Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Writing - Love it or Hate It

For February, this month of celebrating love in our personal and professional lives, I am taking a look at how love enters into my writing. Many writers I know have a love/hate relationship with this wacky world of writing, as do I. We love the process of writing when those great surges of creative urges give us words faster than our keyboards can keep up. We love it when we finish a scene and can smile and say, "Damn! That was a fun ride."

We love getting positive feedback.  And we love the satisfaction of coming to The End of a story with that great sense of accomplishment.
Photo courtesy of LovingToLearn.com 
On the other side of the coin, we hate marketing - at least some of us do. We hate feeling like we are butting our heads against a brick wall when it comes to submitting an article or a story or a book for publication. We hate the things that are out of our control, like the algorithms on Amazon that determine the standings of our books. We hate the fact that Amazon controls so much of the online retail market. We hate that reviews disappear from Amazon for no reason that we can fathom, and no notification. We hate that the retail market has shrunk so much that we have to rely on Amazon for any sales at all.

For me to continue writing, I have to put those "hate" things aside and concentrate on what I love most, especially the kind words and encouragement from others.

Recently I received this in a note from a friend about my short story collection, The Wisdom of Ages. "Thank you again for gifting me this wonderful and special book. When I started to read the first story I was reminded how talented and gifted you are. The stories themselves were great but the way you wrote about each one created such emotions for me. At the end of "Maybe Someday" I actually got a big case of goose bumps. Now that’s a great story. At the end of  "The Last Supper" I had tears in my eyes."

That note will keep me smiling for a long time.

Another bright light in this crazy business is getting a rejection that doesn't cut  us to the bone. That may only happen to a writer once or twice in a lifetime, and I was lucky to experience that not too long ago.

I was talking to an editor who had to turn down an idea I have for a book, but he was so nice about it, it was hard for me to remember he was saying no. That was such a pleasant change from the rejections that would send me reeling…

“How dare they not LOVE my book?”

“My life is ruined.”

“It’s a conspiracy. I know it is.”

Sounds a little paranoid, I know, but for a long time the only thing I had to attest to my credibility as a writer was my basic insecurity. Writers are insecure for a lot of reasons. Some of us were born that way, but for others it's accumulated over the years like a fringe un-benefit.

Before the Internet, we writers tended to work in a professional vacuum- no office mates with whom to share our latest disappointment or get some direct feedback on the day-to-day accomplishments of our job. For years there was nobody here to pat me on the back except my cat, and he’d rather sleep in front of my monitor than offer me any kind words.

Now we have blogs like this one to offer advice and inspiration. On Twitter there are virtual writing and blogging communities like @bloggertribe  for mutual support and help in building an audience. On Twitter, if you use the hashtag #amwriting or #writingcommunity, you can find other writers from whom you can get daily feedback on how your writing is going, or not going, whatever the case might be.

We all know that we write because we think we have something to say, hopefully, something important and meaningful. Even when we get discouraged, we all seem to still be drawn to the keyboard - if the cat will ever move - to impart some words of wisdom or a bit of finely crafted prose. To work on that novel that is burning inside us. To spend a little time with characters who have become like family to us. To satisfy that urge to paint pictures with words.

But if that was all there was to it, we wouldn't care if our words ever saw print; and I have yet to meet a writer who didn’t care. It's good to want to say all those nice things, but the whole process would undeniably be meaningless if no one was ever going to read what we write.

So we put it out there. Do due diligence in the marketing, and hope that at the very least our monthly royalty will buy us a decent dinner out. The added bonus comes when someone reads the work and thinks it's good. Or better yet; great, wonderful, fantastic, and terrific. Like my friend who sent me that note.

By the way, the greatest gifts you can give your writer friends is to send them a note telling them how much you liked their book, as well as posting reviews of their books on Amazon and Goodreads. Have you given your favorite author any love recently?

Maryann Miller - novelist, editor and sometimes actress. She won her first writing award at age twelve with a short story in the Detroit News Scholastic Writing Awards Contest and continues to garner recognition for her short stories, books, and screenplays. You can find out more about Maryann, her books, and her editing services on her Website and her Amazon Author Pageread her Blogand follow her on Facebook and TwitterHer online workshop on self-editing, part of a series of online writing workshops from Short&Helpful, can be found HERE

8 comments :

  1. This article is loaded with so much that unites us as writers despite the other side of the coin, which we'd really rather not deal with. Thank you for the reminder that we no longer are alone in our writing endeavors. Sometimes I forget the worldwide connections we have on the Internet -- a gift and a tool authors in the past never had. Because of this connection, I have met and continue to treasure writer friends who would otherwise never have crossed my path. Great post, Maryann.

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    1. So glad you liked the message in my post, Linda, and you are one of those supportive writer friends I treasure.

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  2. I'm one of those authors who hates the marketing part of writing. I do it anyway, but have cut way back on the personal appearances, relying more and more on online opportunities, submissions to awards and contests, and word of mouth. I'm just getting to creaky to hit the road. :D

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  3. I'm with you on creaky, Pat. It is harder for me to get to events than it used to be. I'm so glad there are so many online opportunities to be "out there."

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  4. There's a terrific article at Writer Unboxed by Kathryn Craft, who used to be a contributor here at BRP, about learning to love the process of preparing a submission package. Writing a query letter and synopsis is also among a writer's least favorite things to do. Kathryn's advice on learning to love the process works for marketing as well. Worth a read folks. https://writerunboxed.com/2019/02/14/your-storys-valentine-to-the-world/

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  5. I agree with everything you said. My last post on this blog said much the same thing, though maybe a little bit more pessimistic. The "hate" I'm experiencing now is not knowing exactly the next step in my story. I'll find it though. Happy February, Maryann.

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  6. Oh, and I just bought The Wisdom of Ages. Look forward to reading it.

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The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.