Posts from — April 2008
The physical act of getting published: Researching markets, contacting agents, editors and other gatekeepers; preparing packets; making sure I have the right amount of postage … . This stuff is draining, joyless and, at times, painful.
What’s your response?
April 30, 2008 1 Comment
The best piece of writing advice I ever received — and always follow — came from my father:
Choose your audiences carefully.
My dad, who was also a writer, wasn’t talking about targeting specific markets. Rather, he was referring to the individuals we ask to critique our work.
To be critiqued is to become vulnerable, to put our work, our very selves, on the line. And so we must choose carefully — to think before we ask.
Don’t choose negative or limited thinkers, he warned me. Such individuals often have hidden agendas or a limited vision of what’s possible. Their pessimistic view of life may filter into their comments, making their criticism more destructive than constructive.
But don’t choose people who love or respect you so much they would rather placate or protect you than offer honest feedback, he said. Being told you’re a great writer is nice, but it does little for your work.
Given the above, finding the right critic can be a challenge and, frankly, a crapshoot. I’ve learned this the hard way. Over time, however, I’ve developed a sixth sense for poor candidates.
Part of this has come from choosing my audiences carefully in other aspects of my life. I’m very discriminating when sharing personal information, for example, and when it comes to bringing new ideas out of the closet, I seek feedback from my inner circle, who love but cut me no slack. (BTW — I choose wisely even among this group. Some things I simply can’t tell me mother!)
Finally, if I’ve learned anything in my writing (and my personal) life, it’s that I am my most important critic. Harsh as I may sometimes be, I know my work, I know me, better than anyone else. Surely this gives me a right to my opinion.
Read my full-length article on “10 ways to request — and receive — constructive criticism” — http://www.writedirections.com/10criticism.html
April 30, 2008 No Comments
How, given our hectic everyday lives and family responsibilities, do we find the energy, space, and time it takes to bring a creative work into being?
As a full-time writer who’s always been a work-at-home mom, I’ve grappled with this question for years. I’ve found some answers I’d like share:
Now’s as good a time as any to write.
Sure, you can wait until the living room’s been painted, the car’s been paid off or the kids are grown, but the fact remains — even when all of that is behind you, you still have to begin.
You don’t need lots of time to write.
You need time, period, be it a half-hour or a half day. Any time spent writing is better than no time writing. Thirty minutes a day over the course of a week adds up to 3-1/2 hours. That’s no small shakes. Also related:
You must have a writing space.
That doesn’t mean you have to have an actual room with a door to close, but it does mean you need a space in which to work. Space, by the way, is not just physical. It’s mental as well. You can have a great home office, for example, but if you can’t keep others out of it (or keep yourself in), it’s doing you little good.
Forget the cheering section.
Let go of the notion that your significant others will support all you do — or even that they should. Becoming a writer requires an internal shift that has an external consequence, and most significant others, no matter how much they love us, buck at change.
Touch your writing as often as you can – come rain, sleet, snow, doctors’ visits, broken pipes …
Write — even if it’s for a few minutes a day and even if it’s just to journal or jot down a line that swept through your mind at 3 a.m. Such “touching” gives validity to your dreams and gifts. It also enables you to grow into the part of “writer” and to help your writing become an integral part of your life.
To read this article in its entirety:
April 29, 2008 No Comments
The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
In writing, it takes just one idea, one kernel of truth or experience, to create a body of work. Find that one thing, plant and nurture it. Let your forest grow.
April 29, 2008 No Comments
Sorry, but I’m going to pass on posting this week’s Writing Challenge. My dog’s real sick and I’m real upset … I’ve written about Lilly today; the piece pretty much says it all. (See April 18th “Insights.”)
April 18, 2008 No Comments