Here’s some good advice not just for writers…(also a fun person to follow). Enjoy! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Subject: [New post] There’s no crying in baseball: There is, however, lots of crying in writing . . .
Shall we do this again????
I couldn’t find a re-blog for Kit Frazier. Am going to cut and paste and see what happens….
There’s no crying in baseball: There is, however, lots of crying in writing . . .
SOMEWHERE IN EVERY book I write, I reach a point where there is a lot renting of
fabric and gnashing of teeth and the urge to throw the damn manuscript in the trash and start on a shiny idea. Then I’m reminded of the Tom Hanks line in A League of Their Own: There’s no crying in baseball.
That may be true, but there’s lots of crying in writing.
A while back, I had the privilege of hearing mega-bestseller Sue Grafton speak and it literally changed my life and continues to influence my career.
Since that time, I revisit her advice, and re-examine how I have applied them in my own writing and eventually, to my own life.
Grafton posed five questions that have helped outline, guide and revise my writing career—all the way through those agonizing days before The Call, the tenuous days between The Call and the day my first book hit the shelves, and now, as I assess and reassess my career.
Question One: What do you want? Take a minute or two and write down the things you want most. It can be something like, I want to be a nurse, I want a divorce, I want a new husband, I want a pair of red shoes, I want a million dollars . . .
All of these goals are perfectly respectable, but if you could only pick one item from your master wish list, which would it be?
My “One” was, I want to be a best-selling author.
The question is, how? Grafton’s advice was to take a goal, make the best plan you can think of, and then put it out there to the universe.
I realized that I was going to have to take ownership of that goal. So, with shaking hands and a fluttering batch of butterflies in my belly, I called my agent, and said, “Guess what? I want to be a bestselling author.”
Now this was while my first book, Scoop, was at the publisher in production, and I knew even as I said it that it sounded like a whole mess of ego, but I went on to tell her I knew it was a tall order, and I knew that the odds of getting struck by lightning are better than making the The List, but I also know that you can increase your odds of being struck by lightning if you wrap yourself in tinfoil and stand under a tall tree in the middle of a thunderstorm telling whoppers.
My agent listened patiently as I tried not to hyperventilate as I told her my plan. I rambled on until I ran out of steam and then I sat back and said, “So. What do I do now? How do we make this happen?”
There was a long silence, and she finally said, “Well, nobody really knows. The first step is writing really good books, and you’ve done that. Let’s get your editor on the line and you tell her what you just told me.”
I don’t know what I expected from my agent, but I was stunned at her reaction. When I started the conversation, I thought she was going to laugh hysterically and issue me a one-way ticket to the looney bin. Instead, she took me seriously, and she and my editor and I had a teleconference and bounced around ideas, and guess what–They sent me to Book Expo for my very first book signing, and guess who I signed next to? Newt Gingrich *yikes*
So, you have to put it out there. Take risks. What’s the worst that could happen? They could think you’re crazy, but come on you’re a writer. Crazy’s built into the job description.
Question Two: Where are you in this journey?
Many of us in RWA are already several steps ahead on the journey, because the group provides a good map and support on the road to writing good books. When I first decided to switch from screen writing to novel format, I had to choose what I wanted to write. I had just joined RWA, and I sought out the advice of published authors in our group, and while I already read voraciously, I changed my reading habits.
I went back to the books I loved the most, romance, mystery, popular fiction, even some on Oprah’s list, and I read them like an editor rather than like a reader. I littered the books with Post It’s, figuring out how they worked, where character shined, where plots turned and why, paying particular attention to the Big Black Moment and the resolution.
Though I’d been a journalist through most of my adult life, I realized that fiction is a whole different world, and writing fiction is largely a lifelong apprenticeship. Learn from the masters, and every day, try to learn more.
Question Three: What do you need for this journey?
If you’ve decided to write, you’ve got some work to do. Aside from reading and learning, you need to write. And I’ve tried every way to Sunday to find a way that doesn’t involve writing every day. But, there it is. All of the best selling authors I know or have learned from write every day.
You need a place to write. When I wrote my first book I didn’t have a space in the house, so I wrote most of the novel on the back porch. I kept—and still keep—a note pad by the bed in case I’m stricken with brilliance while I sleep.
You also need the cooperation of family and friends. Offer your family something they want.
Question Four: How are you going to get there? Are you taking classes, reading up on your interest, talking to folks who are already taking on this task? Have you joined a group of like-minded folks?
Question Five: What’s holding you back? The answer to this one varies–what do you tell yourself? I don’t have time, I don’t have money, I’m afraid my friends, family and co-workers will think I’ve finally gone around the bend . . . but here’s a secret. People don’t care what you want to do. They’re too worried about their own lives to be bothered with yours. So if someone is holding you back, it’s probably you.
Life is too short to be miserable. Find what you love, and do it.
As an aside, I’m writing and publishing my books. I got my red shoes. I made two bestseller lists. I’ll keep you posted on the million dollars . . .