  Did I mention that we moved out of state, and went on a trip that lasted a month? It was crazy hard, and sometimes I don’t know how I did it.

I do know that I created some rituals and routines to keep my words flowing. I had a deadline. I could not wait until I felt like writing, or was inspired. Writer’s block was just not an option.
I found that creating small rituals helped me focus when I did have time to write. When I talk about rituals, I am talking about little things that reminded me that I was at the keyboard for a reason. Here are some tips to help you stay on track and keep your writing project going.

1. Use every second. Work when you can. Even if it is only for thirty minutes, it will add up.

Yep, I worked every time they napped.

2. Always take five minutes at the end of your work session to make a note to yourself about what you need to write, or accomplish the next time you work. This saves time when get back to writing, and keeps the project moving forward.

3. Keep your project materials together. Searching for materials wastes time, and distracts you from writing.

4. Find a way to organize your notes and materials that works for you. Once you find a way, stick with it until the end of the project. If you are tempted to stop work to reorganize, resist. Reorganizing is a huge waste of time. If you want to try a different method, save it for the next project.

5. Write, even when you don’t feel like writing, when you want to quit, when you are sick and tired, and would rather do anything else. Keep going.

6. Ask for help when you need it. I had a babysitter once a week for six hours. I did not go to the grocery store, do laundry, sleep or any of the hundred other things that needed to be done. Guard your work time.

7. If you work with music on, create a playlist that you use for all your work sessions for your project. Music can help shift your mood, and stimulate your writing. My playlist was called “Write the MotherF*$^er”.  I still use it.

8.  Make yourself accountable to someone. If you are in school, this would be your advisor. If you are working on your own, find a critique group or writing partner.

9. Do not point a baby you just fed at your research notebook. This is a bonus tip. I was cleaning out my project files last week  and I found my thesis research notebook. It still smells faintly of baby vomit.

10. Believe. Believe in your project. Believe in your ability.

I believe in you. Get to work.