Wednesday, November 26, 2014

WRITING QUOTE - November 26, 2014

To be honest, the only thing I ever really wanted to be was a writer - since I read Charlotte's Web as a child.

- Louise Penny - 

I don't remember the specific book I read as a kid that inspired me to want to write, but I do know from my earliest memory writing was prominent in my life. I read books all the time. I wrote in my journal constantly--creating stories, penning poetry--then I would run to my parents and read what I had written.

The question of whether I'm any "good" at writing and whether anyone will pay to read my writing is irrelevant to my craft--more just icing on the cake. The real deal is that I write, because I need to write to feel centered in my life, to give these extra people in my head a place to go, and to find balance in my perceptions of life-happenings. 

I used to be shy of telling anyone that I was a writer. I always prefaced it with reasons why I shouldn't call myself a writer--maybe I just should have used another word to describe myself. But now I say it, an attempt to own who I am, and to know my being a writer is not dependent on whether someone likes it or pays to read it. Me being a writer is because it is a part of me and needs to be honored.

Monday, November 24, 2014

WRITING QUOTE - November 24, 2014

Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere.

- Anne Lamott - 

I had an expectation that my first draft needed to be perfect. If I wasn't, than I was a failure and should give up. I didn't have the understanding that being good at something takes time and effort.

But there is something else that is just as important for me--have fun while doing it. 

If I'm not enjoying what I'm doing, than I am being too serious, too focused on the end result, which is a red flag to me saying, "I need to be perfect."  That leads me back to the old expectation which never gets me anywhere, except disillusioned and giving up.

Friday, November 21, 2014

WRITING QUOTE - November 21, 2014

The most important thing is to read as much as you can, like I did. It will give you an understanding of what makes good writing and it will enlarge your vocabulary.

- J. K. Rowling -

I'm surrounded by books, in every niche and cranny of my home. As a child books were my best friends. I always had a book with me and would usually wind up in a corner or on the couch reading. I'm still this way, except not as self-centered about it. Before I didn't know how to be with the family or hang out with others; I preferred the "family" I had in between the pages of the latest book I was reading. 

I still carry a book with me, in my purse, always ready for a moment when I can read. But I've learned to balance reading with lifting my eyes from the page to see what's before me--people, colors, smells, sounds--to be more available to my own story that's playing out before me. I used to want to hide in books, find another world that better suited what I wanted out of life. 

Now books are a part of me, instead of the other way around. I can benefit from their words and wisdom, humor and scariness, style of writing and voice, and carry those things into my own world. My "understanding of what makes good writing" grows, along with my vocabulary. 

Plus, reading is a pleasure, regardless of what I "get" from it.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

WRITING QUOTE - November 20, 2014

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at the typewriter and bleed.

- Ernest Hemingway - 

Yes, bleed we do. That is one of my challenges in writing, the amount I'm willing to bleed. I find myself believing that what I've written is enough. I don't have to go further, because to go further is to feel more than what I've already felt in relation to whatever I've written, and what I've already felt should be enough. 

It rarely is.

I'm not talking just about feeling my own feelings, but feeling the feelings of my characters. I've found, for myself, when I think I've reached my limit, I have to come back, sit, and dig deeper than I figured. 

And then, there it is. The moment--when I see, feel, hear, taste, and smell what my characters do. It's tangible and potent. But the blood's got to flow. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

WRITING QUOTE - November 19, 2014

Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful ones is a lot of hard work.

- Stephen King - 

I grew up with Stephen King, not literally like he lived down the street from me, but as an avid reader. I read almost all of his books, and am still reading his work. I read his writing, because I relate to his characters, some of them, the way they think, and I like how the stories roll, the places they take me, sometimes to dingy and sordid spots that somehow make sense to me.

I also appreciate his thoughts on writing. I've had various people over the years, teachers, strangers, family, and friends, tell me I have something when it comes to writing. Don't stop writing, they say. But all of that doesn't add up to much if I don't jump in with my effort and both feet. 

Writing is work, plain and simple. Rewarding beyond belief, but fleeting. Each day is a day of showing up, regardless of what my head says, because some days it says, "What the f#@*k are you thinking? Stop now!" And then there are other days, where my head says, "This is good. Oh, this is real good."

Either way, I keep writing, because, really, when it comes down to the bones of it, I love to write. And I will write, even if I decide to quit. I will eventually pick up my pen, while sitting in a cafe, drinking coffee, and waiting for a friend to show. I will slip a napkin under the tip of my pen, doodling first, and then the words will begin again, flowing, like they never stopped.

I might as well put in the work and accept the inevitability of it all. Writing is me. No one else has to tell me that or agree with that, just me.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

WRITING QUOTE - November 18, 2014

I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork.

- Peter de Vries -

Talk about funny. I can so relate, especially today. I'm taking a copyediting course, so I can improve my self-editing skills, which I am always in need of reminders of what's correct and what's not. I received my first assignment back, corrected. Ugh. What a drag to see I don't know as much as I thought I knew, and I knew I didn't know everything, but still . . . 

There in lies the paperwork. Writing is work. The polished piece that is hiding in the depths of a first or second or third draft is only discovered with patience, persistence, and revision. 

And brushing up on the tools of the trade is essential. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

WRITING QUOTE - November 17, 2014

Writing books is certainly a most unpleasant occupation. It is lonesome, unsanitary, and maddening. Many authors go crazy.

 - H. L. Mencken -

Most things could be included under this statement. Even when I'm with others--laughing, talking, chatting--I am alone, in my head, thinking of things to say and not to say (there are always those, things not to say). Sometimes the loneliest I have felt is in the middle of a room surrounded by people, friends, acquaintances, and strangers. 

But that is what writing a book is like--a room full of people, some known, some not yet. I sidle up to my computer, click my writing program open, and begin conversing with these book-people. Ultimately, people in my head, but people nonetheless. Maddening for sure.