Thursday, February 10, 2011

Just Write....

Just Write. Two words -- such a simple concept. AND so utterly obvious. This has been an underlying theme in several of my blogs, very often the crux of many of the workshops I've taken, and advice given by published authors.  But if it's so easy and obvious, why doesn't everyone write? Why do those who do write ever get stuck or doubt themselves? Why isn't everyone published?

Because writing is flippin' hard, that's why. Even when you "just write". What do you write about? What is your theme? Is it different enough from everything else that's out there? Is it well written? Do you have a good grasp of Goal, Motivation and Character or Scene and Sequel? Who do you listen to when you get three or twelve conflicting opinions on your current WIP and which direction or structure it should follow?

These were some of the things we were discussing when my friend Kadee Sinclair and I visited Black Diamonds RWA for their weekend retreat in Castro Valley. We were in a beautiful villa and an intimate setting of several like-minded authors. As in we all wanted to better our craft, even though we were at various stages of our careers.

Virna  DePaul gave a very motivational presentation on the highs and lows of pursuing a career as a writer which included some insights into the different variables and whimsy of the publishing world. Her journey was impressive. Not in the sense that she caught a lucky break and was published right away or that she struggled for many, many years, but that she suffered some extreme highs and lows and stuck with it despite the disappointment.  But her basic message was...always write. No matter what else is going on, keep writing.

Hilary Sares was also on hand to walk us through the vagaries of the publishing process and gave us a few helpful hints on what not to do. It's always good to have a realistic idea of what you can and cannot expect, whether we like it or not.  But her pearl for the day --- believe in yourself and your writing and send out only your best work. Be professional at all times and don't give up if this is what you really want to do. (Are you sensing the theme yet?)

We heard from Lori Wilde, via Skype because she was "talk-blocked" by mother nature, and she talked about Scene and Sequel a little bit and a few other questions we tossed her way. One of the questions she answered dealt with knowing what advice to take and what advice to leave. She said as you develop your voice you will just instinctively know what is best for your writing.

As I thought about it, I realized I had already started honing this skill. Yay me! Hopefully, I'm doing it right and making wise choices so that my work is as tight as it can be. However, if I don't write anything in the first place, there is nothing to hone and refine. Nor is there any way to develop my voice. So again, the basic message is Just Write!

It's not an easy business, but if you love what you do, then do it, and with some perseverance, hard work, love and luck, at some point, it will all come together. So here's hoping that the muse finds you...just writing.



P.S. Check out Virna's website for her debut release Chosen By Blood


Ginny M. Christensen said...

Awwwwww, Donna,

Two simple words...That torment our daily lives. Sortta like...if only...I wasn't so dang tired then my brain could think what to write!

Great blog, Donna. Sounds like you had a productive, fun weekend.

Are you doing it? Heeding your own advice?

Donna O'Brien said...

Thanks Ginny...and yes, yes I am! Are you?

Craig said...

Hope the writing is going well! Thanks for the lovely post on the retreat. I just found it today, a little late... :)

Craig said...

Oops, that was from me--on my hubby's account! Virna

Donna O'Brien said...

I was wondering who the hell Craig was...LOL! Thanks for stopping by! :)

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