Finding and Losing Faith

by admin on July 5, 2014

Writers are people of faith.

They trust the process. They let go and step into the fog of the unknown.

They send out their manuscripts to strangers and hope they will be treated fairly.

They write and rewrite even if no one reads what they’ve written.

When everything falls apart, they begin again.

But writers can lose faith.

They can doubt the process. They can hold on to fear and unrealistic expectations and refuse to try something new.

They can send out their manuscripts too early to publishers and face rejection or withhold sharing their work with the public until it is too late and the trend has past.

They can stop writing even when they have an audience waiting to read their next work.

When everything comes together, they can fall apart.

Most writers undergo a cycle of faith and doubt throughout their creative lives. Sometimes a writer will ask, “Do I cut my losses and walk away? Do I keep pushing for the dream? Do I settle?”

Some writers stop writing. Others can’t. It’s the air they breathe. Others stop talking about what they are writing, afraid to jinx the story that hasn’t taken shape yet. Some stare at the blank page and ask, “Why?” even as the words start to flow.

In the darkest moments, it is easy to abandon the craft. Ignore the phone calls from the muse. Delete the words that travel through the mind upon waking up. Discard the story ideas as distracting daydreams.

It is normal to lose faith. It is normal to walk away, vowing never to return. It is just as normal to return to the struggle of writing through the fog of the unknown, to risk sharing the manuscript with the world again. Finding and losing faith is as cyclical as the rest of life. The trick is to know neither the apex nor the nadir lasts forever. There is only this moment. Embrace it.

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Writing Backwards Is an Art

by admin on June 25, 2014

Woman with typewriter.

I’ve been pitching concepts for the past two months and writing to each agent or editor who responds with an encouraging, “I want to see more!” only to discover it’s not easy writing from concept to finish.

I’m used to following a voice. I hear someone talking to me and I take dictation until I reach “The End.” The only problem with following a voice to wherever it leads is that the destination isn’t always a saleable concept.

The last two novels I’ve written have resulted in this fate.

That’s why I’ve devoted my time to developing a saleable concept. Now I’ve discovered that although the concept may be saleable, the book may not be easy to write.

I’ve started and stopped and started again trying to find the voice for the saleable concept (girl finds boy, girl loses boy, girl finds boy again) only to discover I’m chasing my tail.

If this concept to book is to work, I need to change my approach to writing. I have to ignore the voice and follow the concept.

I have to open the book with the girl finding the boy and write toward the middle where the girl loses the boy and write up to the end where the girl finds the boy again.

It’s a different skill set. One I have yet to master.

I’m both excited and scared to be taking baby steps in a new direction. In the middle of the night, I wake up and wonder, “Am I wasting my time chasing the same dream in a different way? Or have I finally found the Yellow Brick Road?” Only time and a publishing contract will tell.

In the meantime, I’ll be writing backwards, one word at a time.


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