As I am on this writing journey, odd thoughts and revelations strike.
While out to dinner with our neighbors, they asked how my writing was going, so I shared and she looked at me and said…
“Whoa, writing is a lot of work. It’s like a job.”
Once again, I am hit over the head with the fact that people who don’t write honestly have no idea what writers do.
Heck, when I began writing, I had NO IDEA what I was getting into. I will sit here on my couch and write words and then…
Over the years I have learned SO MUCH! Sure, I sit on my couch and write my words. Stories. Novels. All the strange things that lurk in my brain.
But also… blogs and book reviews.
I found critique partners and discovered yet another element of the job, reading other people’s words, making comments on what works and what doesn’t, finding little mistakes that the author missed, because we can’t see our own story for the words (or something crazy like that). And even though critiquing was scary at first and I had nothing helpful to add, it has now become one of my favorite things!
Reading! Reading books is part of the job. I know, that’s a rough one. Please, please don’t make me read that really awesome looking book…
What non-writers really don’t understand is the voices. The non-stop talking that occurs 24-7 in our heads. Ideas for new stories strike in the strangest of places. New characters pop up to say hi! Old characters like to yell that we aren’t writing their story correctly or like to change their minds halfway through a manuscript (or even after the whole darn thing is written) and decide that they want something else. Fights do happen.
It’s not just the characters, we have to listen to the stories, waiting to be told what needs to happen. Which sounds easy until they stop speaking.
Writers are always working, always writing. It’s not something we can turn off, and, let’s be honest, we don’t want to turn it off. It is a part of who we are.
But non-writers don’t understand and most of us are surrounded by non-writers on a day to day basis. And even though we like these people, there are times we need to be with other writers. The idea rings true with everyone, the desire to be with people who like what you like, who speak your language.
Since I began this adventure alone, on my couch, never speaking of what I did… I have learned that I can’t live in a cave.
I joined a writers’ group and WHOA! these people GET ME! I need those meetings. And a friend from there recommended that we all get on Twitter… to get our name out into the world, to make friends and connections. So I did.
And OH MY GOLLY GOSH! The writing family on Twitter amazes me. WE NEED EACH OTHER!
We understand the struggles.
We can celebrate all the victories, whether writing two words on a day where it was hard to get out of bed, to finishing a ms, to getting an agent, to being published!
We help each other spread the word about our books. We read words for everyone, adding our thoughts hoping to help make the ms better. We enter contests and console each other when we aren’t chosen or cheer for those who win.
And speaking of… #nestpitch has announced teams. The lucky few have been chosen. I did not enter. I am a slushie, charged with helping a mentor choose mss based on the first 300 words and a 35 word pitch. Out of about 160 entries, I picked my top 20 and threw them in the ring. Not everyone on my team loved the same ones. And we, #TeamEggsellent, ended up with a well rounded group of five, a couple of which had been on my list! After the final picks and after #Pitchslam announced their lists (which took some out of the #nestpitch running) I went through my original top 20 and stared at the eight that had intrigued me, but hadn’t been chosen. I will be e-mailing those people. I want to let them know that I liked their words, their ideas.
Not that little ole me and my opinions make a big difference, but all I wanted when I entered those contests was a word from someone, anyone.
If you are reading this and are one of the #nestpitchers that wasn’t chosen, I would love to send e-mails to EVERYONE, but realistically, I just can’t. If you don’t get an e-mail from me, remember…
I have my own likes, I have certain things that interest me, such as YA, sci-fi, fantasy, horror, anything odd.
So many of these pitches were fine, just not my cup of tea. Not that I drink tea… ew.
Keep in mind that because it didn’t grab me, doesn’t mean it didn’t raise the brow of another slushie or mentor.
As we move on with all our emotions, turn to your writer friends. They understand! Swap mss with others. But first and foremost, keep writing. Keep querying. I never made it to the final round of any contest I entered, but a query got me a publisher.
So writers everywhere…
Together we are strong. Together we can do anything. I am SO GLAD I came out of my cave and into the light of friends.