Monday, June 25, 2007

This morning I woke up thinking about the quality of my writing. Questions for myself. How do I know that my writing is good? How do I make it great? What do I use as a criteria to know if it is improving?

I belong to a critique group and their feedback is helpful. After I present a piece, I go home and make the suggested corrections and changes. But does that make it better? I don't know. And if I present a piece to which there are no corrections or changes suggested, does that make it good? I don't know.

I guess the real question should be, what is the appropriate gauge by which to judge my writing? And, how do I determine if progress is being made?

In order to pursue successful writing and avoid the dangers that the 'publish or perish' mindset holds, I need to find the answer to this question. The problem is that this is such a subjective area. For example, someone could absolutely love the story and because of that not notice problems in the writing. Or on the other hand, someone could hate the story and attribute that to the writing. In either case I am still stuck with the initial question, is it good?

What I would like is a clear standard of measure, but I don't believe such a thing exists, at least not for writing. Yet, there has to be something that will assist me in my pursuit of great writing. I long to hold the reader captive, cause their heart to ache, breath fire into their spirit, and leave them panting for more.

That is what I crave and I won't stop until I have it!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Last night as I was drifting off to sleep, I wondered what I would write about today. The answer came to me this morning as I read a newsletter from Emily Hanlon. She wrote about something that once again has caused me to re-evaluate my decision to write. She was sharing about her father, his love of writing and his threatened feelings of failure with respect to being published.

It occurred to me that I have erroneously likened publication to successful writing. Here's the truth as I am struggling to see it. Success in writing is measured by the response of the reader to what you have created. If my intention is to create a character that the reader has strong feelings about (whether negative or positive) and evoke these, then I am successful. If I create a story that remains within the readers' minds long after the book has ended, I am successful.

In short, success as a writer is measured by the ability of the writer to take the reader on a journey through the lives of her characters and suspend them on every emotion and event with the full flavor of having experienced it themselves.

Have I mastered this thought, idea, or intention of success? Absolutely not! But I am working on it. Everyday as I add to the pile of pages that will constitute my 'mile', I will think on this. Hopefully I will be free of the tyranny of 'publish or perish'. Until then, I will continue to celebrate with my writing buddies as each project comes to life. And if I get published along the way...GOOD!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Another step on the journey. My husband asked me a very important question. Is writing a chore because I'm trying to make it a business, or do I write because I enjoy it? After some contemplation, here is the answer.

I write for the joy of it. I love having stories and characters alive in my head. Getting it all down on paper in a form for others to share in them can sometimes be difficult. And, putting them on paper in a manner that is marketable seems impossible, at times. But the long and short of it is, I love it.

I would love to be published. Seeing my books on a shelf in a bookstore, or better yet, seeing them pulled from the shelf by children to read would be the rush of a lifetime. But knowing that they will be enjoyed by my grandchildren for years to come is also great.

I just have to get beyond the feeling/belief that publication is the definition of success. I have to get it all into perspective. Tough job.

My new goal is to see writing and publication they way I believe about relationships and sex. (Oooo, you said the 's' word). Publication is to writing as sex is to relationship. Writing is the cake and publication is only the icing. You can eat a lot of cake, even use it as bread for sandwiches, but try to eat as much icing alone, you'll only get sick.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Wow! Have you ever stopped and counted your blessings? I have. And they add up to quite a few. I have such great support. You wouldn't believe it. If you go to my comments you will get a small dose of the kind of blessings and support that come my way.

Sometimes things in my life look ugly and bleak, but it doesn't stay that way for long. There is always someone to remind me how great life really is.

Writing can be very hard and there is little gratification other than the joy of a story well told. So what keeps me going? Just that. When I read a story that has come from musings, or a see character that appears out of nowhere, I am amazed. Or what really gets me going is when I read a chapter to my critique group and they respond in the way I had intended. That is really juiced!

Then there are the times that I listen to their work. I am so blown away just knowing that their minds pulled it out of nowhere. Creativity!!

The wonderful minds that I get to watch work reminds me of the greatest blessing of all...IMAGINATION. When was the last time you let yours run wild? Try it. But I have to warn you, it's addicting.