Writers have it hard, though we revel in the thought of being a “glutton for punishment”. Why? It may have something to do with the expressions which fall over (or glaze over) the target of our conversation. It could also be the fact that, as a writer who has seen her share of happy and unhappy endings actually make it to the page, we know we are a misbegotten few.
It’s a pleasant thought, knowing “see it through to the end” writers are a rare find.
But back to my initial point: we have it hard. Not because we are furiously determined to write tales and adventures, but because we are gloriously “trapped” by our own imagination. Not be bombarded by character tales and “what ifs” on a daily basis? Impossible! Watch a movie or read a book without being inundated with possibilities, tangents, and continuations? Inconceivable! (Yes, I had to say that….)
As many of you know, my mother passed away suddenly in December of 2014. She was 68. Since her death, I allowed myself to become enclosed in a room of shadows. Imagination, stories, characters… none were allowed beyond the door to rescue me from the misery of her loss.
But no more. Now I struggle to push through the cobwebs and weeds and make good my escape. It will mean reawakening my diligence, my determination, and my desire to revel in being a “glutton for punishment”. The danger is trying to shoulder too many challenges before I am ready.
Challenge #1: Balance editing time with creation time.
Too often I get into the revision/editing stage of a manuscript and forget that I also need to allow myself the time to create new tales; find new characters and new worlds. Playing with new ideas is essential! Even if it’s just a brief doodle, at least it will be a possibility that is now free and waiting for me to weave into something more. It is even okay to let it quietly slip into a pleasant memory.
Challenge #2: Don’t give yourself an unattainable goal.
What I mean is, don’t start writing a rough draft and give yourself a complete date/goal for a FINAL DRAFT. Goals are best done in stages. Set a goal for an outline. Set a goal for a rough draft. Set a goal for a second draft. See the pattern? Of course, if you’re the type of writer that needs the pressure of a final completion date, try and limit it to a Quarter or a Year and not an actual date. At least, not until you have completed draft #2 and have a better idea of how the storyline is coming to fruition.
Don’t sabotage your success by setting an unrealistic expectation.
Challenge #3: Partner with someone you trust.
After struggling through organizing/writing this post, I will send it out for review to my husband and partner Michael King. This is something new and different for me, but I trust his insights, especially since he is a talented mentor and understands – to a greater extent – how to present leadership/mentoring material in a helpful way. Not only that, in regards to my fiction I know I can trust his ability to keep me on the straight and narrow, including the necessary torturous events for our faulty hero.
When we have access to someone we trust who challenges us in a healthy way, that enables us to grow. Growth is the key, and it should always be the target.
That’s all for now. Here’s hoping I will continue to have something to say as my reawakening continues.