Sunday, August 2, 2009

Writing is a Form of Personal Freedom

I'm thrilled to have received this wonderful award from the delightful author, Miss Mae!

Here are the rules:

1) Accept the award, and don’t forget to post a link back to the awarding person.
2) Pass the award on.
3) Notify the award winners.

Here are my three (or more) picks:

1. One blog I'm featured at is my all-time favorite: Pop Culture Divas. Being an eternal fan of Pop Culture (books, movies, music, and television), I'm constantly entertained (and often informed of cool new things) by these women.

2. Linda LaRoque. A great author, her blogs feature intriguing glimpses of life and historical facts (which I love!).

3. Celia Yeary. If you love historical snippets, this is a must-read. Like Linda's blog, Celia is a master at sharing historical facts.

(And because I cheated and included a blog I'm on, here's four more):

4. Armchair Heroines. Blog of Author Tiffany James. Great author interviews and slices of life.

5. Paranormal Romantics. Often dishy and not for the faint of heart--this blog does contain an 'adults only' warning.

6. Tamela Quijas. A wonderful author, Tamela opens the doors to her fellow authors, offering enticing book previews.

7. Prairie Chicks Write Romance. Consistently providing fabulous interviews with authors and editors, along with succinct glimpses of the writing life, this blog should be high on everyone's list. Do yourself a favor and become a follower! You'll be glad you did.

And now, for our regularly scheduled blog!

Writing is a Form of Personal Freedom

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." --Groucho Marx

I must confess, I love to write. Although sometimes it is more of a yearning to have already written. *smile* Maybe because, unlike other activities like cooking, there is no clear recipe to follow. Just a gnawing hunger and an insatiable desire for a delicious meal.

During those times of struggle I do feel despair. I worry about plot points. I'm convinced my writing is wooden and stale. Yikes-a-rooni! The temptation to mail out invites to a massive pity-party is overwhelming. As mentioned many times before, those days you'll find me pacing my office, bunching hair in fists while shrieking, "I'm a hack, I'm a hack!"


Yet the truth is, all writers struggle to ride the waves without slamming face-first into the dirt. The energy waxes and wanes. The crest of inspiration is often followed by a period of restless wonder. Where did the muse go?

"Only a mediocre writer is always at his best." --W. Somerset Maugham

Think about that. How true! Writers who pen books of rare beauty or profound insights struggle just like the rest of us. They too worry about whether the book is working. They write each story one page at a time.

"I'd like to speak loftily about my attempts to mold the characters and to reach great heights of wisdom when all I'm trying to do is to tell a story that holds together." –Journal of a Novel, June 27, 1994, Write Away by Elizabeth George.

So, how to deal with the inevitable burnout and wavering confidence that is often a writer's due?

A frothy concoction comprised of equal portions of humor and optimism. *smile*

"It's a damn good story. If you have any comments, write them on the back of a check." --Erle Stanley Gardner

We develop confidence by recognizing that our accomplishments are supreme. Think about this… One week I joked about Reality Shows. Here's one version you'll never see: A group of writers, trapped on an island until one produces a book that wins the approval of the most selective agents around. *grin*

Fear Factor contestants would quake in their boots! A challenge of thirty seconds versus a quest of how many years?

"Writing is the hardest way of earning a living, with the possible exception of wrestling alligators.” –Olin Miller

"Writing books is the closest men ever come to childbearing." --Norman Mailer

So true, so very true…

Ah, but we do have a secret. Despite the struggles, the mind-numbing effort, the endless days and nights of staring hopelessly at the computer screen wondering what the HELL comes next, We Love To Write.

Writing is… magic. We Create Books.

Hot Damn.

"I really enjoy writing novels. It's like the ocean. You can just build a boat and take off." --Denis Johnson

Whatever we desire, we have the power and the ability to create. We can peer into the future or plunge backwards into a turbulent history. Conjure up a slinky cat burgler stalking her lover's nefarious dealings or explore the ramifications of a family in crisis. Writing is an adventure and an opportunity for self-discovery. I love to write!

"Writing is a form of personal freedom. It frees us from the mass identity we see all around us. In the end, writers will write not to be outlaw heroes of some underculture but mainly to save themselves, to survive as individuals." --Don DeLillo

Now, just for fun, here are some rules of writing to keep us all on track.

1. Do not put statements in the negative form.
2. And don't start sentences with a conjunction.
3. If you reread your work, you will find on rereading that a
great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.
4. Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.
5. Unqualified superlatives are the worst of all.
6. De-accession euphemisms.
7. If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
8. Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
9. Last, but not least, avoid clich├ęs like the plague.

~William Safire, "Great Rules of Writing"

Which one is your favorite? I'd also love to hear your method for dealing with burnout. How do you keep yourself inspired during the lulls?

The heat of summer is upon many of us. Now's a good time to seek out an air-conditioned haven and write.

Till next week!

--Chiron O'Keefe

Also featured at Between the Lines and Pop Culture Divas!


Miss Mae said...

Love your nine rules of writing. LOL I do all of them...yep!

And I either love writing, or I'm downright insane.

Don't comment! *wink*

Kathy Holmes said...

I've been meaning to stop by here all day - too busy writing. LOL!

But so true - all writers go through the same hair-pulling angst. And haven't I noticed you don't see a reality show with a bunch of writers - chefs, designers, racers, survivors, singers, dancers, you name it. Writers? No way! Except for the hair-pulling, it's so internal - it would be so boring to watch. :)

Tiffany James said...


Thank you for the "One Lovely Blog" Award! This is a first for Armchair Heroines, and I'm honored. :0) I have to agree with Miss Mae that Write Soul is also "One Lovely Blog"!

How do I avoid burn out or despair or the ever popular pity party? I email a writing friend or colleague for a bit of commiserating! :0) Bless my husband's and friends' hearts, they try to listen and help, but there's nothing like the ear of someone who knows exactly what you're struggling with. In fact, if you're lucky, they've gone through it before and can give you some words of wisdom that are persepective changing.

I'm always recharged after stopping by The Write Soul - thank you!


Linda LaRoque said...

Hi, Chiron. First, thank you for the One Lovely Blog Award. I got it up and posted today.

You know, when my story feels stale, I remember some advice from Lee--become more acquainted with your characters. It doesn't fix everything, but it is a start.

Anonymous said...

I will check out the blogs, especially if you suggest them, Chiron!!


Chiron said...

Hey Miss Mae!

*laughs* Those rules are funny, aren't they. And true. *wink*

Um, could I qualify for Both, loving writing AND insane? *grin*

Thanks for being here!


Chiron said...

Kathy, you're so right about the Reality Show featuring writers. Not to mention, it's one thing to be dramatic and put on a vivid show but being a good writer demands a little more than bravado, eh?

We WORK our butts off in seclusion forever it seems. Hah! So there. *grin*

Thanks for jumping in, Kathy!!


Chiron said...

You're so welcome, Tiffany! I love your blog so much. *grin*

That's pretty much how I revive myself too. My support group of friends and hubby always give me the boost I need. Ironically, writing my essay often gives me hope too. As I search through the quotes I'm constantly amazed at universal these feelings are.

Thanks for coming by, my dear!


Chiron said...

Linda, you're so welcome.

Yup, that advice is timeless. She hit the nail on the head. Or the character. *grin*

I find often when my motivation lags just rereading the last few pages can get me re-engaged too. Sometimes I can't stop thinking of the story even when I lay down to sleep. What I need to do is start dreaming about my books. Now THAT would be cool!

Thanks for stopping by, Linda!!


Chiron said...

Hi Tessy!

Hope you find a new favorite in those blogs. There are some good ones.

So glad to see you here!