Friday, November 25, 2011

Tuck and Roll - The Writer's Highway

Most things in life don't go according to plan.  Sometimes we're lucky and things we strive for are achieved with only slight detours.  However, there may be major detours in our path.  These roadblocks can set us turning around or taking the long route to make it to our destination.

We must ask ourselves: do we let these things stop us from making it where we're headed?


Think about our writing journey as if it were a literal road trip that is going to take us hours from home.  What issues can come up?  I mentioned roadblocks and whether these be an accident or construction they can have us taking an unexpected direction.  Other times these roadblocks merely slow us down.  As we travel we can also encounter bad weather, car problems and any number of unforeseen circumstances.  Maybe we get into a minor accident.


So how does this apply to our writing?  And how does this apply with the title of this post "Tuck and Roll"?


We have two choices when we encounter detours or slowdowns in our writing.  We can let them defeat us.  On a roadtrip we'd turn around and head back home.  On our writing journey we'd give up and conclude we don't have what it takes.  So which are you?  Do you let yourself be defeated or do you in essence and  for the sake of another illustration "tuck and roll"?


Think of a catapillar.  When it encounters danger or a threat it curls up, but does it stay that way forever?


That by the way is a rhetorical question. 


So in honor of this beautiful little insect I say when you encounter "threats" on your writing journey - TUCK AND ROLL!


So let's discuss setbacks.  There isn't any stage of our writing journey that is exempt.

What are some “roadblocks” that come up?  Here’s 4 Basic ones:
1.  Ourselves
2.  Discouragement
3.  Life Responsibilities
4.  Life Circumstances

Ourselves
This is a large roadblock that can come up without any warning signs of "construction" ahead.  Our negative attitude about ourselves and our writing can hinder us at any point.


You might feel you don’t have what it takes to be a successful writer so why bother trying.

How can we get the internal voice to shut-up?
TUCK AND ROLL!

Stop listening to the voice of doubt.  When it tells you can’t do something, tell it you can.  Just keep writing!

Discouragement
This can stem from within or from external sources.

Some people just don’t like to see others happy and as a result say spew negative comments to bring you down.

How do you overcome this?
TUCK AND ROLL!

You are in control of how you react to things!  Don’t let your negative attitude or those of others affect you!  Don’t let them have that control.  Do you derive happiness and fulfillment from writing?  Keep doing it!

Life Responsibilities
Drag.  There’s one word I sum it up with.  I’d rather be writing or something thereby related most of the time (obvious exemption to this is spending time with family and friends).  Unfortunately, the dishes need doing, the laundry piles up, and let’s not forget the day job.  Sometimes it just doesn’t feel like there’s enough time in life to write.

My suggestion?
TUCK AND ROLL!

Do what you can!  You don’t have to write a novel in a week, a month or even a few.  Enjoy what you’re doing, but foremost keep writing.  Write regularly.  If all you can write is a few words or a paragraph a day, so what? Keep at it. Set goals.  Come up with a time budget and hopefully stick it better than you may a monetary one ;)

Life Circumstances
This is a tough one.  We can’t control what goes on around us.  Sometimes we lose those we love and this sets our writing path off course.

I personally experienced this a couple years.  I lost my father-in-law and it had me thinking I should spend more time with my husband and other family members.  For months I didn’t write or do anything writing-related.  I didn’t want to lose a moment that may pass by without me.  But my husband helped me realize I couldn’t live like that.

How to push through?
TUCK AND ROLL!

Time for grieving is necessary.  Spending time with loved ones we have is priceless, but we also need to fill our soul.  As writers our writing fulfills us. Maybe express the feelings you’re experiencing on paper.  Reach out to other people.  Are you part of online writing forums?  This is what helped me to snap back.

So now we’ve discussed a few “roadblocks”, but what about the different stages of writing?  I had mentioned none of these are exempt from potential hazards to our writing journey and our ultimate destination.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll discuss the following areas, and I’ll give you what’s worked to help me through.  This is going to be 4-part post covering two stages at a time.

Here are the stages we’ll cover:
Setting out to write your first novel
Completing your first novel

Editing your novel
Receiving criticism

Agent Rejections
The course of Self-Publication

Handling Bad Reviews
All the novels you’ve written are published, now what?