Sunday, April 18, 2010

Trust In Your Dream and Brook No Objection

"Why do writers write? Because it isn't there."Thomas Berger

I'm reminded of an old joke: Why did the author write her book? To get to the other side. *grin*

Of all the reasons we could have to write, the best and perhaps most authentic motivation must be an obsession with seeing 'what happens next.'

"The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing."Albert Einstein

A fellow author once shared her dismay regarding a former boss who had chided her for writing fiction. After all, fiction isn't real (so he said) and therefore, apparently, not as worthy as non-fiction. Excuse me while I snort in derision and roll my eyes.

"To know is nothing at all; to imagine is everything."Anatole France

Imagination is what fuels progress. The greatest inventions, the most daring quests, and all of humanity's progress started within a tiny spark of imagination. Obviously, the world's panoramic vista of art began within the fervent dream of a artist yearning to create. However the practical aspects of our daily lives—from the light bulb to the lap top—exist due to someone's fertile imagination.

All artists face two equally daunting roadblocks at one point or another. First, there is pressure from the outside world. People may turn a cold shoulder or worse yet sneer at our dream. When I first decided to write a book, I penned a lovely romance between a hometown girl and the city boy who was her first love. This being my first venture, I naturally had qualms about my prose. At the time my journey had yet to sweep me into the world I now occupy—one that is chock-full of writers who share my dream and support my quest. So, naturally I turned to a good friend I held in deep regard to read my fledging attempt and offer a critical eye. She seemed flattered and agreed. I then added that it would be most helpful if she read a couple of books in a similar vein so as to have a clear view of what I was aiming for. Her response shocked the hell out of me.

She shuddered.

Honest to Goddess, I couldn't believe it. Truth be told, I never quite looked at her the same way again.

Judgment by others is inevitable in every path you take. An author must stay strong and embrace her dream, whether she writes inspirational or erotica, suspense or satire, mysteries or thrillers. Trust in Your Dream and brook no objection.

"Nothing is as real as a dream. The world can change around you, but your dream will not. Responsibilities need not erase it. Duties need not obscure it. Because the dream is within you, no one can take it away."Tom Clancy

The other obstacle we must surpass comes from the pressure we put on ourselves. Fear, self-judgment, lack of motivation all may strike at one time or another. That is when we must rekindle our curiosity. Stir those embers and spark a yearning to 'get to the other side'. We mustn't wait for the lightning strike of inspiration to carve those letters for us nor hope others will encourage us along. There will be days when the fever of inspiration does lift our spirits and definitely times when our fellow authors will boost our spirits and lighten our hearts. However, we can't wait for the weather to be perfect or all conditions to be met. We must be determined to carry on. We must be self-motivated.

"Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek." –Barack Obama

Now as I'm writing this the thought pops in my head, "Well, that's all well and good for you to say, but what if I don't know what comes next? What then, Ms. Smarty Pants?"

In one of my novels, my 'wanna be leading lady' faced her own moment of freezing panic by thinking, Come on, are you a leading lady or what? So the question becomes a gauntlet tossed down by the very characters we create. This conflict, this fear, this obstacle that must be faced stirs up emotion, right? Excellent (she says, rubbing her hands together), WRITE IT DOWN. Keep writing through your funk, keep writing through your fear, because your heroes and heroines are tackling their own conflicts and Each And Every Conflict You Confront Will Be Reflected In Your Characters.

"My heroes are the ones who survived doing it wrong, who made mistakes, but recovered from them."Bono

This is where imagination wrestles with knowledge and wins hands down. You have no idea how the character will surmount her difficulties any more than you know how YOU will overcome your own dang obstacles.

The author stared at the page, wondering if she had it in her to write even one more sentence. The buzz of the lawnmower outside was a tangible reminder of the gorgeous Spring day and the errands waiting to be done. Which was greater, her fear the essay would really and truly suck this time or the burning desire to avoid continuing no matter what the cost?

*grin* Lack of motivation or fear? Tough call. Hmmm… Guess there's only one solution—Keep WRITING!

"Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it's the only way you can do anything really good."William Faulkner

The friend I mentioned earlier also dismissed the very notion of this blog. Apparently in her lofty view, blogs were right up there with romances. At least over the phone I didn't have to see her shudder this time. Now, here I am coming up on several years—and yes, wondering if I have it in me to pen yet another essay. Hoping to inspire and motivate others and myself to keep pushing forward, to keep writing, to keep reaching for that dream.

"Staying on your own path means that you are on the right track. Don't let anyone deter you from that."Eartha Kitt

"Your regrets aren't what you did, but what you didn't do. So I take every opportunity."Cameron Diaz

Here's the wisdom I've garnered in my years of writing.

• You need a dream, to have a Dream Come True.

• Dreams Come True through persistence, patience and passion.

Persist by choosing to write whenever you can, no matter what others say or what the outside world demands.

• Be patient as every dream needs continual effort and a certain amount of time. No one knows when or how success will come to you, but if you keep moving forward, you will succeed.

• Passion is The Flame Within and the flame needs fuel! Seek motivation from other writers, classes or motivational essays. But remember this—True Passion Springs From The Desire To Know WHAT HAPPENS NEXT.

Why did the author write her book? To get to the other side. *wink*

"When writing a novel, that's pretty much entirely what life turns into: 'House burned down. Car stolen. Cat exploded. Did 1500 easy words, so all in all it was a pretty good day.' "Neil Gaiman

Now, I'm curious. What wisdom have you garnered over the years? If you met an aspiring author today, what would you advise?

Ready to get writing? Let's hit the keys!

Chiron O'Keefe

Also featured at Pop Culture Divas! Check out this month's post featuring Fab Videos with current bands performing their favorite Beatle Tunes! Find it here at Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Fans.


Here's Who I am said...

Another winning motivation piece for aspiring writers like me.
Thank you, Chiron!

But when can an aspiring writer call himself a writer? A writer who's still struggling to get her prose published and at the same time learning the ropes of writing,can he blatantly and confidently call himself a writer without qualms?

Some unpublished writers have this struggle of whether it is right or too presumptious to call themselves a writer without published written work. Do we wait for our manuscript to get published before we can look someone in the eye and confidently say- yes, I'm a writer.

Tell me what you think as sometimes, this bothers me too. :)

Don't stop inspiring us. We need your magic touch. :)

Joy Filipovic said...

Oh Chiron, the comment above belongs to me- Joy. :)
Sorry, for some reasons my blog page got this "Here's Who I am" portion. I'll deal with this in a few. But just to let you know that it was me- Joy Filipovic who commented on your post. xoxo

Chiron said...

Hello Joy!

That is the eternal question that pops up for writers who have yet to be published. My opinion is that writing is the same as any other art. If I paint on a canvas just for fun, I wouldn't call myself an artist. However, if I apply myself diligently to producing a number of paintings with the intention of someday having a showing at a gallery, then you bet I will call myself an artist.

The real distinction is between being 'professional' (usually distinguished by pay) and 'amateur'. So an actor who has no aspirations to become professional, may simply focus on community theater and such. But she is still an actor!

The determination is based on a level of commitment to an end goal. However, if a person chooses to write short stories without any intention of seeking publication, she's still a writer!

At this stage, you can confidently say, "I'm a writer who is seeking publication." The definition lies in the intention. I don't get paid yet for the essays posted here, but I take them as seriously as if it were a paid weekly column in a paper. When I worked for Electronic Arts, I wrote a newsletter for The Sims Online, and I did get paid, yet those articles (while great fun) were not, in my opinion, as important or as related to my career as a writer.

Being a 'writer' means only that you are committed to your writing, whether you are published or not. It means you have the intention to deliberately write, either stories or articles or essays or commentary.

You can be a writer who submits movie critiques to your local paper who might not be able to afford anything but free passes to the theater.

You can be the writer who pens the church's monthly newsletter, or who writes up copy for newscast. The newsletter writer might say, "Yes, I'm a writer but I prefer to just focus on the newsletter, I have no aspirations to be published." The newscast writer might say, "Yes, I get paid for writing up the copy for the newscast but my real aspiration is to get my novel published."

Hope this helps, Joy! And thanks so much for you kind words about the essays. I really appreciate it!


Ishwara said...

Thank you Chiron for another fiery essay filled earthly wisdom to help all aspiring writers soar into the ethereal realm of imagination, anchor there, and continuously give birth...and the writer passionately, fervently, writes....

Love you Sis! :-)

Chiron said...

Thanks, Ish! Love you too!

Celia Yeary said...

CHIRON--Excellent, as always. I'm in that doubting period even more so than ever. I can't seem to finish anything. I write about 30,000 words, and I can't make the plot go forward, so I begin something else. It's maddening,not like my usual writing methods, almost like something has taken hold of my brain. I feel stifled much of the time, too.

But yes, creating something, anything is the way of mankind. that's how we're made, to imagine things--else we'd still be back in the cave.

And that reminds me of a cartoon.
A cave woman sits on a rock inside her home cave with her friend next to her. The cave woman's husband is drawing on the cave wall. Every inch of the cave walls and ceiling is covered in drawings. The woman says to her friend: "Every time he finishes a novel, we have to move."

Are you laughing? I loved that. Celia