Sunday, March 23, 2008

Spring into Action!

"The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn." —Ralph Waldo Emerson

The power inherent within a single idea is breathtaking. Every life-changing invention, every rousing song, every exquisite work of art and every heartfelt book began with a single idea.

Yet the work involved to pushing that idea to fruition is daunting. We're starting with a barren field! The dirt must be overturned, then sifted through for weeds and rocks. Fertilizer must be applied. Seeds planted then watered. More weeding. Some judicious pruning. Yikes! How long until we bask in the glory of our blossoming tree?

The process can be so overwhelming, many a writer is tempted to give up. Even the best idea might not seem worth the struggle, the tedious hours staring at the screen striving to somehow bring this seed of a story to life. And that's just the first draft! As my good friend Tessy has pointed out, the inevitable process of revising also requires patience. And time. Then even MORE time. Why not just move on?

"Throwing away ideas too soon is like opening a package of flower seeds and then throwing them away because they're not pretty."
— Arthur VanGundy, Ph.D. (Idea Power, 1992)

Because You Are A Writer. If you're looking for an easy career, keep looking. *smile* Trust me, this isn't it. Being a writer requires patience, more effort than seems possible, an eye that is never discerning enough (*sigh*) and a determination that keeps you chug-chug-chugging along like a certain little train from one of the first books most children ever read.

"I don't know much about creative writing programs. But they're not telling the truth if they don't teach, one, that writing is hard work, and, two, that you have to give up a great deal of life, your personal life, to be a writer." --Doris Lessing

Being a writer means sacrifice. It means carving out fifteen minutes of your day when you only have ten. And more: tossing off the covers while the sun is still snoozing or crawling into bed when the rest of the family is already snoring away. Turning down an invitation to lunch because your current manuscript must be edited. Ignoring emails and avoiding computer solitaire! *grin* While there will be those moments when you absolutely need to step away from the computer or set down the legal pad and actually partake of life outside of your story, the key to success is to Spring Into Action. Take charge of your life AND your writing and do whatever it takes.

"The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair." - Mary Heaton Vorse

As one of the writers in our group called it: Butt-Glue. Adhere posterior to aforementioned office chair posthaste and get thee to writing! (And do forgive my complete lack of historical eloquence. *heh-heh*)

In past weeks, we've embraced our desire to spark the flame of inspiration and to embrace our playful nature. This week, let's remember the reality of being a successful writer: the absolute need to stay focused and get our stories written. To return to our manuscripts again and again, polishing until the prose gleams. Which is The Purpose of the Challenge Forum at RWAOnline. We set goals with the intention of keeping them. We establish our finish line and PUSH ourselves to reach it. We know that to establish a career in writing means doing the work.

"Writing is the hardest work in the world. I have been a bricklayer and a truck driver, and I tell you -- as if you haven't been told a million times already -- that writing is harder. Lonelier. And nobler and more enriching." - Harlan Ellison

This next quote is a heady reminder to me…

"The only difference between a writer and someone who wants to be a writer is discipline." --Ayelet Waldman

We need to apply that Butt-Glue, Do the Work, and Take Action to make our dreams (and our books) come alive.


"The greatest masterpieces were once only pigments on a palette." --Henry S. Hoskins


Anonymous said...


I'm not sure if this is inspirational or not. I've just started on my second cup of coffee, trying to get myself in gear to take the car to the dealership to get a new timing belt put on it, and I'm hard to inspire this morning. I know it's a long sentence. lol It just reminds me I'm running around instead of writing today, which is totally depressing. Smile

I totally agree with Harlan Ellison and the other quotes.


Anonymous said...

Hi Sandy,

It's always a challenge when our busy schedules prevent us from doing what we love and NEED to do.

Just like with your car, it feels like our "timing" needs be adjusted. *rueful grin* When that happens, I find the best thing is to not resist or sweat it. The energy will shift and you'll be back on track again. Hang in there...


lainey bancroft said...

All very nice--and true--quotes, Chiron.

Like the Butt-Glue. On one writer forum they used the term 'bicfok'. I like it because it sounds like a naughty word =)

(stands for: Butt in Chair, Fingers On Keyboard)

Chiron O'Keefe said...

Hey Lainey!

*snort* Okay, that's a keeper. Naughty is good!

Still chuckling,

Ryshia Kennie said...

Thanks Chiron - Excellent post and a good reminder that all the hard work we occasionally/often whine about is well worth it and necessary. I'm going to send my critique group on over to have a read.

Chiron O'Keefe said...

Hey there Ryshia,

Thanks so much! Here's to embracing both the ecstasy and the effort of being a writer... *smile*