Sunday, February 20, 2022

Not Writing? Remember Two Things


Hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine’s Day! Things have been kind of busy around here with the new puppy, but I’m getting back to work. Still, when the North wind blows into California, I start shivering and coming up with excuses for not writing. 

One of my favorite hobbies is crocheting. I’ve crocheted sweaters, scarves and hats that magically, bring on a heatwave. Then it drops thirty degrees and I’ll have tea and get comfortable in fuzzy slippers, when all of a sudden there’s a barking festival inside, and outside, the house. Seems the neighborhood dogs want to welcome our pup. By the time the chorus is over, it’s time for lunch. It’s a never-ending cycle, and we have to be ready. All creative writers have to be ready. Are you?

Which leads me to the two pieces of advice I have for times like this:

1.    Stay the course.

You don't have time. Seriously. After all, there are a million distractions, but don’t forget, your mind still works. You can plot things out without writing them down. The more you repeat dialogue in your head, the better it will be. If you’re prone to forgetting things, make small notes along the way. Notes aside, you can create a better story by thinking about your scene--and your characters and imagining everything clearly—all while making dinner or driving your car.

When shopping, and about to select a vegetable or package off the shelf, think about your characters. What would they eat, what would they drink? Do they eat cereal for breakfast? Are they just like you? Maybe not, right?

Don’t worry, you’ll have time to write it all down someday. Maybe not this week, or next, but when it’s right. In other words, don’t give up. Ever.

 2.    Stay Positive!

There are many reasons for excuses. One bad rejection letter and I can fall behind for two months. Broadcasts about war send my poetry muse packing. If my book isn’t selling, I wonder why I should write another. Then, when I least expect it, I receive a wonderful review about how the reader can’t wait to read more.

 Excuses run the gamut:  my computer is giving me a problem, I’m cold, I’m hungry, worrying about someone else, the kids, the mortgage, health related stuff, the water bill, the news reports, etc. I imagine you know what I’m talking about. Anyway, with electronic rejections, I suggest deleting them immediately. There are hundreds of other publications that are in need of creative work, and we need to focus on the ones that appreciate our writing. With so many negative things to worry about, seeing that email once, is enough. Of course, if the publication offers a few suggestions, and gives constructive criticism to improve the piece you wrote, you will want to take those things into consideration. Otherwise, don’t re-read it. Don’t dwell on it, and don’t print it. Delete button and gone. What rejection?


My acceptance file. 

When you receive an acceptance letter—print it--and put it next to your computer. Additionally, I suggest not watching the depressing, not-so-local news. Instead, stay in tune with your local neighborhood, by joining social media groups and watching city hall meetings in your town. Want edge of your seat reporting? The comments about the lost cat from around the corner are riveting. Also, a distraction, but more interesting than anything that happens on cable. Plus more poetic.

 In summary, there will be a time, and you'll be ready.

Two things-that’s it. You can do this.