Monday, October 22, 2012

Curse or Blessing?

I thought I'd provide an update on my writing life for all of you fellow writers out there who may (hopefully) be interested.  I imagine you'll find similarities in our perspectives.

At this point, I find myself working tirelessly to keep a good, optimistic attitude about my "choice" of craft.  It's not an easy task to constantly fight the hag and her sister the nag who love to tell me I'm fooling myself, I don't have what it takes and I never will.  Thankfully, it seems I have an even stronger voice (I believe from God) that always manages to talk over Hag and Nag, pounding them pack into place, allowing me to continue to move forward without quitting.

Sometimes I wonder if it's even possible to quit writing.  I honestly don't think it is. Can any of us truly walk away (without a heavy spirit) from what is quite possibly a gift given to us before we ever thought to ask for it? For me, it would be akin to quitting eating, or drinking, or breathing.  It's oddly a part of me, almost like a lung.  I can survive without it, but it's not ideal.  It's not easy to explain, this overpowering desire to write and to learn as much about the craft as I can possibly absorb into my little brain.  Grammar, spelling (I mean, where would I be without spell check?!), voice and talent; these are among the things I strive passionately to strengthen and nurture.

This "calling" to write is both a blessing and a curse.

I call it a curse because no matter how frustrated or down I get about my abilities, I can't walk away. I just can't.  Something always pulls me back to writing, to working more and working harder.  I can suffer a less than glowing review of my novel, spiral into a state of depression or melancholy over it, but without fail, before I even realize what's happened, I'm right back writing again.  The perpetual "getting back on that horse". 

For good or bad, through ups and downs, here I am, a writer always in the making.  Just as being human is always a work in progress, so is becoming, or being a writer.  We do what we have to do, like it or not. It's just not a choice, is it?  Saying it's a choice to write when every fiber of you craves the craft would be like claiming you have a choice to breathe. 

Curse or blessing, I'm in it for the long haul.  And the bottom line is . . . I love it!!  And I hate it!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

George R.R. Martin writing habits...

I had a wonderful moment of discovery and validation this weekend as an author.   On reading this month's edition of Writer's Digest magazine, I ran across an author I was unfamiliar with, but who I connected with in a surprising way.

Although George R.R. Martin writes fantasy (he's the author of the Game of Thrones as well as many others) and I write romantic women's fiction, we have very similar writing habits.  What a fun  (and I'll admit, validating) discovery!

So often I've come across authors who can release a new novel every year, or authors who say they write every day, usually completing a chapter a day.  I do neither of these things.  And I was beginning to think I was alone . . . until now.

In an interesting interview with Mr. Martin, I discovered it takes him a good five years between novels, even his sequels!  He admits he's a slow writer, and his reasons are the same as mine.  When he writes, he begins by going over what he wrote the previous day both to do a little editing and to build momentum.  I do exactly the same thing.  It may slow things down, but it works for some of us very well.  He "admits" to only completing maybe 5-10 new pages a day (or when he writes) at most!  That was wonderful to hear!  I tire of hearing how some people complete a chapter a day, or more! No way.  I just don't work that way, and now I feel a whole new freedom to comfortably be who I am, write how I write.  It's wonderful.

We writers have all kinds of styles and habits, all of which are perfectly wonderful . . . IF they work for us.  That's all that matters.  If it works, it's perfect . . . for you, or me.  Speed of writing isn't important, quality is.  How we get there doesn't matter in the least, it's only that we get there.

So take comfort, we have much in common with one another and much that is not, but it's all just fine.  We can celebrate together our differences, our outcome and our craft. ;)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Reading Ken Follett

Calling all readers!  Any fans of Ken Follett?  I've only read one book of his (The Pillars of the Earth), and it was wonderful.  I admit his novels are loooonnnggg, but they are engrossing.  Right now I'm reading "Fall of Giants", the first in his Century Trilogy.  It's 985 pages long!  I'm hoping it's a great book, or I'll be in for a frustrating read. So far, so good!

If anyone else has read or is reading this book, I'd love to hear from you!

I just finished "The Russian Concubine", so I'd say that after "Fall of Giants", I'll need to mix it up a bit and go to something lighter before tackling the second book of the trilogy.  Thankfully, there's no shortage of books to choose from.

I may exclusively write romantic women's fiction, but I'm an eclectic reader.  I love all kinds of books, including some memoirs and biography's, but mostly I enjoy fiction (with that ever important element of romance).

I've heard on more than one occasion that reading fiction in particular is a wonderful brain exercise.  Reading is good on many levels, but apparently reading fiction adds another element.  I would imagine it's due to the use of our imaginations, stretching them.  We have to visualize and feel what the author is describing, unlike lazily having all that done for us in movies and television.  Don't get me wrong, I love movies!  It's just not a brain stimulating activity. ;)

Well, happy reading!  May you always have a book at hand, even if it takes you many weeks to finish it. ;)