Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Monday, October 18, 2010

As I See It: If You Want to Write You Have to Write

This is a tough one. Today's rant is aimed at those who want to write and find a million reasons not to. Due to personal experience, I know a LOT about this. I'm linking to a post that everyone who wants to write for publication should read. It is written by Suz Korb on Bang out the Prose, and this is the brilliant title:

IF YOUR MANUSCRIPT SEEMS RUBBISH, FIX IT!!!! (caps are mine because I'm yelling)

It's up to me to fix my rubbish manuscript. The editor can't do it. The readers won't do it (they expect polished professionalism when they pick up a book to read). It's up to me the writer to fix my own crap. And the only way that happens is by PBIC (putting butt in chair).

I want to write, I call myself a writer, even a published author, but I find a zillion other things to do besides write. This is very frustrating. I annoy myself no end with what keeps me from writing-- the biggest one being procrastination. Oh, and my obsessive need to have everything in order before I can be creative.

House clean?  It'll do.

Blog reading caught up?  Check.

Posts written and scheduled? Check and check.

Phone calls made?  Most of them.

Emails answered?  Ditto above.

Laundry done? At last!

Work finished? Yes, finally, until tomorrow.

Children out of the house?   Children? What children? I'm an empty nester. *cheers*

Physically, mentally and emotionally prepared for the ordeal that is revision?  Check, check and check.

Waiting on the muse...waiting.... waiting....waiting.

ENOUGH ALREADY!! How much longer can I put this off? Whether I write daily in a regular routine or six months without touching my WIP, followed by four months of non-stop all-nighters-- whatever works, just do it!

But if I want to write, I have to write. And if my manuscript is rubbish, I have to fix it. At least that's how me and Suz see it.

45 comments:

  1. There are so many obstacles we put in way of our writing sometimes. I'm glad to say that I do PBIC every day. Most days are productive, a few not so much. Great post! :D

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  2. you are right about that! Nobody is going to come along and do it all for you. I need to take this to heart... thanks!

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  3. What!? My editor won't do all the work while I sit and drink Starbucks coffee and suntan? ;) My father says he wants to write but never does... then he complains he has nothing published. Well, you gotta write something first. Writing is a profession, it takes actual work. Writing is not a hobby for me. Great post, Karen.

    CD

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  4. I was really appalled when i heard that some people give up even when all an editor has asked for is revisions.
    It is easy to get discouraged and hide out behind other things so this is what i do. I try to get a mauscript done while I am waiting for feedback on the one I sent because if i get a rejection and nothing else giving me hope I might just hideaway in the corner and do nothing

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  5. Clarissa, That is so funny-- someone who doesn't write yet complains about not being published. Enjoy that Starbucks and sunshine while your editor does all the work :)

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  6. Joanna,

    "I was really appalled when I heard that some people give up even when all an editor has asked for is revisions."

    Well said. Anyone wanting to be published must take criticism, (esp from an editor). A writer never gives up, and especially isn't in love with your darlings.

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  7. awesomeness--Thanks, Karen! :o)

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  8. Ha! I love that you yelled out the blog post title. You're kicking your writing arse into gear even louder than me!

    Thanks so much for linking to my blog. Now that I've motivated myself, I'm having a lot of fun getting stuck back in to my work. Novel writing is enjoyable again!

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  9. I agree too. 'PBIC' reminds me of Terry Pratchett's advice to writers: 'Apply Bum Glue'. Works for me!

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  10. SO true, Karen! Isn't it funny how many things become instantly uber-attractive when it's time to write? But the only way to do it is to sit your arse in the chair and WRITE!

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  11. Right now I really am too busy and focused on my release tomorrow - however, butt will go into chair in November for NaNo.
    And most of the items on that checklist are overrated!

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  12. I feel very fortunate right now that a day does not go by that I do not write - I guess I've learned that the world does not end because my house isn't clean and who am I kidding? I never have any company anyway!

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  13. I do so love your rants!

    It's easy to be wise in retrospect. When I was working and caring for my father I believed that I had no time to write. Now I realise that the truth was that I didn't have enough head-space.

    I waited until retirement to get started, but I know now that I could have got going sooner had I applied myself. However, better late than never in the acquisition of wisdom!

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  14. LOVE the rants! :)

    Styling a life that involves writing, blogging, promoting, etc. etc. etc. is tricky. Keeping it balanced is even more so. But I keep trying to think ahead and move towards the kind of writer I want to be (minus the book tours), and that keeps my butt in the chair. Because you're 1000% right - writers write.

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  15. I hear you loud and clear! Thank you! :-)

    Everyone is unique with their writing disciplines. You are so right when you say just do whatever works for you.

    Take care
    x

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  16. I've put mine off so long, no way it will happen until next year.

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  17. I write because I enjoy it. It sets me up for the day, and calms me down after a stressful day at work.

    Whatever works is a good manta, but if it becomes stressful, then do something else.

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  18. I have found that if I make a schedule and stick to it, I get my writing in. I write during nap time. Always. Luckily, my 3 yr old will sleep for a long time. It's on those days when he won't fall asleep that I feel frustrated. I do all my blog stuff last. It's my reward for getting the good stuff in.

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  19. Go Karen! It should be a motto: "If you want to write, DO IT!"

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  20. Oh my gosh! This is so true!!! I have to do it. *sigh*

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  21. Motivation is hard sometimes but we have to keep trucking if we're serious about this whole writing gig.

    Jai

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  22. Totally true - I keep reminding myself that writing is voluntary - no one is making me so I have no right to complain if it is sooooooo hard. Bullpoopy. Also I find it annoying when people tell me that they are going to write as soon as they are finished being a doctor. I tell them I'm going to take up surgury when I retire from writing. ha.

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  23. Jan, I am totally LOLing at your comment, bullpoopy and all LOL. I started late with writing and now i have to write double time to make up for lost time. And THEN I'll go to orthodontic school.

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  24. ooh, are you talking directly to me? Very good for me to hear at this point. I need to sit down and write.

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  25. I sometimes make lists full of things I have already done just so I can mark them off.

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  26. You're so right Karen. An author will never finish her novel if she puts off writing it. I'm in the process of re-working the second draft of my WIP. It's a daunting process, but that's what I signed on for. I must be a closet masochist. As always, thanks for the great advice.

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  27. Yes, and when we take breaks we have to establish our writing habits all over again.

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  28. I'd rather WRITE than just about anything, but REwriting?! Eeek gad! I am plugging away... need to probably have a YEAR of mostly rewriting, but it is just so much more appealing to WRITE! (you're right though... it's on me...)

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  29. Excellent.
    Writers write.
    No matter what it takes.

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  30. So true. An editor, agent, or crit partner can give you suggestions, but ultimately it's up to you. Not easy, but essential. :)

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  31. That's a great attitude to have towards writing. I know what you mean about putting it off. I think it's easier to put off writing when you're still starting out and you don't have anyone to answer to but yourself. But I think we all have to start somewhere. I must admit though, that during college I hardly wrote anything, because I always had all these excuses for not writing. I'm trying to make up for that lost time now.

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  32. I know people like this. It drives me crazy as well because even if we write and edit often, there are no guarantees. One person in particular seems to flirt with writing. She'll dust off an old manuscript, make a few changes, send it out to once place, and then get a job and stop writing.

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  33. I love your rants. I can so relate... I think all writers can ;) We just have to write! And fix and write some more.

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  34. Fine! I'll get to it...just as soon as I wash the dishes...and get the kids to bed... :P

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  35. Totally, completely awesome post, Karen. You are so right! I wish fairy could drop down while I'm sleeping and make my prose perfect, but no such luck!

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  36. i'm having trouble getting motivated on my revision. stared at the screen for 2 hours and only wrote 200 words. i've been stuck on page 50 for frickin ever.

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  37. I have fallen of the writing wagon! I have had the above serious chat with myself and see the light at the end of the tunnel. My writerless bout coming to an end. Thanks for reminding me!
    Great post.

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  38. Thanks for the push, Karen...My summer woes got me off track and I kind of needed a little shove to get back in the right frame of mind.

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  39. Absolutely! If you want to write you just have to start doing it ...

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  40. Thanks for linking through to Suz's great blog, another fab find!

    I'm making myself PBIC daily and letting some of the other things on your list slide until I get back into a writing routine. (One of the reasons why I'm currently reading a bit of a backlog of blog posts - sorry for not having been here recently!) Everything else was crowding out writing, so I've put writing first and the other stuff is happening once I have my word count for the day. It's not ideal because untidy rooms irritate me, even though I'm no domestic goddess, but not getting work done on my novel was making me tetchy and irritable, as well as not getting the novel finished!

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  41. Ha, ha! Karen, you're speaking to my SOUL, I tell you. :o) Lately I'm finding any excuse I can to put aside the revisions on my latest book. I need to enter them in! I need push through and quit writing first drafts and then letting them sit in their own crap.

    Thanks for the pep talk, friend!

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