My mission for writing these Notes from the Toolbox was to show how important a patience & persistence mindset is to a writer’s journey, and how using that mindset to navigate the ever-changing creative process empowers personal growth and ultimately deepens our writing.
Don’t know about you dear friends, readers and voyeurs, but we’re 83 Notes deep and I’m still feeling it. Some weeks more than others, of course, because writing is hard— somedays it’s the hardest thing in the world.
And still, I show up because what else am I going to do? Read. Yes, reading for hours on end is one of my favorite things— never understood why reading wasn’t part of Maria’s favorite things in The Sound of Music. But I digress. Because digression is one of my favorite forms of resistance. It’s been nattering at me again, dredging up old fears of failure and keeping me from finalizing the pitch for the query letter that must be sent if this writer’s life is ever to move onward. Writing this Note is another way to keep me from fine-tuning the pitch. Oh, woe is me. But not really because inspiration has been billowing up and winking at me for over a month.
At The Back Room Event, where attendees get fifteen minutes to ask their favorite authors whatever they wish, psychological suspense writer Karen Dionne encouraged writers to be brave and tackle techniques they never used before. She chose to tackle flashbacks and dual timelines, and once she did she discovered she was a better writer than she thought. Now her breakout novel The Marsh King’s Daughter is being made into a major motion picture.
During that same event, Samantha Downing said, in addition to her current WIP, she writes something new everyday that she deletes. The new stuff gets her engine running and because there’s no commitment she’s able to push against her comfort zone.
A virtual book launch for author and scholar Heather Clark got me revved up to get back to the page as she spoke about what inspired her to write Red Comet: The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath. Clark said she wanted to put an end to the overwhelming belief that Plath was a mentally disturbed woman…who wrote poetry. Truth is from the time she was a child Sylvia longed to become the best poet ever. Plath was a poet. Writing was her priority, and she did it in spite of bouts with emotional distress.
Two weeks ago, I attended the virtual Historical Novel Society Conference, where I learned Hemingway’s rule for writing 1000 words a day turns out to be the golden standard among historical fiction authors.
Jump Back to me stuck in the 11 o’clock number of my writing life because my original purpose was no longer viable. I wasn’t wrong about that. But by the time that note from my toolbox landed in your inbox it was no longer totally accurate. Because writing that post gave me a “Bounce.” By the end of my Sadhana that morning, all the afore mentioned writing advice fused together and the purpose I’ve been searching for lit up like a fireball.
Slide Over to my Writing Practice and the first story I ever wrote Scare in the Night, which I scratched out at the age of seven because I wanted to work with Alfred Hitchcock. Like Plath I want to be the best writer I could be. Trouble was, I was weak and allowed insecurities and external pressures to lead me astray. But even as confused and broken as I believed myself to be the desire never faded— Kaitlyn’s story is proof.
Dive into my 11 o’clock number— where I recommit to my original goal to become the best writer possible. Because what else am I going to do, read? Reading is grand. But not as fulfilling as ramping up the toolbox skills to craft a more compelling story than the last— a lovely goal without an expiration date.