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Posts Tagged ‘motivation’

On rationalization and procrastination

Okay, so clearly it’s been a while since I’ve written a post.  And here’s a big list of all my excuses:

1) I was moving flats (clearly necessary to avoid stabbing, being devoured by mice, or similar)

2) I had to do work for clients (you know, the people who pay the rent in my new, non-mouse-infested flat)

3) I had to catch up with old friends (after many texts and emails with lots of scary capital letters and excessive punctuation using scary words like “intervention”)

4)  London has been sunny (okay, so I totally had to sit outside because London is NEVER sunny and this was perhaps my last chance to soak up and store some sun so I don’t die of vitamin D deficiency or similar come autumn)

5) I had to apply for jobs (yes, still, and some job applications are like NOVELS with the notable exception that novels are actually quite fun and interesting and job applications most certainly are NOT)

6) I had a MASSIVE HEAD EXPLOSION!!! and was, understandably, unable to write coherent sentences thereafter

So.  This is a lovely bit of rationalization.  And it isn’t good enough.  But I do this all the time, with this blog and–scarily–with my current WIP.  But there is no excuse for letting something that matters so much to me to slide for so long!

What do you think, blogger friends?  How do you beat the procrastination and rationalization bug?

Also…an aside: I wanted to give credit to Bill Waterson for the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip above.  Because, let’s face it, Calvin and Hobbes was brilliant and the “funnies” just aren’t the same any more.  But I couldn’t find an official site.  Best I can do is tell you to buy the books here. I have all the books.  If you don’t, you should buy them because they are amazing and you’ll smile for months.  (Disclaimer: I am not in any way affiliated with Calvin and Hobbes or publishers, booksellers, or similar but I totally wish I was because, as I said, they are amazing)

10 Fiction Writing Rules

February 28, 2010 4 comments

The Guardian posted a great article on 10 Rules for Writing Fiction, asking literary greats to share their personal rules of writing fiction (thanks to Nathan Bransford, who always seems to know everything about anything related to publishing, for this link).  It’s an amazingly varied list–testament to how the experience of writing is different for every writer.  I’m no Elmore Leonard, Margaret Atwood, Zadie Smith, or similar, but I thought I’d do my own list here.

1 – Have something to say

2 – Say it in the way you would tell a friend a really important secret–no fancy prose.  You’re just telling someone you love something that means a lot to you.

3 – Be honest–resist the temptation to make your characters extraordinary human beings.  Make them human beings.  That, in itself, is extraordinary.

4 – Write about people you care about–create characters that you want to be around, and your readers will want to be around them as well.

5 – Make someone feel strongly–it doesn’t have to be joy.  It can be sorrow, hope, despair, terror, love, anything. We need to feel strongly.  It reminds us that we’re alive.

6 – Get writing–planning, thinking, talking about writing is all well and good, but if you want anyone to read it, you first need to put the words on paper.

7 – Realize this may never make you any money–still worth writing, in those spare wee hours of morning?  Good.

8 – Let someone read it–those hours spent following agent blogs, reading submission guidelines, re-submitting queries–those are all part of an effort to be read.  Yes, it’s personal.  Yes, it’s your soul on a platter.  You still need it to be read.

9 – Believe in your writing–maybe you aren’t good enough to do your story justice, but fretting about it does nothing.  It’s your story, so it’s your responsibility to write it, and to believe in it.

10 – Remember that you love it–we forget, sometimes, with all the stress of querying, editing, etc. that we love this.  We love, love, LOVE what we’ve created.  That’s the whole point.  Forget this, and you may as well give up and become an accountant.  The hours are shorter and the pay is better.