Tag Archives: editing

Aspiring authors; make a pact.

I was visiting Ollin’s site, Courage to Create this morning, and remembered an important part of my journey towards publication. It happened a long time ago, took seconds, but I suspect it was a pivotal moment.

I’d joined a writing group. I think there were about ten of us; all keen and excited to be working on our manuscripts, looking for useful advice and hopefully some positive feedback and encouragement.

Slowly, the numbers dwindled.  Some left after a rejection from a publisher. Or because life can get hectic and writing can start to look like a self-indulgent hobby. For all kinds of reasons.

In the end, it was just me, and Stephen.  We were both passionate about writing, absolutely determined in our desire to improve our work and stubbornly fixed in our quest to find a publisher.  Over a glass of red wine one night we shook hands and made a pact.

To never quit. Not ever.

Not when the rejection letter came in. Not when we couldn’t see a way to write the ending or improve one of the sagging chapters in the middle.  Not when we read a brilliant book and feared we’d never be good enough to scrape the mud from this author’s boots.

We sent each other interesting articles on writing. {Thank you Ste for the McKee book} We commiserated when we got rejected. And celebrated the wins. We gave each other stern talkings-to if one of us wavered and wanted to quit.

And we did it.

The books we were originally working on when we met were put aside and we started new ones. We were working at different speeds, trying different approaches, contacting different publishers, writing different genres, but somehow, in a weird twist of fate, we somehow managed to have our novels come out in exactly the same month: June this year.

So, here’s my question, writing friends; who can you make a pact with? If no one comes to mind, then perhaps it’s time to reach out and find some like-minded literary types to connect with.

Then, once you have your buddy ready….

… just hold out your hand [virtually is fine too] and shake hands, and make the same pact Stephen and I did all those years ago.

To never quit. Not ever.

I wish you all success and joy along the way.

xxx

Lisa

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Filed under authors, book launch, books, champagne, editors, fiction, I should be editing right now, opportunity for writers, Reading, red wine, reviews, tips for writers, writers, Writing

Stubborn is good

Driving home from school pick-up the other day, my son asked me if it was ever a good thing to be stubborn. I suspected someone had perhaps called him that, so I hesitated to give my first answer, which was no. I said, ‘yeah sure, perhaps sometimes.’ Fortunately, he didn’t expect any examples from  me, because at the time, I couldn’t think of any.

It occurred to me three days later,  as I sat stubbornly, like a pit bull, in front of my manuscript, daring the muse to  ignore me one more time, that being  stubborn, being bloody-minded, being aaarghh-I-will-do-this was a necessary trait for a writer.

Writers need to be not only determined and persistent, they need to be stubborn too. When the rejection slip comes in.  When you can’t write the ending. When the sun is shining and calls you outside. When your friend/partner/blog feels neglected. When cleaning the bathroom suddenly seems more appealing than writing dialogue.

Be stubborn.

Write.

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Filed under blogging, books, fiction, I should be editing right now, tips for writers, writers, Writing

The soundtrack

I had a lot of fun chatting with Robyn Hodge and Bernard Ryan from The Blurb radio  show on Tuesday.

They asked a lot of great questions, but one in particular really stayed with me and required a fair bit of thought.

If Milk Fever had a soundtrack, what would it be?

Hmmmm.

After some serious thought, this is what I’ve come up with:

For Julia

Rimsky Korsakov – Scheherazade

Visnja – Dishes and Coffee

Tchaikovsky – Swan Lake

For Tom

Cold Play – Yellow

Beatles – Hey Jude

John Mayer – Bigger Than My Body

So, folks, when you consider your work in progress/ novel/ manuscript what soundtrack does it have?

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They either love you, or teach you.

This is a simple statement of gratitude to everyone who has ever walked into my life.

Whether you were the kind soul who offered your seat when I was hugely pregnant. Or changed my tyre on that scary bend in the road. You brave thing. Or the one who shared a laugh with me waiting in line at the  supermarket the other day. Or perhaps you cut me off in traffic. Or broke into my car to steal that packet of chewing gum (sorry there wasn’t much worth taking}.

You might have taught me how to look both ways, or lock the car. You might have taught me patience. Or how to kiss or cook. You might have made me cry, or swear, or sigh or laugh. You might have inspired a lot of love in me.

Recently, someone taught me to trust my intuition. And for that, I’m grateful.

So no matter who you are. Whether you came into my life for seconds, minutes, months or years, I am truly grateful.

You either gave me love. Thank you.

Or taught me something. Thank you.

Or perhaps both.

Once again, thank you.

[My new manuscript is calling to me and I can’t ignore it anymore, so I will have to cut back on the blogging a little, for a while. Love to you all.]

{Writers can appreciate everyone, especially those that hurt us; they make for fascinating character studies. The question to ask: what would make someone behave in that manner? Hmmmm, thinking, thinking…}

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What is the most ridiculous number?

Answer: your age. Seriously, how many decisions do you make with that number echoing inside your head? Too old to take up an instrument? Or study? Or have a change of career? Too young to marry? Or settle down?

Once you hit 18 it’s time to throw that number away. Once you hit 18 you’re a grown up and your life is your own.

Change career. Move. Study medicine. Or archaeology. Write a book. Paint. Travel. Take up violin. Fall in love. Learn to ski/tango/meditate/fly/sing.

Do whatever you passionately want to do. Forget your age. It’s just a very silly number. A ridiculous number. An excuse.

There are no limits to who you can be unless you make it so.

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Invent a theory day

Theories are not just the domain of scientists and philosophers, anyone can create one. In fact, I recommend coming up with a spectacular or ridiculous theory every day.

It’s fun. It’s free. And it stimulates your mind and heart to come up with creative ideas for seeing life.

Jpcabit thought my theory on many earths, which I shared on my “50 posts later post”, was a little OTT.

Let me explain it here, in more detail. Deep breath. Thinking cap on.

Right. Here goes: Let’s just say that there are many ways of feeling life. My way is different to your way. Also, we only use a very small percentage of our brains, which really opens up billions of portals just there for other ways of experiencing life. We are basically just energy. And this world is perceived through our senses, which perceive energy. So matter is a bit of an illusion. And really [she’s faltering here…] consider how many varying ways there are of looking at life. Aren’t we just like sophisticated holograms?

Perhaps it’s a dimensional thing.

Okaaaay, so it doesn’t make a lot of sense, but that’s the exciting thing about some theories, I guess, they only work in your head and then as soon as you share them with someone else you can see that there might be one or two insy-winsy flaws.

But then you can simply think of another one.

So, come up with a theory today. Make it silly. What’s your theory on why men won’t look at the instuctions for IKEA furniture and wonder why they have bolts left over?

Why does the bus arrive when you light a cigarette? As a non-smoker my theory is because some higher power is looking after your health, buddy.

Why do I feel compelled to share ridiculous ideas on my blog….?

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I should be writing about writing but life keeps getting in my way

Sometimes I write a post and worry that it doesn’t have much to do with writing, books or reading, which was the reason I started a blog in the first place.

I’ll find myself staring at a post about the colour pink, or fruit, wondering if  should hit the “publish” button or simply trash it, wondering if I’ve gone completely off the track again.

My excuse was life. How can I write about writing, when my heart is broken? Or how can I write about writing when I’m so excited about an epiphany I just experienced about decisions?  Cold Melbourne life had me posting about desert islands.  I had a few weeks happily distracting myself in the search for the mystery editor (at least that kind of was on the literary track}.

But ultimately, I guess writers record life. It’s our job. We can’t help but get tangled up in the mess of life and then feel compelled to express it in some way. We make sense of the world through our words, or at least try to.

And who knows, perhaps life is making us better writers.

I’d like to think so.

[I love reading your blogs. Thank you to the ones who stay on track. Thank you to the ones who wander off.]

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