How Badly Do I Want to Write?

Sometimes it seems like I’ve poured my heart and soul into my work and it is isn’t enough. The feedback is critical, my readers wish for more. But I have to keep going.

Why? Because I’m committed to this. I want to write and publish my novels. I want to please readers with my work. It fulfills me.

So how to handle the rocky road, the potholes and washed out places in the path?

I just finished reading The Nearly Ultimate Guide to Better Writing. It has been put together by Mary Jaksch, chief editor of the blog Write to Done. It’s a book of inspiration. Write to Done can be found at and the book is currently free at that website. The essay that has really hit home for me is by Larry Brooks, as he talks about the sacrifices James Patterson made to get to where he is today in his writing career. He never settled, he didn’t quit.

How dedicated am I to this career path? If ‘no’ really means ‘try again’, then it’s important to remember that when I receive a rejection slip, or someone writes a doubtful review about my novel. Sometimes it’s hard to keep that in mind. If I get a few negative messages in a row, I start to wonder why I’m wasting my time. But show me an author who hasn’t received that kind of feedback and I’ll show you a writer who quit. Nearly everyone who has succeeded at writing has had to face rejections, questions about their work, requests to revise, revamp, rewrite, toss it and try something else.

An interesting book is Open, by Andre Agassi. It is fascinating in that he lived his whole life to play tennis, and hated it. His father and then trainer pushed him to work until he began to succeed. Yet he didn’t do it for the love of the game. He trained, worked, sweat because he felt pushed to do it. But it was the sweat and tears, the repetition and training that brought him where he ended up – at the top of the world of tennis.

No one is pushing me. No one says I have to write, to rewrite, to edit, to produce words. And yet I do. There’s no reason to think I can get there any faster than the person who had to practice and train for endless hours to be an athlete, to finish a masters degree in physics, to start their own company from scratch. Just keep working, keep writing, keep pushing. You can do it too.

Productivity – How to Get More Words on the Page

DeskIMG_0389(To follow my blog, click on the ‘Follow’ button in the lower right)

Like anyone else who writes novels, I sometimes have trouble making progress on my manuscript. ‘Sometimes’ might not be the right word, often is more apropos. (I have a need to be honest here.)

There are interruptions. I have a job, and it’s important to me, given it’s a business that I am part owner of and have invested rather heavily in. (I know, that sentence ended in a preposition. Forgive me.)

Other interruptions include family – what are they thinking? That I want to spend time with them? Well, actually, I do.

Then there are health issues that can come at me suddenly, like a thief in the night, robbing me of my equilibrium and concentration.

Nonetheless, I need to write. What to do?

There are lots of ideas out there

  • get your seat in the chair
  • put on the timer and write till it tells you to stop
  • get a software programme that counts your words and measures your output
  • wear noise muffling earphones
  • move into the trailer or the barn in the yard until the MS is finished
  • set a deadline

There are more ideas. Check out this blog   for some good ideas on increasing your productivity.

And yet, when it comes right down to it, sometimes you have to cut yourself some slack. Maybe it’s okay to pour a cup of tea and sit out on the patio, watching the plants push up through the dirt, signalling spring is on the way. I’ll settle for that today.

Comma – commonsense use?

Commas have come under heavy fire of late. Many writers feel they need to leave them out entirely, or use them only when absolutely necessary.

But we still have need of commas. They serve a very important function that allows us to quickly understand what we are reading without going back over and over the words again, trying to decipher where the emphasis should lie.

Here is an example from Author Marketing Experts:

  • Let’s eat Grandma.
  • Let’s eat, Grandma.

Did you laugh when you read that? I did. It’s a simple example of why I’m sometimes very confused when I read some authors’ work.

Another example is this:

  • Listen, you dumb computer—I’ve had it with you.
  • I will give you a biscuit, Fido, if you sit.
  • Hey, everyone, hurry up!

Again, it illustrates why the use of the comma to designate the person/object that is being addressed just makes sense. To see the whole article, go to and scroll down to ‘Let’s Not Eat Grandma’. Tongue in cheek, of course.

Favourite writing tips

I read a great blog recently – Write with Fey where she has posted her 50 best tips for writers.

Here are my ten favourite –

  1. To create amazing suspense and horror, you need to use the sixth sense: your intuitive hunch, or more precisely, your character’s intuitive hunch.
  2. Show action-reaction. This technique can be used with every type of story. write a sentece that shows an action happening then another that shows the immediate reaction.
  3. To speed up the pace of your story, write shorter sentences. Short sentences can be read quicker, giving the illusion of fast action.
  4. Give your protagonist a weakness, and let him love. (it allows the reader to emotionally connect with him. *my comment)
  5. Let bad things happen to your characters. (*I have had to struggle with this one, but it’s very true.)
  6. Write a good beginning to hook your readers and an even better ending to satisfy them.
  7. Aim for realistic goals when you’re writing, but don’t beat yourself up if you can’t reaach them. We all have our off days and some days may produce more writing than others. A goal is meant to encourage you, not torture you.
  8. After you spent months or years (in most cases) writing a book, it is always a good idea to put it down for a while. Give yourself some space form the characters you’ve been writing about.
  9. Show the entertaining parts that engage readers, and tell the less entertaining parts your readers just need to know. The key to showing AND telling is not to be excessive with either option, but to find a balance.
  10. Don’t listen to all the writing rules you hear. They are not law.

And that’s where your own intuition comes in. When a writing rule doesn’t seem to fit with what you’re working on, then perhaps it simply doesn’t apply.

Lots of good things to think about here. To see the full list go to Write With Fey –