Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Zette's Take: Why this series

From For Blog

Little things can help

Over the next few weeks, I'm going to be putting up posts tagged as 'Zette's Take' which are going to be writing-related. I have 18 of them planned out so far, and I will likely add more as I go along. I hope you enjoy them.

Originally, I was going to do these in a new blog, but I feared there might be long stretches between posts of this nature. Besides, this blog also covers my actual writing (and sometimes real life). Discussing how I work and what I am working on plainly goes hand-in-hand.

Writers on the Internet are constantly inundated with material about how to write. Blogs, twitter feeds, Face Book and websites are shoved at us at every turn. Do this, do that, stay away from here . . .

It's all personal opinion. That's the first thing you have to realize when you read any sort of blog, etc. That includes this one. This is my opinion on how to work and what might -- and I stress might -- help you with your work. You are not me. And even though I can see how other authors work (or don't work) sometimes, that doesn't mean I can also see all the answers. Writing is a personal journey. You should do all in your power to make it easy and fun.

Yes, fun. Writing is hard work, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy it, too. Of course, if you are of the opinion that nothing is worthwhile unless you suffer for it, then plainly the way I write and what I offer is not going to work for you. I, however, think that angst is better in the story (in moderation) than in real life. If you are going to hate your work, you might as well be working at something that deserves the hate, and actually making better money than you are likely to get in this profession.

There is enough in life to be annoyed and worked up over without making writing miserable as well. And yes, that really is my opinion.

People ask how I work

People see that I write over a million words a year (yes, really, for several years now) and ask me how I do it. Most assume it comes from having more free time than they do. That's partially true, but sometimes only in the sense that I make more free time. My other interests are limited. I don't watch any regular TV and only occasionally watch stuff on DVD. I do read quite a bit, of course.
I have a couple steady freelance jobs, plus running FM and publishing Vision every few months. This puts more of a limit on my writing than some people realize. Just the same, I do have time and I don't waste it.

How to 'not waste it' is part of what this series is about. The bits and pieces I will drop in here help me focus and move ahead with projects. Sometimes I'll talk about research, sometimes about attitude and now and then even about writing itself.

When I sit down to write, that's what I do. I don't pretend to write, I don't play games with online stuff, and I don't let myself get sidetracked by bright shiny new stuff. I write. I finish what I start. Just writing a million words doesn't mean anything, you know. It's the fact that I finish projects that really counts.

More than a decade working with writers

I've spent more than a decade at Forward Motion and Vision, and during that time I've talked to and worked with hundreds (probably well more than a thousand) writers on a personal level, besides seeing what questions people post on the site or discuss in chat.

This gives me a little more of an understanding of some of the things that seem to trouble writers. Openings, for instance, which are obvious. Middles. Character creation. Goals.

The biggest problem I see? Actually sitting down and writing.

But again, you have to remember these will be my 'takes' on how to do things and what I do will not work for you. Not only that, even the pieces you find which do help you will not work with every book.

Everything you see helps build your own path

Everything you learn, whether you see a use for it or not, helps you become a better writer. Does that sound odd? If you find something which doesn't work for you, you are still defining what does work. Never dismiss anything out of hand, though. File the idea away in your writer-brain and let it simmer there and see if something doesn't pop up from it, or if it doesn't come in handy at some odd point in the future.

This is going to be an eclectic set of posts. They will not be posted at any regular date and time because I am going to fit them in around a lot of other work. I have several subjects in mind already, from chapters to sticking to goals. I'll sometimes wander off course. Occasionally, I might even make some sort of sense to you.

The trick to learning anything is to be willing to learn. You must be willing to look beyond what you do now, whether what you do seems to work for you or not. Why would you do such a thing? Because if you don't open yourself up to change, chances are you are going to start writing exactly the same type of story over and over again.

Be adaptable. Be open to change and learning things. You'll write better for it. I hope you find things in the posts to help you along the way.

And feel free to comment!

1 comment:

K.D. said...

This is really good advice. It's way too easy to get bogged down in how-to's (trust me) lol