Hello, dear readers, and welcome!
Last week I started writing about "cracking fiction", and this week I'm back to write more about this topic, today with the theme of "writing to your own tune".
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I am extremely blessed to have a variety of writing friends -- pals, confidants, fellow sufferers, if you will. The last bit was meant as a joke, though it's also true. One of these close friends recently said that writing is like a disease you can't get rid of, and we all have it. But I digress...
Anyway, I love having a writing group. I love the fact that my friends know me well, that they know what type of stories I like, and that they are coming to know my writing now that we are swapping those stories. I can ask them questions when I don't have answers, pick their brains when I am feeling lost within a story, and together we can laugh about the ridiculous things that happen while writing. But over the last year or so I have found something else--
We all have different opinions.
As a writer, you have to have what they call a thick skin, and you have to be able to take criticism -- or better yet, I have found, effectively ignore it if it isn't helpful to you. The ability to see a bad review, or hear a bad comment and shrug your shoulders as you "keep calm and carry on" is invaluable to us writerly types. You have to be able to shake your head when the world asks you to change your writing, your topic, your ending, and tell it: no.
But I've found it's extremely difficult to say "no" to the people you care about, even when it comes to your work, your baby.
In my blessings, I have some very opinionated friends, and I'm sure you do, too. These are writers from all over the board, with plenty of experience, and plenty of viewpoints, and together this mixes for plenty of fun. But a few of my friends in particular are very, very stubborn and perhaps set in their ways, and will even go so far as to say I shouldn't write things for whatever reason, though always with the best intention (I love you all, I really do).
Of course when it comes to moments like this we all want to say: "Well, I wouldn't listen to them; I would tell them that it's my story, and I like it the way it is, though I value their input," and that is exactly what you would want to do, but it isn't so easy when you're faced with big eyes and excitement -- or worse, a frown of disappointment.
But I think that learning to write to your own tune, even when those closest to you, those you respect, say differently is just another part of being a writer, just as important as allowing those reviews to roll off of your shoulders. You may never agree with that person when it comes to books, and you may dislike their writing, too, but that doesn't mean it has to end your friendship, or that they can't give good advice -- you simply have to analyze that advice to see if it works for you, like Sherlock Holmes with a magnifying glass at a crime scene, examining what he sees and making deductions.
As a young writer, just starting out in the publishing industry, I wanted to know everything. I tried to heed all of the advice, to do everything "right", but after a time I found out that much of it didn't work for me, when really if I had just sat down and analyzed the advice, pitting it against how I work best (because I know how I work best), then I wouldn't have tried to implement that advice at all, and I probably could have saved myself a lot of time.
Advice is a good thing, and we can learn a lot from it -- just don't forget to take it with a grain of salt, and use your magnifying glass.
You may be one of those writers who stays safely inside the lines of your genre, and that is great -- or you may be one of those writers who pushes the boundaries, and thinks that there is no place for your book (lies!), and that is great, too. Everything has to start somewhere, and your story starts with you, so be true to it, and to yourself. All genres spawned from one book or another. It's the moment we let advice deal us the fear of failure, or of lack of acceptance, that we shoot our own stories down, sometimes before they even start...and I'm a large believer in the power of stories to help people, whether it means dealing with personal issues or just being inspired, so if you have a story to tell, tell it, because somebody probably needs it.
I'll leave you with some advice said by a friend (coincidentally the same one who said writing is a disease); we will call her "M": "Don't let (others) dictate what you're going to write." It's really that simple.
Be open to advice, to friendly criticism, because they have an important role in your writing life -- but don't forget that spark that makes you want to write in the first place.
Spookily Cute Designs On RedBubble!
I am a huge fan of Halloween, and so since the season is blooming for all things spooky and cute, I have started designing some Halloween fun!
In case you're not familiar with RedBubble, this website allows creators to make designs that fans can get on clothing, cards, pillows, totes, stickers, and more. I'll be uploading some more designs soon, but for now please check out my Halloween shop -- and if you're already in the Christmas mood, check out my Snowflake Triplet merchandise, too!
All proceeds go towards helping me keep things moving -- writing, artwork, the website, and more. Thank you so much for your support!