Monday, April 22, 2013

"You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes well you might find you get what you need." Mick Jagger & Keith Richards

I may not be the sharpest tool in the shed (heck, I got a D in Geometry in back in high school because I was lousy at proofs) but one thing I do have going for me is  a vast store of perseverence.  Before I started working on Isabelle's Confession, for example, I finished my Ph.D. thesis while caring for our newborn daughter.  Some days I didn't get much done at all, but I just kept plugging away, and eventually I did get my degree and graduate.

As an aspiring writer I think it's easy to be led astray by those who profess to know much more than we do about the craft.  There are classes, conferences, webinars, books, podcasts, and websites galore, all promising to give you exactly what you need to know to write the Great American Novel, the Next Great Play, or The Perfect Screenplay.  There's so much stuff that you can easily spend all your time learning about writing while not actually putting pen or pixels to paper.  It's easy to doubt your own abilities while running around in search of more and better advice.  As I said in my first post, I'm definitely an Old School girl.  I never went to the Web for advice on writing.  I came across Stephen King's book On Writing in a second-hand bookshop in 2001 or 2002, before I even started writing, and I bought it because I like memoirs.  The second half of the book wherein he describes what he thinks are important skills for a writer to have I skimmed over.  It wasn't until I actually began working on my novel that I went back to it for guidance, and it was all I ever used outside of my own abilities as a researcher and an editor that I had honed in grad school.

Ultimately, I think it's important to trust in your own abilities and imagination.  Nobody read my work until I was done with it (one of Stephen's tips), which meant I had to be in it for the long haul.  It's hard to be thoughtful and purposeful these days with so much clamoring for our attention, which is why patience and perseverence really matter in writing.  With your head down and your nose to the grindstone you'll eventually finish, and then you can go looking for an audience.  Not that the road to publication is easy or short...

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