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Inspiration for Reluctant Writers
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Damn Hard Writing

Everyone wants to be a writer. If I had a dollar for every time someone said to me, "I've thought about writing a book," . . . They all think it's something anyone can pick up in their spare time or retirement. They don't get that a writer's life is made up of sweat, tears, writing, rewriting, tearing up of manuscripts, rejection letters and despair, punctuated by moments of spectacular joy and satisfaction. They don't know that the greatest chance of success consists of little more than hard work followed by more hard work. There is no substitute.

Damn Hard Writing

Everyone wants to be a writer. If I had a dollar for every time someone said to me, "I've thought about writing a book," . . . They all think it's something anyone can pick up in their spare time or retirement. They don't get that a writer's life is made up of sweat, tears, writing, rewriting, tearing up of manuscripts, rejection letters and despair, punctuated by moments of spectacular joy and satisfaction. They don't know that the greatest chance of success consists of little more than hard work followed by more hard work. There is no substitute.

Water or Wine?

Do you agree? Is Twain's writing only water? And, beyond that, is writing "water" really such a bad thing? After all, when you think about it, we can live our whole lives without a sip of wine, however, we can only live a few days without water. Many of us write, primarily, for ourselves. But, for those of us who make our living as writers, we count on our writing being read - by as many people as possible. That helps ensure our employers keep paying us to do what we do. And, just as many of us who write long to be remembered for our work. We aspire to be a James Joyce, a Shakespeare, or -- a Mark Twain. Twain is right, after all, everyone drinks water, and today, more than a century after h

Rejected!

I doubt that Stephen King worries much about rejection slips anymore. But, the fact that the work of a man with his talent experienced multiple rejections should serve as encouragement for us mere mortals who write. The moral of this story is he didn't quit. Ever. He just kept on writing and kept on submitting until some unknown editor of a magazine of questionable quality finally said, "Yes," and paid Mr. King for an article. It was a start. Not enough to quit his job at the laundromat, but enough to help buy groceries. Again, he didn't quit. He wrote on his lunch hour and in the evenings. King did what my dad used to advise, "Support your dream until your dream can support you." Just don't

Rejected!

I doubt that Stephen King worries much about rejection slips anymore. But, the fact that the work of a man with his talent experienced multiple rejections should serve as encouragement for us mere mortals who write. The moral of this story is he didn't quit. Ever. He just kept on writing and kept on submitting until some unknown editor of a magazine of questionable quality finally said, "Yes," and paid Mr. King for an article. It was a start. Not enough to quit his job at the laundromat, but enough to help buy groceries. Again, he didn't quit. He wrote on his lunch hour and in the evenings. King did what my dad used to advise, "Support your dream until your dream can support you." Just don't

The Long and the Short of It

My daughter and I were just discussing this the other day. I was catching her up on the progress of my book and telling her I was concerned because the chapters are quite short. I tend to write tightly. I'm concise and don't add anything I don't think is absolutely necessary to the story. Adjectives and adverbs are scarce. When (if) it gets to an editor, I may find myself searching for more to say about the topic, however, for now, it's short. My daughter advised me not to worry too much about it. As she said, "It's much easier to add than to cut what you've worked hard to write." True dat.

The Long and the Short of It

My daughter and I were just discussing this the other day. I was catching her up on the progress of my book and telling her I was concerned, because the chapters are quite short. I tend to write tightly. I'm concise and don't add anything I don't think is absolutely necessary to the story. Adjectives and adverbs are scarce. When (if) it gets to an editor, I may find myself searching for more to say about the topic, however, for now, it's short. My daughter advised me not to worry too much about it. As she said, "It's much easier to add than to cut what you've worked hard to write." True dat.

What Others Think Is None of Your Business

Creativity is an indescribable quality that must be loosed to dance freely. Constrained by others opinions, it withers and dies. You must write without worry about what others think. We all have certain universal thoughts and concerns, but your unique experience and manner of expression may address them from a new perspective that will cause your readers to see a topic in a new way. Let the world hear what you have to say in your own particular manner. You may be surprised at who's paying attention.

Piercing and Ink

But not the kind you're thinking. I'm talking about the power of the pen. You know that whole "mightier than the sword" thing? Words (ink) can pierce us through. Words influence how we think and feel. Used well, they can draw us in to a story and hold us spellbound until the story resolves and then, and only then, release us. This is what every writer must strive for. Don't be satisfied with good; go for the gold; go for great! It's there. The right words are there within your reach. Don't be satisfied with just touching your readers - PIERCE them!

I've Been Thinking

I do that a lot -- especially when I'm working on an article or a new chapter in my book. Sometimes, I'll sit alone in a room with the door shut, eyes closed, my head in my hands as I think. I ponder the story I want to tell, how I want to tell it, and the best way to begin. To some it may seem as though I'm wasting time, but I can tell you that "wasted" time pays off in the long run. When I finally begin to write, it often cascades like water after I've spent the time thinking it through, or as Nervaudt said, it "becomes a toboggan and starts to slide." The writing flows freely and naturally if I've spent the pre-writing work and requires less editing and fewer rewrites. While just doing th

Are You Cut Out for It?

Do you want to be a writer, or are you a writer? The world is filled with wannabe's. I could fatten my bank account considerably if I had a quarter for every person who's told me, "I've always wanted to be a writer." People think of writing as a glory-filled, cushy career, and it is not. You must be willing to put in the time, the work, the energy it takes if you want to call yourself a writer. Few people realize that there are many successful writers out there whose names you'll probably never know. They write ad copy, magazine articles, grant applications, technical manuals, brochures, and, often, their names are never published. The percentage of professional writers who get their names

Howz yer writin'?

What can I say? I can't argue. He's right. Some people say the story's the thing, and you do need a compelling story. However, if have a great story but tell it poorly, you have a dud on your hands. Finding the perfect word to depict the action, describing the scene so well that people can recreate what you see in their own minds, building the action to a point that the reader cannot stop reading -- that makes a great story. So, find a story to tell, then take great care in the way "atcha write it."

Courageous! Who, me?

Matisse was right, you know. Creativity does take courage. I think of the impressionists and the ridicule they faced as they broke away from the traditional style of the Old Masters. Keep in mind that many of the painters, like Van Gogh, whose works now sell for millions, could barely sell enough paintings to buy food and heat their tiny living spaces. Remember that J.K. Rowling's wildly popular "Harry Potter" series was rejected by several publishers before finally landing on the desk of a man with vision. If you, like me, depend on your creativity for your livelihood, you put your heart out there for people, those educated in your field and lay people alike, to judge, criticize, and, maybe

Life Is What Happens When . . .

I've been thinking . . . I do more of that as I get older. As I'm excited to welcome the possibilities of a new year, I wonder, "What did I accomplish in 2017?" It doesn't seem like much. I certainly didn't complete the goals I'd set for myself this time last year. How did that happen? How did the year pass so quickly with so little significant personal progress? One day at a time. One day of procrastinating. One day of letting fear of failure win. One day of refusing to step out of my comfort zone. And, then, one day, I'm here - 365 days later. Another year with little to show for it. This year, I hope and pray, will be different. I've already begun to take steps to ensure that, as much as

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