Tag: inspiration

Oct 20

The More I Write…

goofy runner

This is how I would look if I tried to run.

…the more I want to write! That’s not a unique observation, but it’s definitely a new experience in my writing life.

I’ve heard that when people first start a training regimen, running can be painful and a drudgery, but eventually they experience a “runner’s high.” Supposedly, they then start running because they like it! I personally cannot imagine looking forward to running (physical activity is not, let’s say, my favorite), but it must exist because I’ve seen it happen to people I know.

When I first started writing full time, I missed all the social interaction I’d gotten in my day job. I had planned to schedule all my social activities for three mornings a week, leaving the rest of the days for writing. For this extrovert, that was hard to do. The writing-only days felt long, and I tended to get drowsy mid-afternoon. Plus, when I was stuck on my story, the brainstorming, mind-mapping, and figuring out what to write felt like a waste of time that wasn’t going anywhere.

But a funny thing happened this week. After I had something scheduled almost every morning last week, I was glad I hadn’t scheduled this week as full. I couldn’t wait to start writing each day. Instead of feeling bad about “having to” turn down social engagements so that I could keep to my writing schedule, I’m jealously guarding the time I have to write. Apparently I’ve found the “writer’s high.” (Now if only it would help me lose weight and get into shape like running does…)

A big caveat: I’m sure that the high comes and goes. Having a good outline for the story definitely helps me power through right now. But when busy weeks inevitably come up, knowing how the “writer’s high” feels will help me get back here.

Sep 08

What is a writer?

“A writer is someone who wrote something today, and today I qualify.” — JA Jance

(at the 2015 PNWA Conference)

Aug 13

Making Connections (PNWA 2015 session round-up)

Robert Dugoni, a best-selling author who got his start at PNWA, continues to support the PNWA and its writers. On Thursday afternoon he gave the pre-dinner session. In it, he talked about his personal journey from a family of “compulsive overachievers” through law to being an author. People told him that it took a lot of courage for him to leave his law practice to pursue writing, but, he said, it was really fear of never achieving his dreams that drove him to do it. 🙂

So when he set out to become an author, Robert talked with a friend whose father had left traditional work to become a world-famous photographer. The father gave him two pieces of advice:

  1. Follow your dreams and the money will come. (Follow the money and you’ll lose your dreams.)
  2. Immerse yourself in the community of artists. (Surround yourself with many and many will be available to you.)

In other words, don’t think you’re “not a writer” just because you’re not published. A writer is one who writes, and every published author was first a writer.

The first connection every writer needs is to better understand himself. You need to understand the best story you’ll write (what you’ll write honestly and with passion). He challenged us to find a quote that defines our writing dream and post it somewhere to motivate us.

The second connection you need is the people around you. Not just your fellow authors (future J.K. Rowlings among them), but everyone you meet. Become an observer of people so that your books feel more real and interesting.

Remember that all you control is the writing. Have patience, perseverance, persistence, perspective, and passion while you try to get published, but never give up the writing. (Praying doesn’t hurt, either, if you want another P-word. 😉 )

Finally, he said his idea was so cheesy that his kids told him not to do it, but he wanted to do it anyway. He made us all stand up. (Much shuffling of papers and closing of laptops ensued.) Then he recited a writer’s version of Aragorn’s famous speech [I found it for you below], ending with “Today we write!”

Jul 31

Turn Your Dream Into Reality (PNWA 2015 session round-up)

(Second in a series of posts with the highlights of what I learned from the 2015 PNWA conference.)

I expected this session, with Bill Kenower and Ingrid Ricks, to be a step-by-step plan or something prosaic like that. Instead, it was part inspirational memoir, part motivational speech… but not necessarily less practical for all that.

Ingrid shared the story of how she always meant to write her memoir but felt it was irresponsible to give up a high-paying job (that she didn’t really like) to pursue something that might or might not make money. Then one day, her daughters did an imitation of her as an old woman, still saying, “My book! My book!” She realized that although she thought she was doing the right thing for her family by providing money, she was unintentionally teaching her daughters that money was more important than following your dreams.

Bill shared how he quit his long-time, and thus somewhat lucrative, job at a restaurant to pursue being an inspirational speaker. Though he felt totally unprepared for his first speaking gig, he realized as he was doing it that he was just telling stories for them – something he’d been doing his whole life!

I know that I often fall into the trap of believing that my obstacles are physical: time, creativity, knowledge, experience. This session showed me that some of my biggest problems might be mental. Do I really, truly, honestly, down in my soul believe that it’s possible for me to achieve my dream? (In my case, getting a book published.) Your actions reveal what you believe, and my actions were saying “No, I don’t.” Ingrid said she made a list of all the reasons she should and could write her book, then made herself work on the book religiously.

They challenged the authors in the room to create a writing environment you love. Make it so that you look forward to writing. When negative thoughts distract you, recognize that they’re there but decide you’re not going to listen to them. Give yourself permission. Take the leap of faith. Just do it.

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