Encouragement, Writing

When You Need a Kick in the Writing Butt

Kick in the Butt by Tiana 101 Meme Center

Half of August is gone and September is rolling into view.

A lot of stressful events occurred in the last few weeks (life between the sheets of paper) but they aren’t my stories to tell right now. They belong to my family but I can share some of my own more positive days.

I’m deep in the middle of a UCLA online writing class and to be blunt, it’s kicking my butt.

Sometimes we need a boot in the behind. And not to sound like a masochist, but it’s a good thing. The class contains a lot of great short stories to read, discussion with other students, and here’s where the shoe hits the soft spot, I must create and write a story every week.

Like everyone else, there’s a ton of stuff to do as a parent, sibling, daughter, and friend that could be done instead of reading and writing for a summer class.

But, I’m viewing this as a test of patience and persistence on my writing journey. Which reminds me of this quote:

keep calm poster
I read this whenever I want to give up and know I shouldn’t

 

At first, the assignment was 100 words, then 150 words, rising to 400 words (easy-peasy) but then we began to climb the word count mountain. Now it’s 500 words, and the final is a complete short story of 750-1250 words due in three weeks when I’m leaving to the UK. (I know, boo-hoo) ūüôÉ

Although I may sound whiny I am enjoying the process. Sometimes it’s good to get back into ‘school.’

So, I thought I’d share a couple of items that may benefit¬†my blog readers who are writers. Maybe you need a little inspiration to stay on the writing wagon.

Reprise

“Don’t let yourself set page goals, or think in terms of what gets done in a given session of work. Spend the time–the session is what counts, the time. The goal should be two hours, or three, or four, however many. Did you spend the time? If the answer is yes, no other questions. Cultivate patience of the tidal kind. This day’s work. It doesn’t have to be especially productive–no matter how well or ‘not well’ it seems to go in a day, it is always going well if you’re working, if you’re making the time. The good things will come if you’re making the time.” Richard Bausch

And now for an excellent video:

 

I hope you enjoyed the quote and video. Whatever your chosen passion may be, a good kick in the derrière may drive you over the hump and into the desired place you want to arrive.

Encouragement, Faith, Inspiration, Writing

Don’t Meltdown When You Feel Like Giving Up

quote on not giving up

Have you ever had months or weeks when you just want to throw up your hands and give up? One of those weeks when not much made sense, you asked ‘why?’ and the gloomy clouds outside matched your mood?

Yeah, I had a month of those weeks in my writing life.

But a great thing happened in the midst of the dark. I didn’t have a meltdown because other people’s posts and words (which I stumbled upon) lifted me above the clouds; especially this week.

I want to share these words and say thank you to the writers/bloggers who I came across in the past seven days:

‚ÄúI heard a preacher say recently that hope is a revolutionary patience; let me add that so is being a writer. Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.‚ÄĚ Anne Lamott

A revolutionary patience. I loved hearing hope described in that way.

‚Äúmisery shared is misery halved, and joy shared is joy doubled.‚ÄĚ

At Publishing Crawl, author Stacie Lee and Stephanie Garber gave encouragement with their post, Moving Beyond Rejection. My misery halved.

Bustle.com had an article on Octavia Butler’s Letter to Herself:

Octavia Butler's letter on writing, books,
Octavia Butler’s Letter to Herself-archives Huntington Library

Some humorous pet photos passed my way and the laughter lifted my spirits:

dog with eyebrows, humor, pets
Yeah, I got my eyebrows done. What do you think?

An angel appeared:(from Gerry Wilson’s blog).

brandonangel

12 reminders to live passionately  dropped into my email box.

And this past weekend I went to¬†a woman’s worship service and Sunday service. The message from one: You can worship through your hardship.

The message from our ‘tell it like it is’ pastor: “Hard Life, Good God.” He spoke on the reality of trials, that they are unavoidable but purposeful.

Yes, it was ‘one of those months,’ but I heard the message loud and clear.

When we don’t know what to do pray, ask for wisdom, have faith, and believe.

I feel better already!

Revision, Writers

Rejection and Persistence-The Writing Life

Rejection and Writing-Ray Bradbury

I saved this Ray Bradbury quote. Not because I plan to wallpaper a room with rejection slips but to remind myself that my list of rejection e-mails for two of my manuscripts amounts to maybe a quarter of a wall.

Rejection emails don’t phase me too much anymore. With a click of a button, they slide right into my “Queries” folder unless the lit agent wrote something more than a form letter. I jot down whatever suggestions they offered and send good thoughts to those agents for taking a minute to say something constructive.

And then I take a deep breath, put my big girl panties on and get back to work.

Now that doesn’t mean I don’t pay attention to constructive criticism, I’d be an idiot not to take someone’s suggestions and toss them around, see if they fit and give it a try.

This is also the time when I remind myself that I’ve lived through worse than an email rejection letter and got through it, survived and thrived.

A rejection letter is a little nudge, sometimes a kick, to remind me that I am doing the work. I’m sending out query letters.

I love to put words together. Many times I found that I have to learn how to put those words together in a better way.

I remind myself that although I’ve been rejected, I must be doing something right if I also receive requests for more pages, writing fellowships, and selected to be mentored in an Association of Writing Professionals (AWP) program.

All of those good things have been interspersed with the not so great. As I write this, my little email slider dings and I see another rejection letter came in my mailbox. I’ll share with you:

Thanks so much for your query. I‚Äôm really grateful that you chose to submit to me, but I’m sorry to say I’m not connecting enough with this project. I hope you will try me again with future work if you don’t find representation for this.

Young women in prison do not connect with a lot of people especially when I write about young women who are from ‘subgroups,’ ‘subcultures,’ et al. (the immigrant, the addicted, the gang banger, the sexually abused).

I remind myself that someone out there will connect with that story. I just have to get through the ‘gatekeepers.’

I remind myself and ask you to remind yourself, that persistence is a quality to hold onto if you want to become a writer and author.

On writing-Jennifer Weiner
On writing-Jennifer Weiner 

Only persistence keeps me going, walking, trudging through the revisions and rejections.

And now, back to work.