The weekend before I left for my New England trip, our Hampton Roads Writers held its annual writers’ conference. It was fabulous! Our keynote speaker was Michael Palmer who has written sixteen New York Times best sellers. We also had Marisa Corvisiero and Linda Konner, New York literary agents, Chuck Sambuchino, editor for Writer’s Digest Books, and several other authors. The sessions were not only informative, they were inspiring as well.
Perhaps the session that made the biggest impression on me was the one presented by Karen Jones, an author, educator and broadcast journalist. These bits of advice from her presentation make me want to stop talking about my writing and sit my butt down and get it done:
1. Don’t wait for inspiration. You’ll never get your book published.
2. There is no writing fairy. You have to take an active part in the writing process.
3. Write your first draft as fast as you can. It will stink, but you’ll have something to work with.
4. Your first draft is for you and you alone. Do not share it with anyone. You can write 5,000-6,000 words a day if you know no one’s going to read it. It’s private, nobody’s business but your own.
5. Act like a writer. Find a time to write. Write every stinking day.
6. Confront your inner critic. All writing excuses are expressions of fear.
Unfortunately, as soon as the conference was over, I jumped on a plane and was gone for an entire week. I was infused with so much enthusiasm and hope and then had to wait to put it into action. Now I need to recreate that feeling. This happens after every conference I attend. I get so excited and tell myself that this time it will be different. This time I’m really going to write that book. This time there will be no excuses. Luckily, my husband is my biggest supporter. He said this morning that my job is to write. Everything else can wait. What a gift! And I’m going to get right to it. I just have to polish the silverware first…
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Loved hearing about the conference, CE!
For me, it’s so hard to concentrate steadily at home on something like that. Years ago, I retreated into a corner and worked on some long manuscripts. Now I’m waiting for some fresh ideas to come. It’s so difficult for me to write for a certain time everyday, like they advise. I get SO distracted…
How wonderful to have something forming in your head–can’t wait to read it!
Glad you’re back!
Thanks, R in the Y. It’s hard for me to just let everything go and get the writing done. I’m always finding something else that I think I need to take care of RIGHT NOW, like this blog. Sigh…
I think I’ve shared with you that I’ve got a novel in a drawer that I’ve given up on and had started another (although haltingly). The thing that holds me back isn’t lack of inspiration or even discipline but knowing that I don’t have the energy to do everything I know I’d need to do to get it published. Maybe that’s an excuse covering fear of failure, maybe it’s just being realistic. If it is what you want to do, I hope you do it. You certainly have the tools, at least in my humble opinion.
Thanks, Bud. I feel that, if nothing else, the activity will keep my mind sharp, and at my age, that’s a good thing. I’m not even thinking that it will ever get published, but I’d like to see if I could really do it.
lol! I know all about procrastination and polishing the silverware first. I am reading and commenting on blogs today instead of updating my photography website that has been woefully ignored for months. I even have good reason to be updating it, yet I am still ignoring it.
I look forward to reading your novel when you finally get it out of your head and onto paper. 🙂
Kindred spirits we are, aren’t we, Robin? I am so far behind in my blog reading and commenting, too, that I don’t know how I’ll ever catch up, write a new blog entry, and still have time for that novel.
Have you ever participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)? That might be just the thing you need to spur you on. 🙂
No, Robin, I’ve never even heard of it. Shows you how much I know about novel writing! I’ll Google it. Thanks.
While you were gone, I read some of your older posts, really enjoyed it! So looking forward to reading your book, don’t mind to wait! Thank you for sharing.
Glad you’re a young woman, Amy, because you may be waiting awhile. LOL!
Great wrap up & inspiration from the conference — thanks for posting! The daily writing habit is certainly what helped me finish a draft recently! And like you I feel very fortunate to have a husband who says my job is to write. (Still, wish it paid the oil bill…)
I hear you, Julia. I think my husband thinks that I will write the great American novel and he will retire!
1. I’m so glad you’re back!
2. Of course you can write a novel, silly. And you must, so I can read it.
3. Do people still have actual silverware? I thought we’d all agreed that stainless is better.
4. Have I mentioned how glad I am that you are back?
5. I know, I know – write something on my own blog already… I’m going now. But not before I tell you how glad I am that you are back!
Wow! You made my day, Amy!
I keep looking inside my head, and there is no novel there. I envy the fact that you know you have a novel inside you…
It’s just the beginnings of a developing idea, Margie. I don’t know if I can put enough meat in it to bring it to fruition.
Thanks for sharing this great advice. And top with the polishing, WRITE!
Yes, Ma’am, Patti!
Thank you for the suggestions gathered from the conference. I needed that sage advice, especially the part about there not being a writing fairy. Not unlike opening the refrigerator door expecting some wonderful treat to have magically appeared, I keep expecting to open my box of research and reference materials and finding a completed and edited manuscript.
I’m glad they were helpful, Carol. I think I’ve been waiting for inspiration too long and now need to face the perspiration.
Find time to write – these are the words that we all need. Thanks for the post. I have time; I have a place to write that is all my own; I also have many excuses. 🙂
Sounds like me, Judith, but I’m really going to try harder this time. I’m running out of time!
I nominated you again for another VBA award. 🙂
Thanks, Judith! I’ll hop on over and take a look. Sorry I’m so behind.
Don’t quit on your dream……!
I’m still going to go for it, winsomebella. I actually cleaned out a drawer in my writing desk and made a nice writing spot for me. Okay, it’s not writing yet, but tomorrow’s another day.
I know that feeling! I just got home from a trip and I need to dive back into my writing. But today, I’m doing laundry and cleaning up the house. I wish I could ignore that stuff and focus on my work!
Exactly, Shary. I haven’t read a word of anyone else’s blog since I came home, so tomorrow that’s my focus. Oh, and my novel, of course.
I’m looking forward to your book! I admire that kind of discipline espoused in those writing edicts and am proud of the people I know who get it done. Glad you have such support from your husband. Let us know when the first edition of the novel comes out!
Very funny, Single Cell. Since my novel is still just forming in my head and not a word has been written on paper, I’m thinking you’re going to be waiting a while. Years.