Page after Page (after page after page …)

I was going over some old notes recently and came across this exercise from Heather Sellers Page after Page. I probably did this four or five years ago, but it’s interesting to look back and see how relevant it still is.

page after page

Do I want to be a writer?

What I like writing…

  • I like being free
  • I like being passionate
  • I like giving something to the world, something that makes someone, somewhere smile.
  • I like the sense of accomplishment after I’ve written something well
  • I like having finished my first draft
  • I owe it to the characters to finish their story
  • I owe it to myself to swim upstream..

I’m afraid of…

  • Being wrong
  • Being bad
  • Not being as good as I can be
  • Being irrelevant
  • Being boring
  • Being trivial
  • Writing is boring
  • Writing is tedious
  • Being open
  • Letting the world in
  • Letting the world out
  • Touching strong feelings inside of me
  • Not touching those feelings
  • Feeling empty
  • Not having the time
  • Using the fact that I don’t have time to avoid being passionate
  • I should be deeper
  • I care too much what others think
  • Writing is boring
  • Writing is hard
  • I’m tired
  • I’m running out of excuses…

Lessons in staying the course

Got some recent feedback on some of my writing that really stung.  The only way to avoid this is to never write.  Remember that even JK Rowling was rejected something like 15 times before the first Harry Potter was picked up.

There’s no easy way to deal with this. It can hurt.  But there are some things you can do.  Build a thicker skin.  Don’t take things personally.  Receive all input (even negative) as a gift.   But, like any gift, what you choose to do with it is up to you.   You can keep it and use it. You can throw it away.  Regardless of what I plan to do with it, I always say thank you.

Most important of all, always believe in yourself and your work.  One piece of writing isn’t you, it’s just one piece of writing.  You grow it, nurture it and it becomes better and stronger.  Just like watering a plant. And if you don’t believe in the plant, don’t believe it will ever grow, you won’t take the time to water it. It becomes self-fulfilling.

People criticize all the time. It’s our job to stand above it and do the work we love.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Riding, part 2

Lesson two from that road trip to Chicago.  At one point I think I had twenty of them. That was somewhere around Omaha while outracing a storm, so it’s possible I was counting some of them twice.

And speaking of storms…  They happen.  Smooth sailing and sunny skies suddenly give way to pouring rain clouds.  Maybe you see it coming and you race to stay just ahead, while not racing too fast because you don’t want to catch up to the one in front of you.

And maybe you aren’t completely prepared for thunderstorms.  As in, no rain pants, no gloves and a general belief that motorcycles make poor boats.

But you adjust.  A stop in Chicago for the right gear.  Reading up on the web on the best ways to ride in the rain (yes, I did that). Taking a chance and pushing yourself slightly beyond your comfort zone.

You’ll hit those storms in writing too.  Sometimes you just need to take a break. Get off the road and wait it out.  But sometimes you can’t afford that down time.  So you focus, do your research, get what you need and make it work.

And if I have a choice, I’ll take the thunderstorms over the writing storms any day.

Monsters update

We have received some sample artwork for the picture book and it’s exciting!  Still revisions to do and need to make the final call on which illustrator to go with.  But it’s definitely been a blast over the last week.  Learning a ton about self-publishing too.  Who knew knowledge weighed so much?

Grammer, spelling and the butchering of the English language

As a writer, I suppose it’s expected that my blog posts should be spelled perfectly with the most precise use of grammar this side of The Elements of Style.

Just saying that probably won’t happen here.  My first drafts are usually messy. Things get cleaned up on edit, but I want to give myself room for imperfection on the first draft of anything.  And blogging feels like a conversation, so I’m not likely to review and redit most of my posts.

Just settin’ the bar.

Living your passion

What makes you passionate?  For me it’s about making a positive impact. Giving people hope, making people smile or laugh.  Making a material difference for even one person.  This is the kind of thing that really gives meaning to life.  Introducing new experiences, creating a path for others to feel more of who they are and to experience a richer tapestry of what life has to offer.

Currently, I’m focused on achieving this through writing. Being an author also has the advantage that it allows me to focus on topics that interest me. Learning new things really lights me up. Doing lots of research for my next book. Won’t tell what it’s about yet, but I think I need to take a trip through Europe. Purely for research purposes.