Saturday, August 8, 2009

Joy to the Word! All you writer girls and boys now....


I read a blog post that I enjoyed so much, I nodded and yes'd! and You Got it Sister'd all throughout. The author's name is A. S. King, and her post is: The Writer's Middle Finger (How to grow it, groom it, love it, and stretch it) .

Before I wrote what would become Tender Graces, I remember thinking, "Me? Write a novel? I can't! I can't write dialogue--my dialogue sucks(back then, everything came out narrative)...I can't write that many words ... I CAN'T!" But, I sat at my computer, put my fingers on the keys, and began, and by time I stopped, I had many many words, a stunned expression, and I knew something had happened that would change the way I wrote, and what I wrote, . . . and for whom.

I learned a lot about what works for me and what doesn't; I learned to write good dialogue; I learned to let the characters have their say without me constantly butting in; I learned to write from my gut instead of what I thought others wanted to hear; I learned to play with the language; I learned to take a few risks; I learned that it takes discipline to sit and write; I learned to write with a sincere heart, with joy and sometimes angst.

What I want to tell you this morning, and what A.S. King is also saying (or my interpretation of it) is ---- Stop Worrying about the editor monster on your shoulder, stop worrying about whether your novel will please everyone, stop worrying about whether an agent will love your work, stop worrying about future reviews, stop worrying about "what if" - - Write what you want to read; write what you love, what brings you joy; write with abandon and love; write what connects you to that visceral gut reaction that tells you that you are where you are supposed to be and doing what brings you joy and/or accomplishment.

I almost let the same feelings of worry and angst weigh upon the Virginia Kate book2 I'm writing now. Just as King says, I let worries seep into my bones about whether everyone will like the second book as much as the first one--the stakes felt higher--will they be disappointed?, etc....I had to find that "center" again - that place of love for words and language, and write what gives me joy.

Or, as A.S. King says it, I'm "extending the middle finger to any doubt" and doing what I love. Let the chips fall where they may -- We all just do the best we can.

Write with a sincere heart. Write for yourself first. If you go to 100 writer sites, or writers "advice" sites, you may find 100 different opinions on what you should or shouldn't do or what makes a writer a writer. What rules to follow and what to break (heck, I have my own pet peeves, but knowing the rules so we can break them is fun). What makes a writer a writer is the one who writes! Don't let "shoulds" or "you betters" or "this is what writer's do and if you do not, you are not a writer" stop you. Do what you love. Say what you want to say, or have to say. Even if at first it is scary because you think what you are writing is somehow "wrong." You don't even have to listen to me - perhaps your way is completely different -perhaps the idea of an editor on your shoulder and reviews and agents and who will pick up your work is your motivator --good! Maybe writing is business only to you--you write to get paid, period; and you will read the market and write what's popular. You write because it is a business. Well, I say: whatever works!

And remember this: Money is not an indicator of a gifted or talented writer. A writer who is making millions is not necessarily a better writer than you, just a lucky writer (or a writer who knows the business and knows it well).

Now, go to your space, open up that vein, and let the blood of your words stain the page . . . be fearless, have fun, be sincere, write with abandon - lift the middle finger to that negativity and GO!

(PS - We're still in our discussions on this, ahem, "New Trend" of mother's giving up their children (Posts below) . . . I'm still interested in your comments!)


image from google images: http://d2umcibyw4ztss.cloudfront.net/img/109498/109498-0.jpg

6 comments:

Carol @ TheWritersPorch said...

When I think about writing, I think about what my friend Melinda Haynes said; forget about publishing,forget all the rules,write for yourself and celebrate writing!She wrote for herself with no thought of success and it was the June 1999 Oprah Book Club selection! Listen to Virginia Kate's voice and NO other Kat!Tender Graces is a wonderful book!They will be others that follow just as good or better!
xoxo

Analisa said...

AMEN!
I want you to know I am almost at the end of Tender Graces. I tried not to read any of the book yesterday but it was like trying to ignore chocolate when you have PMS. I will probably finish the book tonight and I already miss Vee, and her brothers. I am so glad you are working on VK2. :)

Jessica said...

Yay! Awesome post! :-)

Sandra Leigh said...

Excellent post, Kathryn. I shall start giving that middle finger of mine some exercise.

Glynis said...

I frightened myself with looking into editors, agents etc. I doubted myself and it put me off writing for a day or so.
DH said, but you loved it, your face was a picture to watch when you sat and wrote, forget the other stuff, write for you. I was stunned by this man of so few words, picked up my pen, and got back into the pleasurable side of writing. I used my middle finger to the other stuff. :)
Great post Kat.

Deb Shucka said...

This was an inspirational and up-fingered post, as was A.S. King's. Thank you both for the reminder of what's really important.