Keep On Writing

I’m participating in NaNoWriMo this month. It’s a mad-sprint to write 50,000 words of a novel in a month, and we just reached the half-way mark. This means we’re wading through the murky middle of our novels when it feels like nothing is happening and it’s hard to keep our momentum.

If you’re like me and you need a little internet inspiration, I’m happy to provide these pep-talks of writing wisdom:

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Keep calm and write on

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Why are you still here?

I thought all that was pretty clear.

Get to your keyboard, and remember…

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Happy writing everyone.

It Got Me Thinking…

State of MindI want to share three blog posts that I can’t stop thinking about. These are posts that (like a good book) I kept mulling over days after I read them. They’ve planted seeds in my mind that keep growing and growing.

There’s a theme to these posts and it’s:

Perseverance.

How do we write when we don’t feel like we have the time or the heart? How do we keep writing with all the fear and uncertainty? How do we find the strength to be vulnerable and put the pen to the page? I’ve been struggling with my WIP lately, and I needed to hear all of these posts. Maybe you do to.

Writing Truth and Authenticity Amidst the Noise

by Jessica Denhart

My truth today is that I am afraid. From the white-hot center of myself, I am afraid that I don’t have what it takes to make my writing good enough. I am afraid, and when I am afraid, I close my eyes to my manuscript, my words, my expression of self, my creativity, and effectively cut myself off from the one thing that I know is my authentic self. All I hear is the noise of fear and self-doubt.”

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Jessica Denhart received her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts in January 2013. She writes YA and middle grade fiction, contemporary with a magical-realism twist. She is also a member of the SCBWI. She currently lives in the Midwest, with longings for the taste of the salt-air, the sound of the ocean waves, and the feel of sand between her toes. Read more by Jessica on her blog Between the Shadow and the Soul.  She can be found on twitter as @jessdenhart.

Creative Input and Creative Output

by Heather Strickland

I’ve come to think of creativity as a factory. Our brains are motors: if we stop fueling them, they won’t run. Or, more truthfully, if we fuel them with crap and nonsense, they’ll run like crap and nonsense. We have to feed them something delicious, something healthy, or they won’t run the way they’re supposed to.”

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Heather StricklandHeather Strickland started writing for children when she realized she was probably never going to be an adult. She moved to Brooklyn after graduating from Vermont College of Fine Arts because she heard there was a shortage of writers in Brooklyn. Now, she likes going for walks past brownstones and peering through open windows to make up stories about the people who live in fancy apartments. Follow Heather on Twitter: @StrictlyHeather

Thoughts on Being Professional

by Amy Sundberg

“I ran across an excellent article on an economics blog I follow called “Amateurs versus Professionals.” It very much applies to what I’ve observed about writing, and I imagine it holds true for many other pursuits and professions as well … After reading this list, it occurs to me that much of the difference between an amateur and a professional is a state of mind.”

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 Amy SundbergAmy Sundberg is a SF/F and YA writer. Her short fiction has appeared in Redstone Science Fiction, Daily Science Fiction, and Buzzy Magazine, among others. She lives in California, and when not writing, she’s either buried in a good book, singing musical theater songs, or trying to add more pins to locations visited on her world map. She is an avid blogger at practicalfreespirit.com and can be found on Twitter as @amysundberg

 

Patience and Persistence

Many of you may have heard via Facebook that I got engaged over the Thanksgiving holiday! Yup, that’s my fiancé in the photo below, down on one knee!

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Photo by M.Felt Photography

This was a big moment in my life, and it got me thinking about patience, persistence, and how long it can take to get what you want. You see, my boyfriend and I have been together for ten years. It’s been a long trek to get to that beautiful vista with him down on one knee.

And writing can be the same way.

We live in a fast-paced culture that expects everything to happen quickly. We want to get an agent, and write 8 books in a year, and be published, and have it all happen right now! I just finished NaNoWriMo, which was all about quantity quantity quantity – as fast as you can – not quality. We have friends who ask when we’re getting published. They say, “Gosh haven’t you been writing that book for two years?” And you can see the look in their eye, wondering why it’s taking so long.

My relationship with my boyfriend has been the same way. I was told that a man who doesn’t propose after five years will never propose. My family even started a bet to see how long it would take me to get fed up and leave him. Everyone has their idea of what love should be, and if you can’t quantify it with a ring on your finger (or a publishing contract), well, you’re probably wasting your time.

But here’s the thing…

I love my boyfriend. I love writing. These are things worth waiting for.

I got an agent this year too, and that was another endeavor that was 10 years in the making. I had to write my first novel, then my second, and then my third. I had to go to school and learn my craft. I had to take the time and put in the work, and I still don’t have a publishing contract. But what I do have is my journey. I have all that I’ve learned, and my love for writing, and that is what keeps me opening my laptop every day.

I won’t deny that all that “talk” gets in your head. It makes you wonder about your worth. Why isn’t my writing good enough that someone wants to publish it? Why doesn’t my boyfriend love me enough to want to marry me? You start to wonder if you’re a big failure and if all this energy was for nothing.

But that’s our culture talking. That’s our fast-paced-I-need-everything-yesterday illusion of success. It has very little to do with you, or your writing.

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You see, I’d rather be in my relationship and not married, than leave it. I’d rather be writing every day because I love it, even without a publishing contract, than stop writing. I want these things in my life because they’re important to me, and not because someone puts a value on them in the form of a ring or a book deal.

Yes, we all want validation. But sometimes that takes time. It takes hard work and patience. Sometimes it takes years. But those years are also full. They’re full of your passion, and your bravery, and your commitment. Those years are your life – and they’re worth more than the validation of getting an agent, a contract, money, awards, or fans.

We all started writing because we loved it, and caring for that love – day by day, week after week, year after year – is what’s important.

That love is what lasts a lifetime.