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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

IWSG July, Lessons Learned



It's IWSG Day.  The goal of this blog hop is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. The brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh, our brilliant ninja leader.  To read posts from other members, click here.
 

This month’s optional IWSG question: What is one valuable lesson you've learned since you started writing?

Hmmm, since I’m feeling generous today, how about four?

You don’t get to call yourself a writer if you don’t write. Write, regularly and often. Even if it is only for fifteen minutes a day, find a way. Five days a week I get up an hour earlier than I need to and write or edit. I write on weekends, too. It has become such a habit that when I can’t do it for some reason, I get twitchy. As with everything in life, improvement comes with practice. Comparing what I wrote eight years ago when I started my morning habit and what I produce now, there are measurable gains.

Read with a writer’s eye. Take the time to discover through other writers what works, what doesn’t, and what resonates with you. There is so much beautiful writing out there. The more we expose ourselves to it, the stronger we become at our craft. 

We are on our own timelines. Since I’ve started writing seriously, I’ve seen other writers publish book after book. Of course, I wanted my earlier projects published. I even queried agents, rushing it because I didn’t want to be left behind. But the truth was, I needed more practice, to expose myself to things that helped me learn, to challenge myself to dig deep. In other words, I had to do the hard stuff. 

And this leads to my next point, in which I quote from one of my recent blog posts:

It takes as long as it takes. Do you want to be known for being published, or for publishing something good? If you have one iota of thought that something isn’t right with your essay, article, novel, what have you, then, it’s not. Take the time to fix it. The internet is a scary place. Unforgivable really. Whether you publish traditionally or online, your work is going to be OUT THERE.  How will you feel five, ten, twenty years from now, if a poorly written piece with your name on it continues to surface?

And there you have it. Writing truths that work for me. Hope you are enjoying all that’s magnificent about summer.

20 comments:

Pat Garcia said...

I so agree with you. I write everyday even if it is only for ten minutes. I just write and I just read. It is so much a part of me that when I don't do it, I get twitchy and irritable and I have to write before I go to sleep, which means sometimes I am writing late at night for an hour or two.
Enjoyed reading this.
Shalom aleichem,
Pat G Everything Must Change

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That last one is a good point. Why jump in when we aren't ready? And we each have our own pace. I don't stress that I can't pump out a book every year.

Karen Walker said...

Hmm, maybe this is something I can incorporate into my life. Making time to write everyday, even if it's just 10 minutes of journalling time. Thank you!

Jan Morrison said...

Well we are certainly on the same page today!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Yes, I have had to learn to write on my own timeline too and not judge my really slow pace to the faster pace of others.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

The lesson about being on our own timeline is an excellent reminder. I often get caught up in what everyone else is doing and achieving, etc. I'm working on running my own race, even if it means going at the pace of a tortoise. :)

Bish Denham said...

"It takes as long as it takes." I think I needed to hear/read that one. I've been kind of beating myself up lately because I've been lagging on revisions. (Excuses? Lots of other stuff going on right now.) But I'll get her done.

Tamara Narayan said...

Excellent points. I'd rather be a one-hit-wonder than self-publish a bunch of things that don't find an audience. But at the same time, I am willing to consider self-publishing if I think a project is worthy. I do know from self-publishing a collection of previously published short stories that I need to hire a copy editor. I can find other people's typos, but not my own.

emaginette said...

Sounds like good lessons to me. ;-)

Anna from elements of emaginette

Chrys Fey said...

When I'm reading for pleasure, I struggle to read with a writer's eye, but I sure can spot those grammar issues. lol

Nick Wilford said...

Some very wise advice here, Liza! Trying to rush anything invariably means we're going to trip up sooner or later.

Rhonda Gilmour said...

Hello, Liza. Looks like you and I are learning similar lessons. "It takes as long as it takes"--hear, hear!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I get twitchy if I skip a day of writing also. I also get twitchy when I'm not working on something new.

Rita Fitzpatrick Writer said...

Hi Liza, in the beginning I was in a rush, now I'm taking my time and enjoying the journey a lot more.

Lee Lowery said...

To points 3 and 4, I, too, have marveled at the ability of some authors to churn out book after book. Sadly, sometimes the books are not very good (because I'm reading with my writer's eye, and I notice poor editing, bad grammar, plot discrepancies). I don't want to be known for being published, but rather, for publishing something good. So yes, I'm on my own timeline, for as long as it takes, pretty much every day.

C.D. Gallant-King said...

I definitely relate to the twitchiness. If I don't get my regular writing time it just ruins my day.

http://www.cdgallantking.ca/2017/07/strangely-funny-iv-release-iwsg-july.html

Joanne said...

You nail it all and it takes guts to not rush the process. Superb well presented post. Slow and steady

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Liza - it's writing what we want to write ... and being prepared to go at our own pace ... but as you so rightly say - keep on writing ... cheers Hilary

mshatch said...

Especially love that last one. Keep writing. I will :)

Connie said...

Great advice on all counts! Obviously it is working for you. :) Hope you are enjoying your summer.