Sunday, April 22, 2012

The happy post

Reading some older posts over at Nathan Bransford's blog I came across this one Ten commandments for the happy writer that bears calling attention to.

It's easy for unpublished writers to get discouraged. You join a crit group and somebody rips your work to shreds, others tell you to make these and these changes that would drain the soul from the piece, and on and on. Me, I've been mired in plot problems for several months. That's frustrating and makes me angry as well. I feel I should be able to work this stuff out if I'm going to call myself a serious writer.

image photo : 3d man angry on his laptop - isolated on whiteNathan's post reminds me of a story I read in Writer's Digest magazine a couple decades ago about a woman who had a day job as a secretary and wrote stories every evening. Never able to get published, she gave up writing, threw herself into her day job and earned her boss' praise of "the best damn secretary."

I remember that story because my day jobs have mostly been of the secretarial sort; even a couple decades ago I knew that writing well is usually hard. There but for the powerful voice of my muse go I. It's easy to give up and sometimes it's even understandable. Since I've re-discovered my characters and have decided to seriously pursue publication, I've become happier.

I define myself primarily as a writer. I feel particularly guilty today because I've wasted much of this week playing a computer game instead of writing or plot wrangling. Okay, but what's feeling guilty going to get me? Nada. I have a piece to crit for my local writers' group meeting coming up in a few days and there are a couple of stories I should crit at the online site I'm a member of, Critique Circle.

Nathan's post is a reminder that while we need to stay connected to family and the people who matter to us, writing is what makes me happy. If I'm mopey or angry or resentful, I'm not going to write well. Maybe some people can channel negative emotions into good writing, but I'm sure it makes the process harder than necessary.

I love that I've found a local writers' group that I click with. I love knowing that they understand my writing gripes. It's a big positive in my life that I'm very thankful for. These people are all active writers and as a member, I feel like a Real Writer. Everybody out there who can't finish projects, can't start them, can't seem to plot out stories but pantsing doesn't really work either: look for a local group that accepts you for who you are. It's worth it. When you find that magic connection, you will become happier, and you will write more and eventually better.

image photo : Happy summer sun
I've promised myself that next month I'll have something ready for critting from the short story I'm trying to pull together. To that end, I go to refill the coffee mug and pull out my plotting notes. Let's all get back to writing, shall we? Do you prefer dark roast or french vanilla? Here, I'll set out the mugs, you pull up a chair, and we'll have at it.

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