Wednesday, January 4, 2012

25 Stops to a Better Day



My original plan for today’s post was to talk about having a positive attitude and how I decided that 2012 would be the year of ‘can do’ rather than another year of ‘maybe I should, but maybe I shouldn’t.’

Then I was reading some posts over at the Indie Romance Ink board where someone mentioned this fantastic blog post at Terrible Minds about 25 Things Writers Should Stop Doing.

I hopped on over there because I’m always interested in finding out what I don’t need to be doing. The post is funny and informative and for me, it’s a list of about 23 things I’ve done or am still doing that I need to quit RIGHT NOW!

Chief among my sins is #7 STOP THINKING IT SHOULD BE EASIER

Somewhere along the line in the last seven years of writing, I started to think that this crap comes easy to me. I just sit down and write and after a couple of weeks I have a story and after a couple of more weeks, I’ve edited it into even better shape and a few months after that I have a contract and everything is cool. So when I started hitting speed bumps – stories that never got finished, stories that were still crappy even after I tried to fix them, stories that didn’t get contracted by the first publisher I sent them to, I started to think to myself, Maybe I can’t do this anymore. Maybe I forgot how to be a good writer. How did I learn in the first place?

Lucky #7 was a kick in the pants for me. Who am I to think this is easy? Or that it should be? It looks easy from the outside. When I see other people finishing their novels, getting contracts, starting new novels, I often assume they did all that on the fly without really breaking a sweat, because I’ve written things that were easy to write and fun to write and fast to write. I forgot that not everything I’ve done was easy, fun or fast and the stuff I have out there that I have the audacity to think is my best work represents a lot of rewriting and editing and fixing and deleting and balled up pieces of paper in the trash can.

I’ve gotten to the point where my relationship with writing is like a celebrity marriage. The first time the road gets rocky with a manuscript, I’m headed for divorce court and on to something new. I have a pile of unfinished manuscripts to prove it, all of them thrown over for something I thought was better, smarter, faster and would make people happier than the one before.

My goal this year is to not let that plot bunny attack be for nothing. I have an idea. An ambitious one, granted, but that’s the idea I plan to stick with. No wandering around looking for something shiny and new in a few weeks that I think will make it to publication faster, that I think will have a brighter future than what I’m working on now. This idea deserves a chance and my goal is to see it to the finish line, even if it’s hard, because I didn’t really get where I am doing easy stuff, it just looks that way from where I’m sitting.

Now, go read that blog post. You won’t be sorry you did. And tell me what things you need to stop doing.  I’ll be right here when you get back.


4 comments:

JB Lynn said...

ROFL I'd read that Terrible Minds post and was going to riff on it Monday. Not a good sign that my ideas are being stolen this early in the year. ;-)

I agree that sometimes it looks so "easy" for others and I too think, "why isn't easier for me?".

Since I know your plan and can vouch that it's ambitious, all I'll say is, "Gooooooo Jen!!!"

Em-Musing said...

Oh, he got me at #6. What AM I waiting for? Thanks for this post.

B.E. Sanderson said...

LOL, oh hell yeah. This ought to be way easier. Not the writing. I've always known that takes work. But the whole road to publication... there's a little part of me that moans about how it shouldn't be so damn hard.

And yeah, I really ought to get over that. It is what it is.

Jennifer Colgan said...

JB, great minds think alike. You should riff anyway. I'd like to read your take on it.

Em - Ditto. I waited for a long time. That first step is a doozy.

B.E. - I'm not going to stop moaning about how hard it is. In fact I'll probably moan more. I just have to stop expecting it to be easy.