Tag Archive | writers

Believing in yourself through all the rejection

In recent years, I have not done much submitting in the real world instead of online. Years ago I submitted quite often and was mostly faced with rejections. In all honesty, some of the early stuff was really terrible and should never have been pronounced done, much less a possible submission. I guess we are all anxious for fortune and fame.

While fostering teens and doing programs for parents and at risk families, I decided to write a book. It was mainly about the ways in which we fostered and the kids in our homes. At that time, we were considered to be unique in our style and methods. I advertised it as a book on CD-ROM since I figured the few places I tried to submit to editors, but they were not interested. The rejections made me feel it might be worthless. I have recently decided to try to submit it as an e-book online and see what happens.

The point of all this rambling is that we must not give up as writers, even when rejections are overwhelming us. We must take it in our stride and accept that this is a large part of what the average writer would deal with every day.

Our skin must be thick, because rejection happens to writers many, many times over the years. We need to keep trying to hone those skills that are needed to produce something editors will accept.

If they comment negatively on your work, don’t take it to heart. I have found even when one online editor thinks it is terrible, another editor will praise it. So who is right and does it even matter. Your goal is to get it read and someday produce some money from this writing life. Meanwhile you must keep writing. Send out work every week, if not every day. Someone could actually give you a positive comment on it and show you the error of your ways. Positive criticism is helpful and will lead you to success.

Your attitude is everything when it comes to rejection. Those that papered walls with these slips are my heroes. They are saying I don’t accept your opinion of me and this just means I must get it before even more editors. When you open a rejection slip, don’t get frustrated since it just did not get to the correct editor or publication. Your face should not get long; your vocabulary should not consist of new but lethal words. Don’t get mad, get mailing. We have all read of the important authors of today and classic writers of the past who were turned down time after time. These are those people we admire and celebrate their success. If the greats got turned down, anyone can experience the same thing. Keep trying. Your whole attitude should be too bad, it’s their loss.

Rejection can find other forms as well. For example, how many people, look at writing as a waste of time and tell you that is their feeling? How many times do relatives or friends make snide remarks about your chosen profession? People often believe if you work from home, you have tons of time and are not really doing anything important. We must change that belief.

Rejection is nothing new and nothing to be concerned about, at least you have written something to be rejected. Many writers spend more time learning than writing. I think it should be the other way around. We all can improve and need to learn new things, but we must write tons so that the average of excellent final products is a higher. Don’t let anyone intimidate you. Do not let one person put you down in ways that devastate you. However, if three dozen editors say it is crap, you might start to accept that opinion. Then move on to another project and consider that one practice and a learning experience. Some of it may find its way into another project. Ideas research and knowledge are never wasted. Keep writing and keep working. Keep moving forward and believe in yourself since that is what really matters.

Must experiences you write about be real? How much do you need to know when writing fiction?

We have heard of writers who write about locales they have never been to and still manage to convey a real experience. They seem to be able to immerse themselves in descriptions garnered from travel brochures and other vagabonds who have actually made the trip. I find this ability fascinating as the articles usually resonate as true. You do believe that a writer has been there.

It is obvious, that all writers who write murder mysteries have not actually experienced murdering someone. If they have, we are in real big trouble. Their research must be pretty amazing as they can describe a torture of a victim with credibility. They can make you feel the pain the person endures. You have little trouble seeing the murder on your mind. The autopsies they create seem genuine and maybe they have actually witnessed one. I would need to find the details elsewhere since I’m not that brave.

Planning a murder is another talent that must take great research to ring true. A deranged mind can possibly go beyond any normal brain for planning such brutal events, but how does a writer get inside their murderer’s head? I believe whenever you immerse yourself in writing, there must be a transfer of your mind to the character you are writing about. So many people do this well. I wonder if this is an innate skill or just takes lots of practice to do it convincingly. Some of us writers have naturally disturbing and devious minds. That must be a help when writing.

Writing about another era seems less daunting as there are so many historical references available to help you get the feeling and flavor of that time period right. Even historical novels could guide you with your setting, costumes and dialog. To feel authentic, I imagine those things must be just right.

For me, the books I enjoy have details that seem appropriate and authentic. When this isn’t the case, it is a jarring experience while your mind focuses on that wrong fact or element that does not fit correctly. It spoils your reading experience. It keeps you from enjoying the book.

When an author has nailed a time and place, suddenly everything seems real and we accept that this author is an expert. We feel we are reading something factual instead of a figment of the writer’s imagination.

The characters drawn, warts and all, are those that are believable. The too perfect character is as bad as the too villainous one. Every character must have both good and bad traits to make them seem real. The believable character is complicated much like any real person. A true character only comes across when they are neither all bad nor all good. I personally enjoy characters with strange little quirks that make you remember them. If the character traits are used wisely, you can identity which character is doing the talking immediately. That helps a lot when you have lots of characters to keep track of in a story. What often confuses me is the large numbers of characters and with various names such as in Russian novels. We, as writers, must make that more clear so the reader can follow the action with each individual in the book.

I would love to discuss these topics more with those of you doing fiction on a regular basis. Please comment.

Also would appreciate any followers as this new blog needs people to get it started.

 

What is your writing to reading ratio?

Good writers are always well-read writers. In order to excel at writing, a person must read as much as possible. Reading different authors and genres enriches the experience a writer can call upon.

There is probably nothing you can read that does not teach you something new. Everything offers some different information or a different way to look at things. Your reading may open new doors for you and impart knowledge that really excites you. Reading about a new idea can help open your own mind and make your thinking more creative. But how much should you read and how much should you write?

If you’re like me when you read, you disappear from the here and now. You are swept away into a world that exists only on the page. You are engrossed in events, not real, but vital to you while you’re reading. The characters of the book may start to feel like family and you look out for their welfare. You feel emotional about what they are going through and really wish you were there to offer advice or help them in some way. Reading can be all absorbing and the trick is to get away from what you are reading long enough to get some writing done.

I believe most would-be writers and those that have reached the pinnacle also read more than they write. They are addicted to reading and so it may take the place of writing sometimes. This is not a bad way for writers to spend their time if they are learning more about their craft and not just reading for enjoyment.

So do you read twice as much time as you spend writing or do you read ten times more than the time devoted to writing? What is too much and what is too little?

We know to learn to write, writers must produce writing. My question seems to be does reading take away from writing or is it a complimentary activity that enriches your work and enables you to use your mind and think even out of the box. Creative thought can be the germ that becomes an idea that becomes a story that can be written into a completed work and be published. So read, but not all the time. So write, but make time for reading.

What is your take on the subject?

Writers should set goals

In order to be successful in any enterprise, you must monitor progress so you can adjust the way in which your proceed. In school, we are tested after being exposed to certain material to see what we learned, but not so in writing. Your only test comes after you have submitted your work and been rejected. Then, you are sure something went wrong. You realize maybe you need to learn more. It is said that writers learn to write by writing. So it follows that the more you write, the better you should become. It also seems prudent to set yourself some goals.

Since I write for at least 3 online places a week, including this blog, I try to set goals for the amount of articles I write each week. For this blog, I aim for five postings each week. That may change when I get more people and start to receive more comments. Hopefully, others will have ideas about what we could blog about.

Since I am the recent Colorado Springs Rescue Animal Examiner, I try to do between 5 and 7 articles for them every week. I am usually posting photos of dogs that need foster care or adoption so I figure since I am doing that I might as well add some text and do an article. This assignment also features interviews from time to time and reports about events so I need to also figure those sometimes must be timely and that could make my numbers of articles a week go up in some cases.

Helium is another place I write, more for exposure and practice. I usually manage to give them two to five articles a week as well. In the past I wrote for Helium and so there are about 350 articles of mine, total on that website.

I try to set my goals at a minimum of 3 articles or posts a day to reach this goal. I want to take on more so I may need to raise the numbers produced weekly. I have thought about the fact that I really want to write fiction and eventually a novel. That would certainly change my weekly goals as that would be my prime objective and more ambitious project. The responsibility I would impose on myself to finish a certain number of words or pages would change all my goals.

I’d be interested in finding out how other writers set their goals and how strict they are about enforcing those self set goals.

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Writing across genres and types of writing

While the majority of my writing has been non-fiction articles and reporting for weeklies, my heart still wishes to produce fiction. My few attempts at fiction have been rather unremarkable. I am in need of guidance to get started and stimulation to come up with an exciting idea.

Many writers have crossed all the lines when writing and can produce a piece of work that holds its own in any genre or type of writing. I wonder if most new writers stick with what they know or are adventurous enough to try everything. My soul is adventurous but, the practical side constantly reminds me I don’t have the skills for that type of writing. I want them and I wish to expand my writing. Not only do I want to try those things but, I want to blur those lines in fact that keep me from crossing into unchartered territory. I don’t even want to be bound by genres or styles but combine them in ways that may be crazy or at least unorthodox. So how do you shut up that voice that says play it safe and just do what you know?

I guess there is contentment and satisfaction in just keeping the status quo since that offers safety and comfort. How do you find the nerve to stretch and challenge yourself to try what is new and somewhat scary to you?

For those writers and authors who can produce readable copy and fantastic stories of any genre or style without skipping a beat I commend you. That is a frightening prospect to a writer who always wrote the same types of things. Guess I need lots of encouragement.

Do most writers write the types of things they like to read? Do those that love poetry, write poetry? Do who-done-it fans write mysteries? Or can a writer even contain the ideas into such narrow categories? I wonder.

I guess I must just venture out and get my feet wet. Just force myself to move and push forward with ideas. Not worry so much about the quality and just make a start at it. I have constantly heard that no matter what else a writer does to advance his skill, they must write. That may be the perfect answer.

Please leave some helpful comments. They are so appreciated.

Making time to write! How much time is enough?

Since I am just recently getting back to writing after a period away of a couple years, I need to re-acquaint myself with the writing life. I need to decide for myself, how much time I am able to devote to this and where that time will come from each day.

The writing I do at present is just to learn to write better and hopefully to produce an occasional dollar to justify myself .

Although technically retired, my days still involve the need to do some things around the house and for my family. Though my days can be as unstructured as I wish, my goals do include completing certain tasks and engaging in certain writing projects (mostly for online websites and non-fiction articles) at this point in time. But my desire is to actually start to write some fiction. Right now no specific ideas or projects have come to mind. In short, I am having trouble just getting started. I do enjoy those writing prompts on some writing websites, but must confess I have not yet tried them.

I read of writers who seem to be able to produce quite a bit of writing and still have ‘a life.’ Others seem to devote themselves to writing in a way that does not allow them to have a family or social existence and I am not sure if I could do that. Years ago, I devoted a year to writing a non- fiction book which I never got published. It was almost a companion to the business and field my husband and I were working in at that time. I disciplined myself to write no less than 6 days a week and most days probably put in a good six hours. Of course each day also involved lots of editing and rewriting as part of the six hours I spent on that project. Obviously, I am not a writer who can spit out a new novel or additional book of any kind in six or eight months.

I do know from experience that once I get started and I am truly inspired to write, I can produce a great deal in a short time knowing fully well that most may be garbage and take lots of editing and rewriting and ruthlessly cutting out the stuff I am most fond of in that section. I hope this is a good thing and the proper way to proceed as I have less faith in what I do as I get older. I have none of the cockiness that seems to accompany all those young people.

Anyone who reads this blog and can offer advice in the comment section will be greatly appreciated. Some days I think I have something important to say while other days I wonder who ever told me this is a good plan of action for me and that I will eventually produce something of merit. Any suggestions or help is looked forward to because absolutely everyone that writes probably knows more than I do.

So the questions at hand are,  “How much do successful writers write daily? How much of a life do they allow themselves? And how do you get started when you are unsure what you want to write?”

Writers- where do you find your inspiration?

When you write non-fiction, you usually have an assignment or a title to write under. It mainly involves research and your personal take on a topic that many before you have written about. However, when you cross over into the realm of fiction, you need ideas and especially inspiration.

I have heard writers say they were inspired by other writers or authors or specific pieces of literature. I personally know that sometimes when I view artwork or listen to music it seems to open my mind to other ideas that can result in a spark of imagination. So now, all I need is to take that spark and produce something of value from it. Could use some ideas as to how to really write fiction. Today, however, I would love to know where you find your own inspiration. I’m sure there are as many answers as there are writers out there.