Wednesday, May 4, 2016

May the 4th be with you (and your Insecurities too!)


Good morning, good morning. Welcome to another episode of The Insecure Writer's Support Group! It's a monthly gathering of writers who are loud and proud when it comes to airing our insecurities to the world. And really, why shouldn't we be? They are a part of us, a part of who we are right now. Might as well own them, right?

Oddly enough I'm not dealing with any insecurities right now, writing or otherwise. The A-Z Challenge took over my writing for the month of April, as I knew it would. I learned some wonderful lessons this Challenge year - but I'll leave that for the A-Z Reflections Post on Monday May 9th :).

I started reading "The True Secret of Writing" by Natalie Goldberg at the end of April and finished it last night. As all her books are, it was wonderful. A compelling but thoughtful rally to get back to the practice of writing.

PRACTICE

Why does that word turn so many of us off? I've always loathed "practicing" anything. I just want to DO it! And yet, I've learned over the years that in order to be able to do something, we must first make ourselves adept at it. And the only way to do this is, you guessed it, through practice.

Goldberg tells us that writing is nothing unless it is a practice. An ongoing practice. Something that we do every day. My former writing mentor told me that we're only writers if we write and that makes so much more sense now than it did 13 years ago. This may surprise you, but writing isn't about publishing or best sellers. Sure we want that. I want that. You want that. Writing is about WRITING. It is through the writing that we learn what it takes to construct a novel, a memoir, a collection of poems or stories or essays or recipes. And once we learn how to put it all together, we EARN the next steps: the publishing, the accolades. 

None of those accolades though are possible without the practice. I've curled my fists and bit my tongue numerous times hearing someone mention, "Wish I could do nothing but write a novel and be rich. Must be nice." If they only knew how much pain and heart and blood and tears go into writing anything. If they only knew how many times we have to die before a novel is written.

Go forth this month and practice! Get out those ideas, those glimmers of truth. Even if it's awful, get it written! You can edit later. Just WRITE.

Be a writer. Write. Every. Day.

Practice, as they say, makes perfect. Maybe, but I do know that it makes for really good stories :)

Write on, my Friends!


25 comments:

  1. You don't have to call it practice. Maybe it's what you said, the doing. Do it. Write it. Walk around with it. You'll be successful, step by step.
    Mary at Play off the Page

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    1. True. Throw out the word practice and many people balk. I'm beginning to love the word though. I've come to terms with certain things in life that will always be practice for me: sewing, yoga, music, writing. I love the idea of a life filled with the constant movement, the constant improvement that comes with meeting the Muse everyday whether or not he/she wants to meet with you. Step by tiny step but oh so worth it!

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  2. Good point about practicing. I tend to get a lot out of freewriting exericses where you write in a character's voice, but off the page from your main story. It helps me work out stuck spots. I have entire drafts that will never see a polished version of the story, but I"m so glad I wrote them to learn about story structure.

    Here's my May IWSG post: It's (not a) Shame about Rey

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    1. Thank you! I love the idea of freewriting in a character's voice. I've never tried that before. Thank you for the idea! That's how we get to the meat and bones of a story and it's been a long time since I've dug that deeply into any idea I've had.

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  3. Practice, it's a dirty word like exercise. LOL But for things to get better, it must be done. I need to learn to do this more. Don't stay stuck on that one thing I can't get right, and instead move on to other things to get the words out and hopefully in doing so the blockage will be cleared.

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    1. That's what I love about writing practice. I've sat and literally scribbled "I don't know what to write today" over and over again until something breaks. And when it breaks it's wonderful. A relief. A floodgate of words and images. Yes! Keep on exercising :)

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  4. I expect to learn as I go in everything I do. This may surprise you, but I wasn't born perfect. hehehe

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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    1. LOL! Me either - as much as I wish I had been :) Ah well, we'll just have to get in there and practice like all the other humans!

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  5. I took a writing workshop with Natalie Goldberg some years back and she is a very exciting teacher. I'm a firm believer in reading, reading, reading before doing any writing.

    @Kathleen01930
    Kathleen Valentine's Blog

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    1. Oh Kathleen, I'm jealous! I'd love to take a workshop with her! I love her books on writing and I'm constantly amazed at the openness I feel towards my own writing after I read her words. A breath of much needed fresh air.

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  6. I love the advice you have just passed along. It is so important to know that the more you write, the better you get. I was complaining about getting so many rejections a couple of months ago to my writing coach and she said the same thing. You're getting great practice. That's true because every time I resend a story out it has changed through another revision. I see things that I did not see before.

    Shalom,
    http://www.patgarciaandeverythingmustchange.com/2016/05/the-second-milestone-iwsg-article-may-4.html

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    1. Thank you, Pat. Unfortunately, rejections are great practice at creating the best query and getting back to the editing ax. It's a lot of work but I believe, even if it's just for our enjoyment and betterment, writing practice is so worth it! Thanks for stopping by!

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  7. We're constantly changing. If we're not growing in a direction, we're going in another. We lose what we don't keep maintaining. Hard lesson of life, eh? This is why I always have such a hard time between my music loves and my writing loves.

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    1. I've always had to choose between several loves and it's hard. That's why I haven't really hunkered down and written anything solid in such a long time. I have that flux between writing and other creative pursuits. I think the ebb and flow have slowed down for a while, though. I'm ready to sink deep into something and writing seems ripe!

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  8. Published means author. Writer means writing - and lots of it!
    I probably like practicing my guitar more than I do writing...

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    1. I thought about putting that in this post. Yes! To be a WRITER means to WRITE. And we have to do a LOT of that before we can become an author. Hehe, I understand. Most days I'd rather be sewing than writing but I'm getting better...a little...

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  9. People who don't write always think writing is so easy. It's so irritating!

    Never mind that most of us spend hours on hours and then don't even make living wage. :-/

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    1. Oh I know. It's like that with any creative enterprise. My husband gets asked all the time, "You can just throw a table together right?" People don't understand art unless they're up to their eyeballs in it. But that's OK. We just have to keep on creating! Maybe one day they'll learn...

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  10. Like Misha said - people who don't write think it's easy, but it actually takes a lot of practice.

    I don't think I stopped by your blog during the A to Z Challenge. I'll have to go back and check in on your posts.

    Cheers - Ellen

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    1. Hi Ellen!
      Thanks for stopping by. I don't think I made it to your blog either. I'll stop by, though, and say hello! Cheers!

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  11. Yes, write, write, write! Do it for the joy, the ecstasy, and the pain of the writing, not for the other stuff.

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    1. Thank you so much! It's taken me a long time but I finally understand that and BOY does it help take the stress out of something I really enjoy doing. If it's not fun, why do it?

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  12. My practice has always come in bursts and then fades away to almost nothing. I used to feel guilty about not writing, err practicing, every day. But not any more. It's how I write. When I'm in one of those bursts I'm pretty prolific.

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    1. Good for you! I'm much, much better about not beating myself up for not writing all the time. I'm back to practicing and regardless of where that practice leads me (pages in a journal, in my notebook, or here) I'm just going to take it a day at a time and be thankful for the words I get out!

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  13. "Write. Every. Day." simple truth but essential.

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