Thursday, November 04, 2010

Do Your Thing Or Get Off The Pot

Ten things to think about when writing has you frustrated...
1. No one can tell you if you should quit writing.
Don't expect them to. Only you can answer that question. Ask yourself what you really want to hear in return when you give voice to it. 
2. It's your choice.
No one's twisting your arm to get you to write your book. You either want it bad enough that you'll figure out a way to get words on the page, or you don't. You can make your excuses, but at the end of the day if you're still in the same place you started, the only person you have to answer to is you.
3. We all get stuck, we all get afraid, we all have "stuff" that gets in the way.
The only thing in your power is how you respond to the fear and the interruptions and daily life that threatens your sanity and your work time. Again, how bad do you want it?
4. Maybe you need to work on something else?
Something outside of the project that's kicking your butt. Something to give you a different perspective. Or maybe you need to take a break for a little while and go back to the story fresh. Do what works for you and cut yourself some slack. Everyone gets bogged down and trapped by their current project occasionally.
5. Rejection sucks.
It does. And everyone gets rejected. Find a way to deal with it and move on. Wallow for a few days and then get back on the damned horse.
6. Waiting is the pits.
That's all there is to it. But that's what we do...wait. Which brings me to...
7. You're never going to get published unless you actually submit.
No one is going to come knocking at your door and offer to publish your book. No one is going to happen upon your blog or website and send you an email with an offer of representation or a contract. You have to do the work.
8. Writing is lonely.
Find some writing friends. Other people who write are the only ones who truly get you. They struggle with the same things you do and they're perfect for commiserating and celebrating. I couldn't ask for a more supportive husband and family, but my writing friends know exactly what I'm going through, especially after a rejection.
9. Join a critique group.
(No, your mom and grandma don't qualify unless they also write.) I know it's hard to put yourself out there. Sending your work to your writing peers is sometimes scarier than submitting it to a stranger. I still feel that anxiety when I send something out and I've had the same critique partners for years. (and they're fabulous) Get over yourself and do it. Critique partners and groups are very valuable. Sometimes it's hard to find the right mix, but once you do, you won't know what you did without them. Don't expect to get your pages back with glowing praise and smiley faces (if you want praise, send it to your mom). These people want to help you write a great book. Don't waste their time, but follow your instinct. It is your book.
10. Get out of the house.
Take a walk. Go to a coffee shop. Notice the fall colors and the clouds and the pretty things we all often forget to notice. Go to the library and look at the books published in the genre you're writing. Then, take a minute to look at exactly how many books there are in the library. The people that wrote them aren't very different from you. If they can do it, so can you.

How bad do you really want it?