Laughter Lifts the Heart
Several years into it, and this blog still refuses to be categorized. It's eclectic and includes everything from writing posts to snippets from my ordinary life.
Welcome to this crazy place. You're bound to find something you like.
"Now, may the Lord of peace give you peace always, in every way."
Good enough to share? Do it here~~~
Coffee with Linda Newsletter!
Writing in ObedienceLearn about the genre of Christian Fiction!
Available on Amazon!
31 Devotions for Writers31 authors, 31 devotions, exclusively for Christian writers.
Available on Amazon!
Public Speaking for Newbies
Tips to hide your knocking knees when speaking to a crowd!
Available on Kindle!
Don’t continually edit during the first draft. How many times have we been told that? Just write. Just get it down. Don’t worry about whether it’s good–it’s not supposed to be. Don’t edit while you write! Save that chore for after the first draft is done.
I have yet to obey that command, and I’m sure everyone who is a regular reader of this blog knows it, because I’ve written about it enough. I edit while I write because I know something’s wrong and it makes me nuts. I edit while I write because I’ve had to change something in the new day’s material and have to go back and tweak until everything is harmonious. And now, I’ve discovered yet another reason why I edit while I write: I keep forgetting what I’ve written before and where I was going with it.
I’ve been reading Tosca Lee’s rules for first drafts in her newsletter (also on her blog). I nod my head with everything she says, because I can relate, especially to her first installment “First Drafts–Take the Ride Yourself.” Well, okay–I can relate to the first paragraph of that post, “A friend recently asked me if I enjoyed writing. My honest answer was, ‘Sometimes.’” I can relate to this and to another line in those early paragraphs: “But that first, initial draft? Pull my fingernails out from the beds with pliers, why don’t you.”
Tosca says she’s a second or third draft writer. I’m a first and second draft writer, I guess. I want everything as near perfect as I can get it before I send it to my primary critique partner. Meaning I go back for both major overhauls and minor tweaks as I write. I reread the manuscript a multitude of times, until there are no more overhauls and only minor tweaks. Then Katie finds the big bugs, I fix them, and consider the work done.
But one of the reasons for this, I now realize, is that too much time often passes between one writing session and the next.
In “Rule #3: Don’t break too long between writing sessions,” Tosca says:
Every stretch of time you’re away is an opportunity to drop strands that become that much harder to pick up later, and to lose your sense of flow. Keep it immediate. Put in as much regular, consecutive time as you can.*
Although I have set writing hours, life and fatigue get in the way far too often for me to put in a lot of regular, consecutive time. I’m healthier, and I last longer than I did before, but uninterrupted periods of time are still hard to come by. I can be on a roll, then have to run to Bryan for a few days (not that I mind–Mom time is important to me), or weekend plans will break my stride, then I have to get a running start again. And I’ve never been able to just read without editing a little. Those edits can include whacking out or rewriting entire scenes or simply changing words or adding commas.
This violates Tosca’s “Rule #2: Don’t stop and go back.” The primary danger of violating this rule, according to her, is: “Because they [manuscripts] never [get] finished. The biggest discrepancy between those who want to write and those who do is one simple word: finishing.”
Mine do–eventually. Well, except for Corporate Ladder. That one’s the thorn in my side, and I don’t know what will happen in the love/hate relationship I have with Debra Chandler. Her story is far more difficult to tell than I first thought. Otherwise, though, I’ve finished most of my manuscripts, even though a couple of them were never published and never will be.
But my way works for me. I’d love to do as Tosca says, as Anne Lamott and countless others say, and write that hideous first draft without going back to edit. Everyone who has read my blog this year knows I tried.
Still, Give the Lady a Ride was an award winner and The Cat Lady’s Secret was a finalist for an award. My way of writing can’t be all bad.
* As of the date of writing my post, Tosca’s “Rule #3″ was available only in her newsletter. I’m not sure when she will put it up in her blog, but be sure to catch her whole series there.
I posted my 535th coffee meme on Facebook this morning. How do I know it’s number 535? Because that’s how I save them when I find them–coffee 1, coffee 2, coffee 460, coffee 535. To my knowledge, I haven’t duplicated a single meme, or if I have, it was either inadvertent or it was a repost of a friend’s share.
The only reason this one is important is because it leaves my FB friends with the impression that all I have to do today is drink coffee. Nothing can be further from the truth. We just got back from the Polish Festival in Bremond, following my week in Bryan, following the Blueberry Festival in Nacogdoches, Texas–and all preceding the fourth of July when the entire family along with friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, and soon-to-be spouses all come to our house. Starting Friday.
So, today, I get to finish painting the patio furniture, straighten from being gone all weekend and all last week–along with doing a Mt. Everest-load of laundry–start cleaning house, plan the grocery list, work on my book inventory, do my state taxes–and the bills and the wonderful deposit from the past weekend (it was a good weekend)–make sure Mom’s phone is working again after the fiasco from last Friday (don’t ask), and squeeze in time to work on my manuscript (I only have four chapters left). Oh, and I have to make lunch out of virtually nothing because I haven’t been to the grocery store all month.
Yeah, I think that about covers it.
I got up this morning to do my Bible study of Daniel, which I haven’t been able to do for over a week since I’ve been gone, and go through my emails and work on my Facebook page (since I’ve been gone and without my computer). I am so far behind on absolutely everything–no big surprise–and returning safely back to my daily rut doesn’t occur until August, so I will continue to be far behind on absolutely everything, but I am determined to finish my novel as close to my deadline as possible. It’ll be late, but (please, God) not super-late. Which, considering my track record, will be an improvement.
I’m so harried and rattled now, I doubt this post makes much sense. But it’s Monday–so very, very Monday–and I have a long week ahead, so if I’m not making sense, don’t be surprised. I’m not capable of making sense right now. Which is perhaps why I lied on Facebook. Instead of that being my plans for the day, consider it my daydream for today, ’cause, folks, whiling away the hours idly drinking coffee just ain’t gonna happen.
Midmorning yesterday, the sun broke through the clouds and trees to kiss our pond.
Yesterday afternoon, a male cardinal cracked the shells of sunflower seeds and fed his wife.
Yesterday evening, bluebirds and sparrows bathed and preened, ruffling wet feathers to blow-dry in the breeze.
Last night, fireflies pricked the shadows of the deep woods.
Early this morning, deer darted away from the threat of the opening curtains.
Right now, pink clouds race against an unsettled sky, and the emerald forest waves goodbye to each wind-gust blowing through.
And I looked up from my manuscript, from Facebook, from my inexhaustible list of emails long enough to catch sight of real life in action.
Author C. Hope Clark wrote a tough-love piece for writers who are afraid of taking the step to becoming published authors. In her blog post, “On Being Tentative,” Hope writes:
This is all on you. We all like the pat on the back and the positive reinforcement. That’s human nature. But if you need someone petting you on the head every day to keep going, maybe this isn’t the job for you. There are too many others out there who show up everyday to make their dream happen. And they left their mommas in the other room.
Hope’s piece is the kick-in-the-butt kind of a pep talk that falls in line with the “pee or get off of the pot” mentality. Toughen up! Dig deep!
I don’t know too many authors who think this job is a cake walk. It’s hard. It fosters fear and insecurity. For many–if not most of us–it keeps us humble.
Those of us who make it a point to sit down to the keyboard every day are putting into words things we think are funny, sad, scary, exciting, touching, inspirational–then we put them out there with our fingers crossed and our eyes screwed tight in prayer that someone else will find them funny, sad, scary . . .
But that’s not all of it. Many writers have to overcome the idea that they have no family support. None. But they squeeze out time to write anyway and get their few words down one day, only to rip them up in disgust the next.
Then, finally, one day a miracle happens, and they have a completed manuscript. They manage somehow to go to a writers conference, they sit in on agent/editor panels and listen to what’s expected of them–and true terror sets in, because here is where they learn that it doesn’t matter whether you have a great story. You have to have a great story that will compete with hundreds of thousands of other great stories. And you have to have a platform of people who are willing to buy your great story. In fact, if you have a fabulous platform, you don’t necessarily need a great story.
Everything falls on the shoulders of the author these days. Networking and marketing are as much the author’s responsibility as writing, editing, meeting deadlines. So when–miracle of miracles–our manuscript is accepted, we have to step out of our little shells and toot our own horns. This is when we discover that we’re playing a kazoo at a high amp heavy metal concert.
But–yet another miracle–people start buying our books and the reviews start pouring in. Many of them are good, but there are always those who simply didn’t like it, and low ratings appear and raggedly rip at our hearts with a dull blade. Meantime, we watch someone else skyrocket to the top, someone who found the key to the spaceship, while we’re still searching for the launch pad.
For many, if not all, writers, this is it. This is a way of life, our chosen career. We swallow the fears, the insecurities, the anger at injustices, the lack of family understanding and support. And, masochists that we are, we sit down to do it all over again.