Friday, May 21, 2010

Critique Partners

Writers work in a vacuum most of the time. We sit alone at our desks with only the voices of our characters in our heads. That's not always a bad thing, but every once in awhile we need to get out from behind the computer screen and interact with other writers.

Getting feedback on your writing is a necessary part of the process and a very frightening part. For months sometimes years we sit alone crafting a story pouring our souls into it. Now we have to give it to someone to read and tell us what they think? For many writers we'd rather poke our eyes out.

What are we to do? Find critique partners of course, but not just any critique partner. A bad critique partner can make you want to give up writing for good. I know I had some once.

You must find partners who write on the same level you do. This doesn't mean the more experienced shouldn't help the beginner starting out on their journey. It takes time to learn the craft of writing and how to edit. You may not be getting the best feedback from someone who hasn't learned as much yet. But when they do, by all means think about becoming writing partners.

Your critique partners should be nice people. That sounds like an obvious one, but not everyone is nice about how they edit. There's a better way to say your piece needs some work than, "I hate your prologue." You want your critique partners to care about your work as much as you do. If they're vested in your work too they won't be jealous when you get "the call" before they do. They'll be proud of you and stand up and cheer because your characters are real for them too.

How do you find a good critique partner? Unfortunately, sometimes it's trial and error. Join a writing organization in your area. There's plenty in all different genres. Start asking around and talking to people in the group. Really pay attention to the vibes you're getting. Your instincts know when you've met the right person.

When I was looking for new critique partners I received an email from a woman who sounded like I did. She seemed to be at the same writing level I was. We agreed to meet. Another woman joined us. I knew instantly these were the right women for me. I felt the energy around us like a lightning bolt. They have been invaluable to me on my writing journey. I couldn't have accomplished all that have without them. I am as committed to their work as they are to mine. I owe a world of gratitude to Marykate and Shari. Not only are they wonderful writers, but they are fantastic people. (Okay, enough gushing. I'm going to make their heads huge! LOL!!! Just kidding ladies. I love you!)

Talk to you later...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Just Do It

First off I want to thank everyone for their comments on the No Toys in the Happy Meals post. Whether you spoke here, emailed me or called we kicked up quite a discussion! I'll be sure to find more things we can discuss like that!

Today I want to talk about pursuing your dreams. I encourage everyone to go after the thing they're most passionate about. I'm trying out on you an article I'm submitting to the LSFW newsletter.

"Just Do It." The marketing people at Nike really had their acts together when they came up with that one. "Just Do It" is my absolute favorite slogan. I say it to myself and my children all day. Three simple words that say it all: stop talking about it - take action. Words that help me achieve my goals.

The phrase applies to every aspect of our lives. Writing - just do it. We all know books don't' get written without putting words on paper. How many people have you bumped into that say they want to be a writer, but never write a single word? A mother in my town just told me that the other day! I said to her, "if you want to be a writer then write." You can dream about writing bestselling novels, but if you don't take acton, actually do it, then being an author is nothing more than a passing thought.

Just do it applies to goal setting. Whip out a piece of paper and jot down your wishes, hopes, and dreams. (Go ahead. I'll wait.) The list alone isn't enough. You have to do something to accomplish those goals. Take the steps necessary to make your goals a reality.

Women nurture by nature. We take care of everything and everyone else first. That leaves little time for ourselves and then add in the much needed time to write. Finding space to write among the "to do" list is a daunting task, I know. But you know what I say? Just Do It! You owe yourself those three little words. I promise you - no one will give you the power to just do it, but you. You'll be glad you did.

Appropriately, just do it applies to exercising. I'm an avid exerciser. It gives me the energy to keep up with my hectic life. It clears my head of white noise so I can be present for my family and importantly my writing. When my rapid thoughts are quiet my creativity flows. I find myself putting words on paper and completing manuscripts. I'm doing it!

Maybe you already find the time for physical activity. Maybe you meditate daily. What's on that bucket list of yours? Getting an agent? Signing with a bigger publisher? Finishing your first manuscript? Finding a critique partner? Figure out what steps you need to take, research, learn your craft. Just Do It! I know you can.

Talk to you later...