Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Stop. Sit in your chair. Open a word doc (or pull out pen and paper) and Begin

We not only have holiday company for a few days at the little log house at Killian Knob, but I am up against a deadline, or two! The post below is a repeat post from 2009 but bears repeating. And it applies to more than just writing!
As for me, I am right now doing some last minute edits on the final Graces novel in the Graces Trilogy. The contract is signed. A date of March/April is planned for its release, and as well, Bellebooks/Bell Bridge Books is re-doing Secret Graces's cover so that all three Graces Sagas bookcovers are similar, so they look like a trilogy (I had a lot of mixed letters/comments on the original cover for SG-some hated/some loved). I can't wait to see what SG and the third Graces novel covers will look like - I still become excited; I still am giddy about it all.

And as well, Rose & Thorn will go live January 15 - we are busy preparing the winter issue. My New Years Holiday will be busy, but in a good kind of way.

So now -

What someone wrote in a comment one day: “You know all that is what kind of halts me in writing. It just overwhelms me and then I block. I like blogging because I have the feel of freely writing. I guess it is a bit of a quirk.”

Never never never never never never never never never never never never never never never NEVER NEVER NEVER let anything stop you from writing if this is what you want to do and you are ready to discipline yourself to it—no one else on this earth or beyond should stand in your way: no advice from well-meaning writers, no rules, no nuttin’.

 Trust me when I say that if you really want to write a novel, or stories, then you must practice your craft and the only way to practice is to just sit down and write. As you practice, you will figure out what works for you, what your “voice” is, what your “tics” are, what your weaknesses and strengths are, what delights you and urges you on and what frustrates you and makes you want to stop writing. You will find out your own personal style of writing in both how you write and what you write.

 But listen! If you are happy writing blog posts, what is wrong with that? If you write a successful blog and people come to your site and leave happy interested comments, are you not a success? Are you not writing for an audience who loves coming by and seeing what you have written?

 When I began writing Tender Graces, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing; I didn’t even know how to write dialogue! But I had desire. I had discipline. I had want. I just wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote and things began to come clear as to my own style and voice and what made me feel comfortable. I wrote 200,000 words and most of those had to be trashed or re-cast or fiddle-dee-deed, but, boy did I have fun, and boy did I learn much about what kind of writer I’d be. I was writing for an audience of one: Me. That is free-ing, let me tell you!

 Don’t let the “rules” or advice of others stop you or scare you or make you feel as if you are somehow lacking if you don’t write in a certain way—just write and in the writing find out who you are, what kind of writer you are, what you love to write, and how you will write. I can’t stress this enough. Find what makes you happy and do it.

 If the writing feels strained and you want to back away from it, then find out what is hindering you: Are you writing for someone else? Are you listening to too many writers (like me!) give advice and it confuses you? Are you straining towards something that isn’t meant for you?

 Stop. Sit in your chair. Open a word doc (or pull out pen and paper) and Begin. Just have some fun, see what comes out. Who cares if you have so-just-very-little; who cares if there are many adverbs and present participles and dangling participles and similes and blah blah blah blah—how will you know what you want, or where you want to go, or how far you will take things, until you sit down and begin? How will you know what makes you happy until you write it without restraint?

I had to get to a certain point in my writing before the advice I read made sense –Hear that: I had to know how to sit down and write and find out what kind of writer I’d be before all the “rules” began to make sense, and only then could I use them, manipulate them, have fun with them—and I’m still having fun, and I’m still learning my craft—there is always room for growth, never become complacent even if you are a best-seller.

You all would laugh your arses off if you could see some of my first attempts at writing stories. So what? I laugh too! Haw! But I also see how far I’ve come, how much I’ve learned and how much more I can learn.  Lawd, even some of the works I've had published I want to go in and change the heck out of them!

Sit. Breathe. Tune out the voices. Have fun. And, write how and what you want, and where and for whom you want. Be sincere.

Dig it out from the you that is uniquely you.

See y'all Friday for Links Day! Hope you are having a wonderful holiday.


Linda Hoye said...

Love this, Kat!

Lesleigh Ann said...

Kat... so totally loved this! I am on vacation this week, still recouping from Rotator Cuff surgery, but I can type. So I took your advice, opened a word document and began. Years of being a Limo driver means I have many stories to tell. Heck, who knows, maybe someday I too will get published! Bless you sweet lady who lives in the wonderful Maggie Valley. May 2012 be your best year ever!

Eddie Bluelights said...

So what yer saying is, "There's hope for me yet!" LOL
Seriously I'd like you to cast your eye on a love story I wrote two years ago. I would value your comments - so I will email it if you agree.
Love the advice here - very encouraging - thanks.

Hope you had a great Christmas and a Happy New year to you, Kat ~ Eddie x

Eryl said...

You have visitors and deadlines? I don't know how you do it!

Have a great New Year's holiday.