Monday, February 13, 2012

A Writer’s Baby/Giant Steps

 George Bernard Shaw said, "Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead." Isaac Asimov called rejection slips "a laceration of the soul." Despite the challenges, millions of us continue to pursue our dreams of publication. Our guest this week, Cheryl Dale,is one of the millions. Keep reading to see how she stays motivated. Her articles have been published in multiple children's and adult magazines. She writes Christian fiction and non-fiction, young adult and middle grade novels. She also loves to dabble with picture books and is working hard for that first book contract. Welcome to Book Blather, Cheryl.

     I was sifting through my overstuffed file of manuscripts, poetry, articles and ideas and thinking about how much easier it used to be for an aspiring author.  When I first became serious about getting published I needed a pencil, a tablet and a library card to research publishers.  And of course –fresh inspiration, passion and commitment.
     Now it seems I need a computer, several memberships in writing groups, a blackberry or Iphone, internet access, a Twitter account, a Facebook page, a blog, email, a plethora of writer’s newsletters, magazines and conference brochures.  And of course – fresh inspiration, passion and commitment.
     How do you keep up with it all and find time to write and submit?  How do you read daily tweets about first time authors getting their big chance and not become discouraged that your name isn’t among them?  How do you survive the ups and downs of encouraging comments from publishers but no contract?  How do you find the time to read what’s new so you can stay contemporary, research what’s old so you can write history, observe what’s real so you can compose interesting and believable dialog, and write, write, write?  And of course – continue to have fresh inspiration, passion and commitment?
Here’s how I do it. 
Step One:  Every day I get up and remind myself that I am a writer.  I write because I have words inside that are fighting to get out.  I write because I have something to say that I believe others want to hear.  I write because – well because it’s what I am, a writer.
Step Two:  Every day I choose to play the game of words.  Pretty words, ugly words, rhyming words, soft words, loud words, long words, short words – words no one has ever used in the particular way I use them, words to spur laughter, bring tears, sing a story, paint a thought, knit an idea, quilt a relationship, weave a thread, wring a response.
Step Three:  Every day I listen to someone’s story, watch someone’s action and reaction, measure someone’s impact on others, study someone’s physical appearance and ponder someone’s history that got them to where they are today.  This forms the rich, marbled, fragrant cake batter of ideas I can bake into a manuscript.
Step Four:  Every day I choose to cheer a debut author’s success and I remind myself I might be next.  I read their book and search for the one thing that sets it apart.  And then I shove aside my rejection slips, pick up my pen (or turn on my laptop) and go back to step one!

If you're a writer, how do you stay motivated? Inquiring minds want to know!

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