Sunday, July 10, 2011

What I've Learned: A Baker's Dozen

It’s been almost two years since I finished the first draft of The Partizans. It’s been two very long years of agonizing over every single word I’ve committed to paper (and then uncommitted when I realized I used the completely wrong word). After putting the last comment from my betas into the master ms, I started thinking about what I have learned since October 3, 2009. So here we go, in no particular order:

1.       Facebook can be a blessing and a curse. It can inspire you with quizzes and distract you with work on an imaginary farm or the chance to stalk your high school boyfriend.

2.       Writing is a solitary passion, but it will never exceed your expectations if you don’t find someone who secretly hates you to tell you what’s really wrong with your character, plot line, comma usage, etc. (Thanks, mom! LOL)

3.       When starting out on a new project, estimate the amount of ink and paper you will need and then multiply that times five. Anything less is a joke.

4.       To be a better writer, find a critique partner who is better at the craft than you are.

5.       Even if your muse is on vacation, sit your butt in the chair and wait for a long distance burst of inspiration. Likewise, if you are on vacation, expect your muse to show up for work regardless of your plans.

6.       Writer’s conferences are binges for those drawn to prose.  You spend a couple days surrounded by people who love to read and write as much as you do and come home on a mega high, only to crash under the weight of reality. Luckily, your new writer friends can give you the occasional fix through great tweets!

7.       A pitch session really is just a conversation with someone who knows more about the industry than you do. Take advantage of the one-on-one time!

8.       When you start to query your first manuscript, you might want to establish some drinking game rules. It will make the sting a little less painful, at least until the next morning when your muse wakes you up in the form of a four year old screaming for breakfast.

9.       On the subject of agents, even though many requests for a partial and full ultimately end with a rejection, I think each should be celebrated. After all, you made it through the slush pile and that’s more than most people.

10.   When beginning a new project, feel free to look at a situation and wonder to yourself, “How can I really screw over my character?” (You may use more explicit words if you so decide.)

11.   When you think your query letter/synopsis/manuscript is perfect, put it away for a few weeks and then try to read it without picking up a red pen. If you can do that, you’re good to go.

12.    I hate to workout. It’s no secret. I tell everyone. However, nothing shakes the writer’s block off like a couple miles on the treadmill with a good friend. Especially if that person hates working out as much as you do!

13.   Finally, the only way to become a writer is to actually be a writer. Don’t let others determine your fate. A writer has commitment and passion that many only dream about. We are the inspiration of tomorrow and the preservationists of yesterday. Of course, we are the self-loathers of today, but that’s completely beside the point.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by my blog. I’m hoping to keep it more up to date and always entertaining in the future. Until my next post, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @writinghoosier and Be Bold in whatever you love to do!

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