Lately, my advice posts have fell a bit to the way-side. Mainly, I blame a bit of a writer’s burn-out that I suffered from since mid-November.
It’s been a while since I did one of these sorts of posts, but I think this is a good time to bring it up. Again. See, I do mention this every now and then.
But then, writers need reminding of this every so often. I’m especially looking at you guys who (like me) have big goals and things to achieve.
See, goals are a good thing. I truly believe they are. They give us something to work towards, which gives us purpose. This purpose gives us determination and determination (and quite a bit of dumb luck) is what sees us through.
All very good things.
However goals can become millstones around our necks. They weigh us down with the sheer amount of measurable things we did not achieve. Or make us highly aware of how far we are from where we’ve seen ourselves at the end of some arbitrarily chosen moment. (End of the year, at the end of five years, etc.)
This millstone effect affects most people, but for writers and other artists, there’s an extra danger: It can and does kill our creativity.
Everyone’s motivation for writing differs a little bit. Often, we write for a variety of reasons. Maybe just because you like reading and thought it would be fun to write and it was. Maybe you have this huge drive to produce something, anything or your life just doesn’t feel complete. Or you need to write to process your emotions. And so on.
A lot of us find that, even if there are all these wonderful reasons to write, we just never seem to spend enough time on actually doing it. TV creeps in. Facebook sucks up time. All those million little distractions gang up on us and if we’re not careful, whole days go by without us writing. Which isn’t good.
Goal setting with accountability makes us careful with out time. We want to have something to show those we are accountable to, so we start building habits of carving out writing time for ourselves. See? It is a good thing.
But the flip side is that sometimes, through no fault of our own, we just can’t make those goals. Usually, it takes only a short moment of introspection to recognize when that’s happened. You don’t say “I wanted to write, but those crazy cat pictures took over my life and I just couldn’t.” But when things higher up on your priority list comes up (e.g. in matters of survival, or family issues, health issues etc.), there will be times when you. just. can’t.
This is perfectly fine, but those goals still loom and suddenly, people are asking: “Oh, what’s the point?”
And then they’re miserable. Because suddenly, nothing they’ve done is good enough. Now nothing they’ve written gets them anywhere and writing becomes this pointless cause of self flagellation until we’re not even sure we like being writers anymore.
So. Because I’ve been seeing a lot of you guys talking about this lately, I decided to be awesome and answer your question…
Friday’s post got two comments by J.H. Moncrieff and Kelly Hashway (both ladies have awesome blogs, by the way), which basically came down to “How do you keep getting so much done?” and “How do you handle your discouragement if you achieve your goals?”
Hi all! Today I have the pleasure of hosting one of my very talented Crit Partners, Ian S. Bott, as part of his blog tour.
Having read Tiamat’s Nest as a critique partner, I can tell you now that those who buy the book are in for a wild ride. One of the best things about the story is the feeling that, although we’re dealing with events and technology that is still beyond our reality, they were written in a what that makes them feel real.
And today, Ian’s going to tell us about researching for Speculative Fiction.
Before we start, though, I just want to mention that Shell Flower interviewed me on her blog today.
Okay, Ian, take it from here.
The virtual world comes alive and reaches out into the real world with deadly results. University professor and devout technophobe, Charles Hawthorne, confronts technology full on to end the hidden threat to humanity.
Find out more about the author on his website: www.iansbott.com
I’m still on my mission to complete my A to Z Challenge theme, and I’m actually feeling like I’m finally in my home stretch.
And today, I’m writing about a biggie.
Writers all have to come to terms with this simple fact or we simply couldn’t function as writers.
Hi all! Today, I have Taryn Tyler over for an interview. (Questions are in Bold.)
Welcome to The Five Year Project! First thing first, please do tell us a bit more about yourself.
I daydream a lot, drink too much tea, and usually wear a hat.
I’m also a lover of tea, although that said, it’s actually rooibos tea and therefore not tea at all… What got you to start writing?
When I was thirteen my friends and I started a monthly newsletter called “The Friendship Times”. At first it had mostly ‘articles’ about our Jr. High lives and maybe part of one or two stories but by the time we reached High School it was a weekly publication of six or seven novels being written in serial format. We changed the name to “Knights of the Page” and invited more people to submit. We even made the font smaller so we could fit more in each edition. It was crazy fun and I haven’t stopped writing since.
That sounds like a lot of fun. What’s your favorite part to writing and why?
The things that I discover about myself and the world that I never knew I knew until I’m reading what I wrote.
I love that about writing too. Tell us a bit more about your newest story. What’s it about?
WHITE HART is about Sir Gawain’s first (well technically second) journey to Camelot and how he becomes a knight. He is pretty uncertain about he is going to be accepted at Camelot because his family just lost a war with King Arthur. Not really the best way to start off your career!
No indeed not. What inspired you to write White Hart?
Gawain has always been my favorite knight, I like him because even though he’s not pure of heart like Galahad or super suave like Lancelot he’s not afraid to jump in and make a mistake. And boy does he make a lot of them! It’s also always resonated with me that he comes from a big family that he cares about a lot even when they make really bad choices about who to side with. It makes for a lot of interesting gray area and I wanted to make sure his story was told from the beginning.
He’s my favorite too! It’s always sad to me that almost no one knows who he is. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from writing White Hart?
That nobody is perfect and sometimes when you spend too much time chasing an ideal you miss the point.
That’s such a beautiful lesson to learn. What’s your best advice for new writers?
Read. Write. Don’t give up.
Very true. Not giving up is the essence of success. Where can people find you online?
My Facebook Author Page
Awesome. Thanks for visiting and all the best with your new book!
Gawain of Orkney has not been to Camelot since before his father led a rebellion against King Arthur. Now that the war is over Gawain is sent to attend Arthur’s wedding as a token of peace.
The night of the wedding Arthur bids Gawain to hunt a white hart — a beautiful deer of unearthly purity. Gawain accepts the quest but the dangers of the wilderness become hard to battle when he is bound by Arthur’s new ideals of peace and trust. Gawain realizes he may not be so different from the knights of the old, violent ways of as he had imagined.
Gawain does not have long to decide which life he wants to chase. Not all of the rebels put down their swords when his father did. The knights of the old ways are planning an assassination and even King Arthur may not survive this new idealistic trust.