Monday, April 5, 2010

Let's 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, those tedious hours staring at the screen striving to somehow bring this seed of a story to life. And that's just the first draft! The inevitable process of revising also requires boatloads of patience as the hours, the days, the weeks speed by. 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. 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! 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 months, 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. This is what being a writer is all about. We set goals with the intention of keeping them. We establish our finish line and push ourselves to cross 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

Let's Spring Into Action! Here's to another awesome week bursting with potential!

--Chiron O'Keefe
Also featured at Pop Culture Divas


Anonymous said...

I've been spending so much time focused on improving the prose and the story of this particular MS that I can no longer see its brightness - lol! The voice in my head says, "If you stop trying to be somebody you're not, you'd be happier."

But another voice says, "You must write or go crazy." Okay, so I must write, but will I ever be commercial? Maybe it's time to move on to the next MS.

Having one of those days so had to pop in here for my weekly dose of inspiration.

Thanks, Chiron!

Chiron said...

Hey Kathy!

I did find that I lost connection with my WIP after spending too much time with it. Sometimes it's vital to step away and work on something else.

What writers like you and I have to keep in mind is that it's the market that determines what is commercial. Were vampire stories commercial before Sherrilyn Kenyon? Except for Interview with a Vampire, absolutely not.

It only takes one editor to love a 'non-commercial' story to change the tide. When the book sells and becomes a hit, suddenly it's considered 'commercial'. Hah!!

But as your voice says, "We must write or go crazy." Well, then, it behooves us to write what we damn well want to. Otherwise our joyous path becomes onerous.

Keep chugging away up that hill, my dear!! "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!" *grin*


Linda LaRoque said...

Enjoyed this, Chiron. The Butt-glue isn't the problem for me, it's avoiding the distractions and staying focused.

Chiron said...

I hear that, Linda! I'm getting better but it's still a challenge to ignore everything and keep moving forward.

Wishing you a distraction-free week!

Thanks so much for stopping by!


Judy Croome said...

As always, fantastic quotes and a greatly inspiring article!

Thanks for the stirring words, Chiron.

Judy Croome

Chiron said...

Hello Judy!

Thanks so very much for your kind words! I do appreciate you stopping by. Have a fabulous week!