Monday, March 18, 2013

Easier Said Than Done

My friend, Jay Hudson, is persistent: “Don't start anything new. Finish one you already have started.” He's talking about novels. I do have a lot started, but nothing finished. It's so easy to say, “Just finish one.” But there is this huge blind spot in my way. I don't know how to get around it.

Then I think, “You get around it by sitting at that desk and doing what has to be done: Writing.
But what if it's no good? The writing. What if it's no good? What if it sounds stupid and immature...or worse?

THAT'S what revisions are for...maybe.

Jay and I were talking about romance writing. He said he could do it. I said maybe he should do it and show me how it's done. He laughed. But he's in a similar place. He wants his story to be perfect the first time he sets it down on paper. And it's unlikely that it will be perfect. Oh, parts of it may be, but not the whole thing. That's where the cutting of paragraphs and sentences and words comes in. Or moving things around. 

The draft is getting A story down on paper. The actual work is done in revisions. That's where we flesh out the story, build the characters, develop the protagonist and antagonist. That is where the whole story comes together. Sounds so easy, doesn't it? I'm sure non-writers think so, “Because you're a writer.”

Writing is hard work for the brain, every bit as exhausting (mentally) as physical labor. And even though it does not show a paycheck when you are doing it, it IS time consuming work that family just doesn't appreciate. They say, “I know you can do this!” but their actions say, “You aren't bringing in any money so you have all kinds of time to do the things that need taken care of around the house.” Or worse, “I gave up on your writing a long time ago. You're never going to go anywhere with that.”

And sometimes you might begin to believe that “they” might be right and in a state of discouragement you set your writing aside as useless. Maybe they are right. Maybe you will never be anything more than what you are at this moment. “A writer. I am a writer. Now at this moment, long into the past and forever into the future.” And what do writers do? They write.

What are we waiting for?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Writing groups

OK. I know I'm a good writer. But when I read one of my pieces aloud to my writers group, I think, "Oh! What was I thinking? What must these other good writers think of me now? Should I be embarrassed?"

Did I mention a writers group? I did. Last fall I was invited to audit a fiction writing class at the local campus. I had taken fiction writing workshop more than 25 years ago. At the conclusion of the class I asked if there was any interest in starting a writers group. YES! 

Well, how cool is that? (Oh, sorry. I recently read that "cool" is a word all persons over age 50 should NEVER use. On the other hand, a writer friend recently told me he perceives my soul to be an adolescent--which he said isn't bad thing.)

The writers group is young but we are helping each other. Now I am learning how my words are perceived--accurate or not accurate) so I can come back home and "fix" the misunderstood parts and strengthen the weak points, eliminate the things that get in the way instead of carrying the story forward.

So, if you're stuck in the writing doldrums, round up some writerly friends and help each other. No one is an island unless they let themselves be. Support is important.

(c) 2013 Cathy Thomas Brownfield ~ ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.