Sunday, August 03, 2008

Great post on writing by PB writer

We went out for Indian food last night, great time and today I'm paying for it...why did I have to drink so much red wine? Soaked in the hot tub a bit and I'm trying to find some energy to write this proposal.

I have to go to the day job tomorrow, and tomorrow starts my marathon "I will write this book in two months" quest. I already set my cell phone ringer to "Mission Impossible."

Then I came across this terrific, inspiring post by PB Writer, who blogged on the realities of the writing life, and everything from how spending too much time on the internet in the wrong places can be a drain on your creative energy to the "rules" in writing.

One of my favorite parts:

"The more I learn about writing, the more knowledge I acquire, which translates into the practical energy I need when I try something new, or different, or risky. A small but significant drain on practical energy are running into the rule-makers.

These are people who have such a rigid attitude about some aspect of writing or the biz that they immediately instill doubt in you, especially if you're already doing something different.

Very often our writing instincts will throw up a warning flag about this sort of thing. If someone offers you an idea to try with your writing, you'll probably feel curious or interested. If someone tells you how you should be writing, you'll likely feel defensive or a sense of doubt.

To my knowledge no one has ever been named the absolute authority on writing. Until God appoints a paragon to this position, no one can tell you how you should be writing (including me.)

Another threat to your practical energy is when you compare yourself to other writers. You read a great book, but instead of enjoying it you compare your latest work to it and feel inadequate. Or, you see another writer you don't think is as talented as you are, but they're more successful than you've been. It all comes down to envy, the most efficient vampire in all of Publishing.

It's human nature to envy what we can't or don't have. It's why I've always wanted to be a tall blond -- because I've always envied my older sister, who is. In some cases, it drives us to achieve more with what we do. But in writers, envy is never a good thing. It poisons the joy you take in your work, and the satisfaction you feel for what you do accomplish. Nothing is ever good enough because someone else has more than you do.

I can't get rid of all the industry awards, the bestseller lists, or the blog traffic counters, so I'll give you the next best thing: narrow the field down to one. If you really want to compete with someone and have a chance at beating them, go look in the mirror. There's your competition looking back at you. That's the only writer you should be trying to beat. And when you do, you both win"

Click here to read the entire post. It's long but very much worth it and includes links to some great workshops she's hosted this week by other authors.

Thanks PB Writer!

1 comment:

Jennifer Ashley/ Allyson James / Ashley Gardner said...

Thanks for sharing that, Bonnie. What a wonderful post.

I constantly find myself looking at other authors and then finding fault with myself, and constantly telling myself not to. When I can get my head back in the right place, I do the "compete with yourself" thing. I try to write better, stronger books that my fans will enjoy, have the next ones sell better, win more awards, have more critical acclaim, whatever. Just overall be better this year than I was last year.

PB Writer is right--envy can poison you. I'm happy to say that as the years have gone by I'm better at dealing with it than I was when I first got published (I think terror had something to do with the envy, and I think fear still does).

But now I find that I can wallow in reading again and lose the writer hat while doing it. In fact, I'm often far happier reading something I didn't write! (Especially when page proofs and copy edits are falling on me thick and fast, LOL).