Tuesday, August 26, 2014

on writing

Online I am connected to quite a few writers mostly in the romance or fantasy genres. I also though, through this blog and others, know those who would like to write but feel they either cannot or aren't ready. 


The world has changed from when publishing houses were the gatekeepers as to who could be a published writer. Those big houses still exist and have the big bucks behind their books, but there are now a lot of small eBook publishers as well as writers like myself who have opted not to let anybody else call their shots. Writers have options, and that can become confusing or even a block for those who have yet to take the leap.

Places like Amazon or Direct to Digital, make it pretty easy to convert books into something readers can buy. The prices of such books benefit readers and writers. I became a big fan of eBooks to read once I saw how I could go on a vacation without taking ten books. I love having hundreds at my fingertips on a device that can fit in my purse. I still read paper books, but eBooks have been good to me as a writer and a reader.

For those who would like to write but have yet to feel they can, it's important to keep in mind-- publishing is now an option. So if you want to write-- write. Don't critique yourself out of doing it. Write. From writing will come writing, and it might not be what you expect. 

Being your own toughest critic, the one who stops you from writing, is the problem creative people face. I cannot paint like Rembrandt/Van Gogh/Pollack or write like Hemingway/Gabaldon/Steinbeck; so I should not paint/write at all, etc. etc. etc. Most of the names you admire didn't paint/write that way when they began either. It takes doing to get there.

Then when you write something, let someone else read it; ideally someone who likes books in your genre. Ask them to tell you what they liked or did not about the book. I remember when I first began writing and let friends read my words. That took a lot of nerve. It's scary. There is real reluctance to let someone we care about see our creative work. But it is what helps us see if we are getting there or missing the boat. If we are missing it, what can we change? Actually an honest friend can be far more helpful than later a random reader who the writer can never question as to what they meant by their criticism.

Finding your own genre is a big part of enjoying writing. Do you like to read mysteries? Start thinking of mystery plots. Do you like to think about relationships, about why they work or don't, consider romance? Do you have the kind of imagination that creates apocalyptic or fantasy worlds? Horror? Erotica? Whatever is your natural inclination might be your genre. 

Write the book you'd love to read.

Don't be stopped by whether that genre is acceptable to your social group. I am well aware romance is not okay for many liberals. It's actually the Cinderella of writing which gets little respect (sometimes justifiably so). Women in certain social sets hide romance books from their friends. They will show off the latest NYTimes bestseller, which got rave professional reviews, but not the book with the hot couple on the cover. Although, these days eBook devices make it easier to hide what is socially unacceptable. They don't make it easier for the writers of such books. 

What are you writing?
Romance.
Oh....
no more questions...

But here's the thing, if it's your natural genre, it's what you will enjoy writing. It takes more nerve to write in a genre that is unacceptable to your crowd and talk about it. I know about that. I suspect it's why romance writers tend to hang together as it's somewhere they can share their work and ideas without feeling that silent criticism.

If you want to write and enjoy the writing, if you want to be more than a formula writer, you have to find your genre, the one where you love to read and where you have an idea for a story that you haven't read anywhere else. 

When you want to write it so much that you don't care if it's socially acceptable with your friends, that's the passion you need and that will make your book come alive for you. 

If you aren't there yet, then you probably aren't ready to publish. You can still write, but but don't think you never will publish and make public what you write. Someday it'll be-- who cares. This is for me! It is my creative gift, and I am going to use it.


 





 

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