Take a deep breath and just do it!

We writers in general, not speaking about the small percentage who has enough ego to “just do it”; Publish their ideas for the world to see! 

Most of us are a bunch of insecure, loners who just have to write (ok speaking for myself here, but hoping I’m not alone). However, going that extra step to letting others read our work is a whole different kettle of fish! 

So, how to get to the point of going public? Baby steps in my case. One friend who has already taken that fearful step, and survived. She read one thing I wrote and believed in me. Wow! That was a moment! 

I’m a writer!  

Writers write, and then share, or publish to use industry jargon. 

Like a marathon runner, training comes first. Everything we write is practice for the main event. Publishing! 

If we, I, never enter the race, and run in public with all the other runners, writers, then we will never know how well we run or, in our case, write. 

It’s safer so just stay at home. However, there is a point where the writing alone just doesn’t give you the feeling you need. The feeling that it’s worth the effort, the long hours, you put in. When there is feedback, hopefully at least some of which is positive, or at least constructive criticism, then we poor, lone, writing souls are encouraged to keep going. 

A beta reading group was the next ‘baby step’ I took. Not just a writing friend who believed in me, but readers. Readers can be a tough lot to impress, unless they are close friends and family who just love everything you do. Feedback from readers, or even fellow writers, who are gutsy enough to tell us when what we’ve written sucks! Of course we may not be happy for a while, however, if that is coupled with a little positive advise, will keep us going, and help us to grow in our chosen craft. 

So…. after all this small talk, what I’m trying to say is, I am moving forward to publish one of my novelettes. Confident enough in what I’ve written, that it doesn’t actually suck. That it is ok, and will not be a total waste of time to read. 

In order to do that, I have to also move my blog space forward. Add email list so I can find out just how many people actually come here and read the content and would like the novelette. 

My next blog will be the first chapter in the novelette. To whet your appetite for the rest. 

Hopefully! 

40 reasons why I write

A Challenge from the Write Practice web site for writers.

We were challenged to think of 40 reasons why we write. Sometimes we lose sight of those basic reasons. Not because one day we could be famous (although I suspect that will be among some people’s reasons to write) but that feeling, or compulsion that drives us.

So here are my 40 reasons…. I’m sure if I kept going there would be more. However, I’m sure 40 is enough for most people to wade through…..

1. Why I’m writing at the moment is to challenge the challenge that I can even find 40 reasons why I write. (Hm.. is that even a reason?)

2. So it’s like this; I can’t help it. It’s not just what I do but what I am.

3. So many things to write about. So little time.

4.The stories keep coming and if I don’t write them down they just sit there and clog up my brain so I can’t think of anything else. (Brain fog?) (please read another blog post regarding Mozart) 

5. I can’t write correspondence anymore. No one sends snail mail. Electronic newsletters have fallen by the wayside as well. So I have to write sensational stories instead.

6. Someone has to do it. Might as well be me. 

7. I like writing, or in this case, typing. 

8. Unless I’m editing while I read, I actually like reading my own writing. (Which may not make sense to anyone but me, but that’s ok)

9. I have a writer friend who compels and challenges me to write.

10. No one has written my stories yet.

11. Why not?

12. I like filling up notebooks.

13. The characters in my head need their story told and they just won’t go away until I do! 

14. Writing takes me anywhere I want to go.

15. When I write, I’m me.

16. I like stories. My own and other people’s. 

17. Not everyone can write. I can, therefore I do.

18. A little piece of me is in everything I write.

19. I can be silly, romantic, noble, and so much more through my characters.

20. Some parts of me only live in my writing.

21. I’m always amazed when my characters take on a life of their own. 

22. There surely can’t be enough books out there yet?! 😄

23. I like to entertain.

24. I like to inform.

25. I like that I can put a smile on someone’s face.

26. I can’t stop! 

27. Because practice makes perfect. Or better at least. I hope! 

28. I enjoy it more than watching TV. Watching TV is too passive.

29. It’s something I can do whenever and wherever I like. 

30. It costs nothing….until I want to publish! 

31. It keeps my hands busy so I don’t eat. (It’s true!)

32. It’s communication with the world. 

33. I love sharing the worlds in my head. 

34. I can time travel to anywhere and any-when my writer’s imagination can go. No time machine necessary!  

35. When I write, I feel 

36. I want to be generous with my crazy writer’s mind. 

37. The more I write, the more ideas come that I need to put down on paper. It’s a never ending story. (Hm. That sounds like a good story right there! No! Don’t tell me it’s been done☹️)

38. Writing can change lives. It has changed mine. Other people’s words and also my own.

39. It connects us to one another.

40. There is always something or someone to write about or to.

The Human Condition

Some people like to read about real life, non-fiction, biographies etc. Others like fantasy, sci-fi or historical fiction. There are more genres than I can count… well I have to admit I haven’t actually counted them. However, there are lots! 

  

My son and I have always enjoyed sci-fi. When he was younger he read it almost exclusively. Over the years he has graduated to other genres, broadening his horizons. 
Is there such a difference between all the genres? Fiction, non-fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, historical, political…. The endless list. Are they all the same in some sense?
In some ways they are as different as night and day. In one sense, every story ever told has a similar thread. 

The human condition.
Down through time, humans have the same basic needs, both physical and emotional. Food, shelter, clothing and to love and be loved.
So, whether the story is of a person who is or has actually lived, or a fictional character, the hopes, desires, loves, hates and the complexities of relationships remain the same. It is simply told in a different way. Even if it is in a “land far, far away” and / or “a long time ago”.
The idea of a personality ARC, where our characters learn and grow, mimics real life. In some areas of life we learn, mature, and change with ease. Other times we learn from “the school of hard knocks”, the struggles of others or simply out of necessity of survival. 
Fictional character growth and change never comes out of nothing. As writers, our own experiences as those of the people around us, provide the basis. Even research into those who have suffered or experienced what we know our character has still comes from human experiences. 
Putting our mind and heart as well as the shoes of our characters, we are better able to bring to life their fears, struggles, passions, anxieties etc. 
Eons from now, the genres will change. Life will have changed. The Human Experience will continue to be the fuel to writer’s imaginations. 

Composing like Mozart

  

There are days when I feel like Mozart. 
I watched the movie Amadeus many years ago and was fascinated to learn, he did not compose on paper. Rather, the composition happened in his head and later he simply wrote it out. Amazing! 
I know I “write” in my head. I sometimes find myself laying awake at night having scenes from something I am writing play out in my head. Dialog and emotions broiling away and finally all coming together. 
There are times when I have to get up and write while the picture is clear, before sleep fades and blurs the edges. 
While I don’t consider myself in the same league as Mozart, I understand his need, compulsion to get the finished work out of his head. Out in down on paper. In his case, music! 
The written word can be music to one’s ears though can’t it. When written in such a way as to move us, change us, take us away to far away places, then it can be, to our soul, just like the music of Mozart.
Don’t you just love a good symphony?! 

I did it!

I actually finished and edited my first noveletta. “The Gentleman Earl”
I know what you’re thinking….. ((Yawn)) please bear with me…

As we writers know, writing and editing are polar opposites when it comes to creativity. 

Writing flows from the creative side of our brain, unhindered by the laws of grammar and popular convention. It oozes forth from our soul in its very basic form. 
As wonderful as it may sound to us as it flits from brain to the page, at a second glance, in the light of day so to speak, all of its imperfections show up like dust particles visible by the sun’s rays.
We mustn’t panic. After all, this is not what others will see. 
Let the cleanup begin! 
So, creative brain may take a break, have a nap, go on vacation. Editing beast has arrived…

  
I know I’m afraid of that ruthless animal, running amuck in my precious fictional world. I have to remember: editing won’t destroy my work if it’s good. I have to believe that it will stand up to the ravages of the edit. If not, it doesn’t deserve to be out there. 
So, let the edit begin! The clean up. Tightening the nuts and bolts that hold it all together. 
There are a precious few friends and/or colleagues we feel strong enough to let see our work before all the polish is done. These dear souls are willing too endure our typos, grammar blitzes and other assorted imperfections. 
Though we sensitive creative types do want some love, a little of that goes a long way. Tough love is needed as well. Tell us like it is! Help us grow.
So, critique away. I want to keep growing (as a writer anyway) 
Once finished, our precious but raw first draft will shine like a diamond. All its facets polished to perfection and ready to be on display. 

“What if?”

Two words that together, have a lot of power, especially to a writer. Those two words can actually turn out to be our best friend. 
“Lost in Austen” (here she goes again with Jane Austen…I hear you) is one of the best examples I can think of, that made the most  of, “what if?”.

  
Jane Austen lovers will likely either love it or hate it. I love it and have to watch it every so often, just like Jane’s originals. If you haven’t seen it, it’s all about the what if’s.
What happens when the heroine, protagonist, is missing from the story? Imagine what drastic changes begin to take place in the lives of those around her. All the interactions are changed, for better or worse. Then, insert a young woman from our modern world who is out of time and space but is desperate to fix her most precious tale…. All the while, ruining it at every turn.

(No real spoilers, if you haven’t seen it.) 
It’s amazing the tangents that a story will take when you ask, what if?
Next time your story is having a ‘yawn’ moment, ask ‘what if?’ and go with it. See where it takes you. Maybe it won’t take you where you thought you were going. You may have to scrap the what if and go back to plan ‘A’.
Perhaps, perhaps it will be the best thing that could happen to your tale; be the sparkle that lights the fuse to success. 
Never be afraid to ‘what if?’.

When does someone who writes become a writer? 

   

Go back in history and there are many millennia of the written word.  

Of course before the advent of the telephone, Skype, FaceTime, and all manner of social media the only way to communicate when one was not in another’s company, was to write!
Old fashioned couriers on horseback, ships across the sea, all took the information from one person to another, one family or business to another.
It is quite likely not everyone actually enjoyed corresponding, however it was and continues to be necessary. 
There have always been those, who did more than simply write out of necessity, laying out information and facts because it had to be done. Others viewed writing as a way of interpreting and sharing their view of the world and to entertain with tales of fantasy or folly. 
Even when it was unfashionable, women found a way too write and have others read and enjoy their work. 
Beatrix Potter’s mother had the usual expectations of the time for her daughter. Society dictated marriage and begetting of children from young ladies of rank. Carrying on the family name and creating financial alliances between families of wealth and property.  
However, the instinct and great need of Beatrix to draw and write, kept her true to her passion, not even realizing how successful she was at first. It was not the driving force for her. 
Jane Austen also wrote at a time when it was not fashion all for ladies to do so. Are we not extremely grateful that she did not yield to the dictates of her time. 
I know not everyone will agree with me, and that’s just fine. However, it goes to show how passion moves beyond what is popular, making it a necessity. 
Whether or not we are able to leave our current jobs or careers behind and make our way in the world with our passion to write, we press on, unable to stop. 
Writing has always been in my blood I suppose, sometimes out of necessity. However, it has never been a burden. Writing in earnest, for readers who are not yet known to me, is a relatively new and somewhat scary venture. 
But, what the heck! Isn’t there a slogan that says, “just do it!” I know it is primarily meant to get people more active, which reminds me….. I should really go and walk! 
It can also move us to action on just about anything we are procrastinating about. So, I will write, and keep writing. 
Just let the chips fall……..