Somehting to think about . . .

Hunger and the fear of failure . . . when you hit the wall, the only way left is up.

~Lorelei Bell

Sunday, May 30, 2010

You Can Never Quit Writing

A true writer can never actually "quit" writing.

You may take a break, a hiatus, perhaps, that may last a week, or a month, or even a year--or longer.

At times, when you need a respite, you seem to know it. But you have no control over when you're ready to return to it.

Suddenly, the writing but bites and the blank page calls to you. Before you realize it, you've got a page done, then another and then another. Wow, you're really on a roll. Ten pages, maybe twenty before you stop and take a look.

You might take that break because you need to. I once took a 4-year-long break. But I missed it. Even though I was doing something I enjoyed, once I went back to the writing, I knew this is what I was meant to do. I feel more satisfaction in the act of writing than doing anything else.

So, if you need to take a break. Do it. Don't force the writing. Your writing muse will tell you that it's okay to pick up the pen, or sit at the computer again. You'll feel refreshed, excited again.

But you can never quit. Writing that is.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Journal Entry: November 28th 1999

I was scrounging through a list of publishers, trying to find any that seemed right for what I'm writing. I wish I knew if anything I've written is worth the effort. I wish I knew whether or not I'm just wasting my time. But then I'm reminded by what Dennis said to me,"Write for your own pleasure." I realize it does keep my mind busy.

what I need to do is (maybe?) quit taking it all so seriously. If I'm not having any fun with it, then, well, I'm only hurting myself more than anything. I really don't see myself publishing anything any time soon. Even this latest short story--who's gonna want it? I realize now that I can't write for a publication. I do write for myself. Maybe that's no so bad. It's just that I won't be successful. But how does one measure success? How much money one makes, or how happy one is with themselves? I can't keep beating myself over the head about any of this. I have too much to worry about as it is.

And as far as that's concerned, writing is my one and only escape. When I go into my room to write I'm in my own little world where no one can enter--except to interrupt me--but it's all mine. All mine! I'm probably never going to be published--not in the way I've dreamt of it. Maybe all the hype and glitz ain't worth it anyway. I don't know. I've never been very out-going, I'm shy, introverted and basically I don't enjoy being around people. People find ways of hurting you whether they mean to or not.

So, what am I saying? I'm as unsure of my writing talents now as I was twenty years ago. Maybe I've improved quite a lot since, but it's not making much difference.

author's note: Hard to believe but this was written about 11 years ago. How time flies.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

January 8th 2002

I'd read something I'd written in 1983. Wow. I was so despondent then. It was just before I'd published something in ByLIne & a poem. In Dec. of 1984 I said I'd "quit" writing. But by the following year I was back at it. My ideas flowing.

What I'd entered that day in '83 mirrors nearly what I'd written last summer (2001)

"Sometimes I feel as though I'm playing in a charade--that someday the bubble is going to bust and I'll find that my dream of becoming a successful writer will never be realized."

February of that year I had a poem and an article accepted (ByLIne). Then in June I sold another piece to ByLine--$20!. And I was writing the very 1st version of Vampire Legacy [1985].

To put things in perspective, I went back to school (NIU). In March of 1986 I met my husband, Dennis, fell in love, and never looked back--quit school too. What a bunch of B.S. I learn nothing in school. And at the university it's so filled with professors who have a big head about themselves.

Dennis and I sold our vehicles--him: his blue Mustang, Me: my Honda 200 mc. We went on an 8 week camping trip out west, got engaged, came back and worked at the bus company again.

Monday, May 10, 2010

On Dreams and Wishes

If a person dreams or makes a wish, but the dream or wish never comes to pass what happens to it?

Does it go into a holding place waiting for just the right alignment of the stars?

Or . . . does it go to someone else whose desire is more? Or has asked for it more?

Can a dream always be yours and no one else's?

Or . . . is it yours exclusively. No one else can have it, since you are the creator of that wish, dream, idea?

Everyone should have dreams.
Dreams, hopes, wishes, goals, desires. It's what life is made of. We shouldn't be afraid to dream for fear that the dream may never be realized. To not dream, or have hope is to become dead inside.

We all need something to build on, move toward, think upon during the day--especially at work (because the work you do is not what you really want to do. What you want to do is stay home and write!)

We need something to look forward to, grasp onto--even desperately by the gossamer hairs of that dream/hope/wish/desire. No matter how small or large--you as a writer need to keep on going at it. Find where your mistakes are. Correct them. Try a new editor. You might be surprised!

No matter how impossible it might seem to you, or others who know you; no matter how wild, impossible, or fantastic--Dream big!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Battle

In 1902, the poetry editor of the Atlantic Monthly rejected the works of a 28-year old poet.
Robert Frost persevered.

January 2003~From Journal

Things I've worked on this month:
"Things In Heaven" (short story) gets rewritten and new title: "Finder's Keepers"
Poems sent out to various places.
I'm plugging along on fantasy novel Spell of the Black Unicorn
Wrote and sent out essay to The Writer (this wasn't picked as winner)
Sent out another hint to Family circle
Sent short piece to Writer's Digest
A recipe sent to Midweek is eventually accepted

My mantra is to increase the success rate, you've got to increase the failure rate . . . in other words, send writing out, even if you feel you've got a glacier's chance in a live volcano, do it.

You have to develop an attitude. Or so I've read.

The attitude anyone needs in order to succeed is exactly the mother, the essence. If you lack it, you'll fail every time. It doesn't matter if you can brag that you re-write everything 30,40,50, or 100 times. It isn't only talent which makes a writer. It is not just hard work, either. It's a combination of that, and something even more important than those two things: devotion to your work; a belief in it.

This year I had a plan--to get so many things out there I can't remember it all, and increase my failure rate. I did win, all be it a small victory, but a victory just the same. Understanding that the odds are stacked against me, yet I did what I set out to do: GET PUBLISHED. My first poem was PUBLISHED! After so many rejections. It feels very satisfying, but I want to win more.

Drab gray streets turned white,
now shimmer.
Wind aloft rushes with
freight train might.
Cars slosh along up town,
while feathers from angel's wings
mound higher and higher.
Watching my foot-falls crunch and punch
through wet powder,
herringbone patterns follow behind me.
--published in Weeds Corner, Winter issue 2003 Vol. III, No.1

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Zen and the Art of Writing

A while back The book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, was rejected 121 times. The author, Robert M. Pirsing sold it to the 122nd publisher and it went on to sudden success.
Some people don't know when to quit, do they?
Pirsing believed in what he wrote and didn't let the rejections get to him, even after 100 of them!

I'm a struggling writer. I began writing when I was 16. Before that I was known as "the artist" I loved to draw. I would sit up nights into the wee hours drawing out my fantasies in cartoons. People said I should go on to become a cartoonist.
I didn't. I went on through high school, then to college, majoring in art. But by the time I hit college I think I loved writing more. I must have. Every page of writing that I had done while I lived in my father's house was collected after he died and it all filled 3 paper grocery sacks.

In 1983 I joined a writing critique class that was in another state. I may have learned things I could never have back then. But I came away despondent, depressed about my writing, confused as to which way to go. And so I quit writing. For a while.
I found that I could never really quit writing. When I quit writing I'll be dead. Plain and simple.

The longest I've ever gone away from writing was about 4 years, back in the '90's when I was working in a craft store and did crafts myself. I sold a lot of crafts, but I didn't do more than break even. You have to continuously keep replacing supplies, and trying to come up with unique ideas.
My husband missed my writing. So, I returned to it. I tried to sell a romance (Indian romances were big then), but my writing was still far from polished. I had a lot of problems, still.

There's a saying that goes something like "you can make the trip in the dark with your headlights on, but you can't see beyond them." It's like that with writing--the craft is a difficult one to master if you don't know what the hell you're doing. If you can't spell, that's when it's really tough. People would say "look it up in the dictionary" You can't look it up unless you know how it's spelled!
I'm dyslexic, and I can't say enough about how a person--even with mild cases--struggle to perform either in school, or even at a job, or even on a personal level. It took until I turned 40 to realize I was dyslexic.

This blog is dedicated to those of you out there who are struggling as writers.
I'm not here to teach you anything, but if you get something out of it, even if it is encouragement, or you read something here that you can relate to, good. This is for you.

I have countless rejections from the 1980's up through now. I've tried to approach book publishers--back when you could, and later agents. My rants and ravings about the way the publishing industry is set up is probably better seen at other blogs. I've never viewed it from the inside out. But let's face it. It has changed over the last 30-40 years. My mother-in-law was able to go before a book publisher in the 70's. and she didn't follow through when he told her he didn't like what she'd written for him (imagine a country woman going all the way to New York and has a chat with the editor about her book), and told her to give him something else. If I were in that position I'd go home and lock myself in a room and tell my husband "You'll have to start pitching in around here--I'm writing a novel!"

Well, the story goes, she didn't go for it. Her reasons are not clear. I think it was fear of everything. Maybe the fear of actually succeeding. I don't know. I may never know. It's just one of those things I never have gotten the same answer whenever I've asked, so I know it's something deeper than the normal things.

So, you're wondering "is she published?"

Yes. I am. I've been published in various places and I will, in time place them here. I've published poems and non-fiction pieces as well as fiction.

I've also self-published my own book. At age 50, I knew that there was no way I was going to get what I had worked on so painstakingly hard on for 4-5 years. It's a light fantasy. It's funny, it's full of zany characters, magic, sorceresses and sorcerers, a demon, and a nasty evil sorcerer. I'll have it on the side for anyone to check out.

There will be some other blogs about things I've already mentioned. I also plan on placing my memoir on my time at the writing critique in Dubuque. Names will have been changed. But that's a ways off. I've two other blogs to take care of.

Oh . . . and of course, I'm writing another novel. My vampire novel will, I hope become an e-book. I'm still waiting on word. But I've already got someone interested in hosting me on their blog, if and when it sells.

Well, time is getting late for me. So, until next time. Adieu.