Love Thy Critics
Accepting criticism about your work is a hard thing to do. After putting your sweat and ink into a labor of passion – a written piece from the heart, no one likes for it to be pull apart and criticized. A writer is as proud of his/her piece as a first time mom (assuming here that the mom wants her baby, of course). Hearing comments that your pride and joy is less than perfect will annoy or upset many writers, if not all.
Learn to look at constructive criticism in a positive light; as a tool to make you grow and get better at your craft. Once you learn to do that, it will be easier to accept and your feelings won’t be hurt as much. You will learn to perfect your work, resulting in satisfaction and a sense of achieving a well written piece. Criticism comes from the human reason, and everyone has different points of view. Learn to take it from where it comes, and analyze it as objectively as you can. If you see truth in it, listen to the advice; it will only benefit you. You should strive to become the best writer you can be.
Taking your writing to the OR
Snip, snip – the painful process. Editing and cutting out after many words is a task that many writers dislike, but a necessary one. Whether you are writing a novel, or a smaller piece, there will always be words to rearrange, eliminate or change. It will only improve what you have written down. See? written down, there is no need for the down in the previous sentence, that must be eliminated.
Some writers prefer to edit as they write, or as they finish a chapter; others just write and edit later. Whatever works for you, as long as you improve your piece by taking off what doesn’t belong. Readers prefer material that moves at a fast (but not too fast) and consistent pace – writing that flows.
I tend to use too many words and have to be aware of not tiring the readers, or boring them. I have been guilty of reading a book and skipping paragraphs and pages that contain “a lot of the same.” I am sure we all have been there and that is a good example to make the point.
So snip snip and don’t be afraid; you may be proud of that sentence, but maybe you can use it on another piece or further along. Don’t be afraid to take your writing to the operating room.
Writing for profit
We can all agree that freelance writing is not glamorous and you will not become a millionaire . Unless you are a published author, or best-selling author and novelist, your chances of making a lot of money writing are slim. You can make a decent income, but forget the millions, at least at the beginning. Despite this crude reality, you can learn to prioritize your projects to make the most of your money. Learn to pick the assignments that give you the most income while enjoying the craft. Spending more time on these projects, and less on the ones that take more time and pay less is a way to help your pocket. However, that does not mean that you can’t write for the pure love of it. Leave some time available for those writing projects that you love to do but that do not generate much income. Balance is key.
When deadlines kill inspiration
Some people work better under pressure, others don’t. A freelance writer has to learn to juggle many projects at once, many deadlines, and the unexpected. It is part of the bread and butter. All this pressure may hinder your muse, especially when you are writing a novel. If this is the case, sometimes a little schedule shuffling helps.
If you wake up refreshed and ready to work, why not write your novel in the early hours of the morning, and take care of the rest later? Think of it as warm up for deadline projects.
After working all day in all kinds of requests, you may feel tired, needing a break, and certainly not in the mood to get inspired. Soon, you find yourself thinking – “I will work on it tomorrow.” But tomorrow comes, and the next day, and the next … A week goes by and you have not written a chapter. Then, you end up feeling guilty and stressed out. Sounds familiar? We all have been there, but time can be our best or worst enemy. Just switching things around a bit to take advantage on your state of mind for inspiration can help.
Oh, the dreaded word! The denial of me, myself and I – the writer! At some point in your writing career, you will be faced with the possibility of becoming a ghostwriter. You will have to choose between money or glory, a living or personal pride. Whatever your decision, one thing is for sure – it must contribute to your development as a writer.
Ghostwriting is not for everyone but it can help you develop an eye for different styles and what the person (s) who hired you expects from the piece you are writing. It will give you the opportunity to work with different personalities, and tailor your writing to what is expected. It is like becoming a chameleon of writing. Despite if you ghostwrite for a short time or a longer period, there are benefits to it – $$$ and learning. If you can put aside your need for recognition for a while, then ghostwriting is something that you might want to try.
Writing your New Year
The New Year is here, and for some of us, quicker than we thought, or at least that is the way it feels. Going back and reviewing our goals, and discovering that we did not finish that novel, or edited that manuscript, or sent those queries, tempt us to start 2010, feeling a bit incomplete or disorganized.
Well, let’s not duel on the past. Instead, let’s focus on our writing in the present – everyday. It is great to have big writing goals for this year; but unless we focus on our writing a bit each day, the year will continue to pass by, and our writing time, well, not as productive as we planned.
Forget about all the articles that you did not write, or the chapters … Start a blank page and make each day a writing day.
The Holiday festivities are over, and the New Year is here – and we all wish that 2010 will be a better year. 2009 was a rough year for many, for our Country. Despite all the challenges, we start 2010 with hope – hoping for the best.
I had my share of good news on the farmhouse. The survey has been completed and so far so good; the affidavits all taken care of. Now it is a matter of getting everyone to sign and proceed to closing. Then, the restoration will begin, which I think is the exciting part, along with moving to a different part of the country and starting a new simpler life. We will have to get used to the southern accent (which I love), and many of the small town living customs. It is all good!
A friend of mine mentioned to me the other day that she will not plan for 2010. Instead, she will receive every day and enjoy what the day brings. I think it is a wonderful idea! I will try to do the same, although we all know how difficult that has proven to be for me. The thought of not planning is a bit unsettling for me. So far, I have managed to make lists and timeframes for pretty much everything, and it is not even the 10th of January. Managed to straighten and clean all my files, created a budget plan, logged all my goals and timeframes for this year, organized the office, and reviewed my decluttering schedule … It goes on and on. This is why I thought my friend’s idea was a magnificent one.
Well, I am determined to make the best of every day of this year. The New Year is here, and the clock started ticking …