Wednesday, April 6, 2016

ISWG: From the Mind to the Page



I’ve been trying to figure out an insecurity for this month. It’s been hard to choose. I’m finishing up revisions on my manuscript, and soon, I hope to be sending it out. I think I’m more nervous about getting these last revisions right than querying. Go figure.


All my life, I’ve thought that publishing or getting an agent would be my ticket. It would validate me, make everything worthwhile. But, more likely, I hoped it would make others see that I was a real writer.

Now I don’t care so much.


I’ve learned to enjoy the writing, not just the getting published part, which is a big step for me. I used to have enough information in my brain about agents to write my own manuscript wish list.


But I’ve taken two years off submitting. Two years where I’ve just focused on getting my writing where I want it to be. Instead of focusing on whether I’ve written something “they” would like, I’ve focused on whether I’ve written a book I like. Or more exactly, if the story I pictured in my head has made it to the page.


See, I’ve had problems with that too. So far, most of my books haven’t “said” what I wanted to say. Like stepping back from your painting and realizing it doesn’t look like the one you imagined, I’ve done that in my writing. And all the submitting or researching of agents didn’t change that.

But the difference now, and maybe the reason I’m not so nervous about sending this one out, is that I can tell from my critique partners’ feedback that what I wanted to convey with this book is conveyed. That, to me, is a better feeling than getting a request to see my work.


So, I can’t control whether someone else in publishing likes it, but I am pleased. I have done what I set out to do.

As Anne Lamott says in Bird by Bird: "...if you are writing the clearest, truest words you can find and doing the best you can to understand and communicate, this will shine on paper like a lighthouse. Lighthouses don't go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining."

What are your greatest joys about writing or publishing?

Insecure Writer's Group

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time.
 
Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

The awesome co-hosts for the April 6 posting of the IWSG will be Megan Morgan, Chris Votey, Viola Fury, Christine Rains, Madeline Mora-Summonte, L.G. Keltner, Rachna Chhabria, and Patricia Lynne! 

26 comments:

  1. I think you've got it right in focusing on the writing and not getting an agent that you cannot control. And if you persevere, chances are you will reach that goal too.

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    1. Thanks, Natalie. That's what I'm hoping for too, but trying to enjoy the journey so far.

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  2. I totally understand your evolved thinking/feeling about being validated. I felt the same way at the beginning of my writing journey. Now, although it would be nice to have others fully see/understand the work this craft takes, it's not as important to me. (Still bugs me though when people are willing to bay $5 for a coffee but not a book.)

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    1. That's encouraging to hear, Sheri. I know what you mean about the book/coffee thing. Writers are underappreciated in our culture!

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  3. Okay, I love that quote from Anne Lamott! Maybe I should finally get around to reading Bird by Bird. I've felt that for a long time too, about being a 'real writer'. It's no fun! Glad to know you've managed to overcome that feeling- maybe I can too. =)

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    1. Oh, you really need to read it, Leandra! I put it off for so long myself, and it's so inspiring (and funny).

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  4. Well said! Besides, if we don't love what we've written, no one else will either.

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  5. Sounds like you have found your writing voice and that is beautiful. I stop submitting four years ago because I knew I have to find my own voice. All the best for your manuscript.
    Shalom,
    Patricia @ EverythingMustChange

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    1. Thanks, Patricia! I'm encouraged to hear it worked for you too. :)

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  6. Nice. I think it takes a significant amount of practice to get to the point where you're communicating what you want to on paper. It takes years of dedication to be able to dictate the prose rather than the prose determining how the story will go. When you reach that magical point as a writer, you're empowered to do anything. Way to celebrate your victories.

    Crystal Collier

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    1. Oh, thank you, Crystal! I so appreciate your kind words.

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  7. Yay! I love that you wrote a book for you—something that portrays exactly what you want to say. Sounds like this could be the one!! And even if it's not, you ARE a real writer. Good luck with the rest of your revisions!

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    1. Thank you, Kristin! Your sweet words mean a lot.

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  8. Yes, write for the joy of it. Sounds like you have a strong handle on it all. Good for you! I love all the research that goes into my WIP and weaving the story with the facts bit by bit.

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    1. Ooh, I love the research part too! That's my problem though. Sometimes I'd rather research than write. :)

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  9. Oh, to be at this stage ... it is really wonderful. To have written and grown and now ready to share with the wider world. Congratulations!!!

    After hundreds of rejections, I am now thankful for them. And so, when the time is right, the story will be published. Good luck and God bless as you enter this phase!

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  10. Thank, Vijaya, for your encouraging words. I feel like I can do this now. :) You're so right about the right time coming. My rejections have taught me so much.

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  11. Great quote from Anne Lamott! I read the book, but don't remember that one.


    @mirymom1 from
    Balancing Act

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  12. You're so right that you have to write what you want to write not what you think others want. I've struggled with that as well. I love the Anne Lamott quote.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Kathryn! Glad to hear I'm not the only one who struggles with this.

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  13. I am willing to bet your two year break to focus on writing the story the way you wanted to convey it has turned you into one of Lamott's Lighthouses. When you submit this one, agents will see that too.

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    1. Thank, Liza. Your words mean a lot. I feel like I just got a shot of confidence! :)

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  14. Kudos to you! I think figuring this out saves a lot of us from going crazy, actually. For me, the most important thing is writing what feels right and then connecting with an audience. It's truly a terrific feeling.

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