Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Was Giving Up Ever an Option?
I started writing two years ago. I was watching Julie & Julia, wishing I had the urge to cook something for dinner. I didn’t. We ordered take-out and watched Julie feverishly cook her heart out. It was her tenacity that had me intrigued. She worked at a dead-end job and she knew she wanted something more. Rather than drowning with everyone she jumped.
I took another bite of chicken fried rice and really thought about what I wanted. Her determination gave me motivation to kick my unhappiness out the door. That evening I started a blog. I was going to write every day about my life and what my plans were.
It took me less than two minutes to get frustrated. I wanted to be a writer and yet I couldn’t even think of a blog name? My husband looked at me and said “Why don’t you title it Unedited? After all, it’s all a work in progress.” My husband shaved off my unhappy mood and opened up a window of opportunity.
For months I blogged and wrote. I wrote a ton of crap, thousands of words that brought me happiness. I hadn’t finished a novel but the fact that I was writing meant something to me, more than anything had ever meant.
Characters started talking to me. Writers embraced me. I had only shared the journey with my husband. It was still fresh, just a hobby. What would it take to get me to break out of the barrier I created? When would I call myself a writer?
I read On Writing by Stephen King, the book that changed it all. He gave me the option to call myself a writer. It was when YOU felt it. When YOU accomplished what a writer would.
I needed to write a novel.
It was then I opened up my word document and pantsed my way through my very first (horrible) manuscript. I cried when it was completed. It was that emotional. It was then that I told everyone I was a writer. I was naïve. I thought for sure it would land me an agent and I’d be the next Stephenie Meyer.
It’s all a learning process. Each stage has its ups and downs and every writer knows that patience and perseverance is involved if you want to succeed.
They say NEVER GIVE UP. They don’t say it because they finally made it. They say it because it’s true. You’re supposed to embrace every emotion (the good and the bad).
Ask yourself… as a writer, could you stop writing right now? Could you imagine your life without the characters, without the several notebooks gracing your coffee table filled with your words?
You couldn’t. So was giving up ever an option? Hasn’t it improved your life?
No, I’m not referring to the pile of laundry sitting in the corner, the kids eating frozen pizza for the third straight day in a row, or the cats meowing for attention. Those things do fall to the wayside but the love you feel for writing is more than just a job. It’s a lifestyle.
So are you a writer? Have you made that commitment to yourself? Do you need help jumping on the motivation train?
Here are some tips:
Start a journal – write what you feel. How was your day? Who did you pass? Even the most unsuspecting person can be interesting. When picking up your coffee did you notice anyone in particular? The more you notice your surroundings the more you can relate to your future characters.
Be creative – Are you one who follows a daily routine? If you want to embrace your inner writer do something that makes you think outside the box. I love museums but never go to them. When I make a point to visit them new feelings erupt. New emotions take place. I feel something that might be useful in the future.
Read – Don’t know what genre you want to write in yet? Who cares! Pick up a book. Read the novel and think about why you like the characters. Is it because they relate to you? Because you wish you could stand up to someone? Wish you felt that kind of love. Make notes on why you like those characters. They’ll become useful later.
Write – Prompts are great. They teach you to think for yourself. Create your voice.
Go on. Start to write. Learn the process. Embrace every moment, the good and the bad. After all, giving up was never an option.
Jen Daiker writes humorous women’s fiction, where cupcakes and cocktails are always on the menu. She’s spends way too much time on Twitter and can be found on her blog Unedited.