Dear Readers, Today it was brought to my attention that the original post “I Get It! I said, No”. nay have inadvertently offended someone I care for very deeply. It was never my intention to hurt anyone and I am deeply sorry if my words caused any pain. I believe in karma, and although I cannot undo hurt, I can apologize. I am sorry. P.Young
Yesterday I did something for me. I said, “No.”. Yesterday I thought and considered and really struggled with what I wanted to do, compared to what I need to do, or was asked to do.Yesterday I said, “I can’t help you, not right now, and I’m not sure when I’ll be able to. Because, I’m focused on The Process.”
What is “The Process” you may ask. It is learning to write. It is not writing the same way over and over again, assuming you are getting better. It is giving your writing priority, to practice and learning the fundamentals of writing, spelling grammar and punctuation – then executing them correctly.
For me personally, it is trying not to be judgmental, or biting off more than I can chew. It is being open minded, and mindful in what I hope to achieve. It’s also being vulnerable. Putting your piece together the best way you can, before you give it to an editor who really knows what their doing. There are different editors for different genres. Do some research and get a recommendation if possible. You want someone better than you or I to polish what you’ve written. It takes time and effort and that four letter word – work. THAT is the secret, the key, the path. The secret is that good writing is a process. When asked to read something. It is very difficult, when it needs to be edited first, at the very least proof read. I can’t read it the way you would wants me to without that executed correctly. It short changes both of us.
Watching recent events, has totally helped me to understand why editors, agents and publishing houses, bang their heads on the wall over and over again, making them become a uniquely powerful, not going to talk to you, industry. “GO LEARN TO WRITE FIRST” said E.W. You cannot simply put an extraordinary idea on the page, and expect your editor or agent to untangle it, spell it correctly and put it in the right form for the right genre and of course, make you a bucket full of money.
This is what I was told recently, loud and clear by a college writing professor, who is helping me edit my first book. She has been brutally honest with me, and I am sincerely grateful for it. As well as learning to develop a thicker skin. She shared with me how many people approach her wanting to know how to get a book published. She is flabbergasted – there are so many steps before you can begin to approach a publisher – the first – learn to write and write it completely. Not just one chapter at a time – finish the manuscript.
Geez, I am probably taking a big chance putting this on my blog. It is not my intention to hurt anyone’s feelings, but I want to be as honest with you dear reader, as my mentor has been with me.
Here’s another secret. If you want to write fiction – learn to write fiction and practice. If you want to write children’s books. Great! Surround yourself with people who write children’s books and learn to write them. The same with horror, mystery, non-fiction, memoir. Learn to write the right way!
Am I blasting fellow writers? Hell no! I learn from them every time I’m with them. Some negative. Some positive. You know – balanced. I am in no way, shape or form criticizing them or putting myself on a pedestal. I am becoming a better writer because of them. But it comes down to doing the work. Giving it the best you’ve got. I want them to succeed as much as I want to!
For over a little more than a year now, I’ve taken classes, at the library, at the community college, I’ve read a bunch of books, I’ve asked questions and listened and compared and studied. And most important I’ve written till my joints ache in my hands. I’m following the advice from Laura Muson who said to me on the phone, “Do the work.” I’m not stupid, I know I have a long way to go, lots more to read, to learn and to fail then get up, dust off and try again, and again and again.
I get it! I get the process and I understand now more than I ever would have believed before, in many cases to get published – is a fluke, a lightening strike, a trip over a four leaf clover that lands you in the right place at the right time. Not for everything – but as a writer trying to do the right thing, follow the right path, surround yourself with the right people. Oh My God that is ridiculously hard! And after all that, you know what? You may not make it, you may not get one fricken word published! And how does that make you feel?!!
Like crap! BUT It doesn’t have to.
I was sitting next to a woman in the Community of Writers in our library. A wonderful diverse, multi-genre group of the most interesting, fun, all age individuals I’ve ever been part of. I love these people – maybe not some of their writing, but we all try very hard to find what we like, what we don’t like, and say why to each.
As we were talking, this very talented poet said something that totally blew my mind. “How do we write well, and enjoy it, even if we have no desire to publish?”
Wow – here I have been so focused on the “P” word, did I lose the love for the craft? Did I push aside the joy of the actual writing – the feel of the pen, touch of the paper – the sound of the soft scratching on the page – like cat tails dancing near a lake?? Oh thank God. Nooooo!
This whole process of the craft, the art, the skill, the purpose, the words is pure passion! If I get my book published – you will hear it! I will do the happy dance and make all sorts of interesting sounds. My neighbor, who has already read my first book, and asking for another – God Bless her. Will meet me in the middle of the street – where we have had our best conversations in years of neighbordom – and she will cry and shout right along with me! Because I know I have not written alone. I know family and friends and circles of people holding pens are right there with me when I write. It is a process, a group effort, there are lows and highs and wonderfuls and terribles.
But that one woman, sitting beside me, having no interest in beginning this uphill climb – reminded me, no matter what. I love to write.
It is a drive, a passion (geez that word is used WAY too much right E.W?!), a yearning as powerful as my yearning for chocolate. It is something I have to do, every day, no matter if I am paid to do it or not. I will continue – to explore – to create – to laugh, cry, and bang my head against the wall while I’m figuring it all out. It all falls into one messy, sticky, complex pile that I throw myself into, like a child in soft snow or crunchy leaves. Today I will stop analyzing, stop expecting, stop picking up The Elements of Style when I’m stuck or questioning (wait, what am I saying, that little book is glued to my desk!). I will stop taking myself too seriously, and looking down the path with blinders on while I bang out this many pages before noon. Today I will allow myself to dance across the keyboard – – – and write what I want to. And hope and pray, one day – I’ll feel that lightening strike too.
Breathe Deep, Think Peace