“If you tell yourself you are going to be at your desk tomorrow, you are by that declaration asking your unconscious to prepare the material. You are, in effect, contracting to pick up such valuables at a given time. Count on me, you are saying to a few forces below: I will be there to write.” ~ Norman Mailer
wow. Tolstoy was, amazing. Everyone loves his work. He is a writing god. Yes?
And somedays, maybe you even think that you have that literary genius bubbling up.
You are doing all the right things… and yet?
Rejection after rejection, after rejection. big sigh
First of all….It’s not getting the rejections that you should be focusing on, young padawan… it’s how many submissions you are putting out there in the ether.
Writing, like most sadomasochistic endeavors, is a numbers game. It’s about pushing through barriers and about persistance. Forget sleep. Forget food. Forget dust bunnies and fine dining.
And forget about Tolstoy.
You are not him. The days of writers like him are over.. can you ever imagine anyone saying anything like this… about a contemporary author?
The Soviets planted him at the top of their literary pantheon, largely because of the radical philosophy he preached amid the early rumblings of the October Revolution. The publication of “War and Peace” and “Anna Karenina” made Tolstoy so famous that one contemporary described him as Russia’s second czar. He used that position to rail against the church, as well as the police, the army, meat eating, private property and all forms of violence.
Lenin loved Tolstoy’s “pent-up hatred.” He anointed him “the mirror of the Russian Revolution,” ignoring his pacifism and belief in God. As the 50th anniversary of his death approached, the Central Committee of the Communist Party began preparing two years in advance, so a monument would be ready for unveiling.
Okay, so now.. your petty rejections feel a little bit less harsh. and yet?
You want to be loved. You think your story was the best thing you’d ever written. You believe your novel is perfect and needs no edits. You just know that Oprah would cry if she read it. Heck, your Mom loved it, right?
listen to this:
Ten years ago Tolstoy’s great great grandson asked the church to revisit the 1901 ruling that excommunicated his great-great-grandfather. He never got an answer.
read more about TOLSTOY’S snubbing here
You’ve read it a million times.
Just do it.
You’ve heard it said… Getting your butt in the chair is the hardest thing.
So you bought a nice comfy chair…and now, in this new year? In 2011?
You have decided you will finally write. Every day.
And you can.
Don’t think you’ll write good words every day- or that you will like what you write everyday, or even that the words you write will be anything more than a list for the grocery store.
The thing is to get in the habit of having pen and paper, or computer, or smart phone handy for when those story ideas do some. That is what we’re driving for.
Writing, not as a chore, but as a habit.
Need a starting point?
If you are someone who gets easily distracted, or needs to work on a deadline, try these timers and alarms.
If you need goals and accountability? Join a local or online writing group that will keep you both motivated and on track with your projects.
And if you still need a kick in the butt? Write to us here. Let’s get you involved at one of our coastal 5 day writing retreats, where we guarantee you will get and stay on track.
Because that’s what writers do for each other.
I posted this article on my writing blog (the blog that I’m supposed to be writing in every day to share my daily writing progress…but am not…doing either, that is…long story…), and I then I thought maybe it might be worthwhile talking about this topic: Where do you find your inspiration for writing? Or maybe, it’s “Who inspires you to be a “better” writer?”
Maybe it’s a famous writer, like J.K. Rowling or Stephen King ? Or maybe it’s your Aunt Martha or your 6th grade English teacher. We are always going to be inspired by someone, more than one someone, and today, I’m sharing just a couple of my sources of inspiration.
First: the obvious ones. I’ll get those out of the way first:
- My husband, who is one of the most supportive, go-with-the-flow guys I know. I’m inspired by his ability to live a life of complete balance. And I wouldn’t even be a writer if I didn’t have you in my life. Truly.
- My kids, who have provided me with plenty of fodder for characters and such. Thanks for being clever, and funny, and just plain weird sometimes. It’s all good.
And, now, because I’m a giver…here are some new friends. You inspire me in different, and totally surprising ways.
I hope you enjoy reading their work as much as I do.
In her words, Canadian-writer, Colleen Friesen is “..a cappuccino and travel junkie. Like the collages I love to hammer, glue and sew together in my Sechelt studio,my writing is often a collection of ephemera, transitory images, random thoughts and events that happen wherever I find myself in the world.”
Colleen’s blog is a treat for me every day. I blame her, in truth, for distracting me from my own writing. Where I used to wake inspired to “write the damn book,” I now pour myself a cup of coffee and click over to Colleen’s blog to get my daily dose of inspiration. She’s an amazing wordsmith, and you’d be a fool not to take my advice and click over there — do it now I say — and subscribe to her daily posts. She’s that good.
Follow her blog here.
I “met” Dina recently. When I found her blog, “Making Baby Grand-The Novel” this “timeline” jumped out at me: “The Making ‘Baby Grand’ blog is born as a way to chronicle the writing process and share my trials and tribulations as a first-time novelist as I finish the writing of this book. Or maybe as a creative way to procrastinate. Not sure.”
A kindred spirit, to be sure. And as I’ve followed her progress, I’m inspired by her enthusiasm, and her progress. She’s actually done it. I aspire to get to where she is now. Check out her blog to find out more and follow Dina’s next steps as she continues the journey to publishing her novel.
Not only is Linda an incredible, award-winning writer – her short stories have been published in dozens of literary publications over the years — she’s an accomplished novelist and is always looking for ways to help other writers realize their dreams. You go girl!
She’s the founder and editor of scratch — “the writing contest that itching to discover new talent,” and partner in Write by the Water retreats for women If you haven’t read Linda’s ebook, Simple Intent , be sure to put it on her list, and follow the blog. Her smart and witty style will make you smile (and maybe blush a little).
There are so many great writers forging their way in this new world of blogging. And how great is it that we can share our work–ebooks, travel articles, random blog posts — with countless readers every day. Amazing.
Do you follow a writing blog that you’d like to share? Someone you connect with or who just makes you smile through their blog articles? I’d love to add them to my list. Let me know!
photo: Tom J Byrne
The highlight of the day, according to our group of writers, was the Skype call with Josh Getzler, literary agent at Russell and Volkening. Having an opportunity to talk face-to-face (okay, face to computer?) with a New York agent is one of the big perks of the retreat. Anyone who’s ever been to a conference or workshop knows that the age-old question on the tongues of every writer in the room is this: “How do you find an agent?”
Josh was awesome. He shared the process for querying an agent and gave our writers some insight into the business side of writing. Valuable information that I know all the writers will tuck away until they are ready to release their finished work into the world.
[/caption]The afternoon was spent writing. Writers walked on the beach. Writers hung out on the back porch and lounged next to the pool with laptops propped up, fingers flying across the keys.
This last full day of the retreat went by far too quickly. Dinner at The Red Bar – with good food, music, and more Canadians — and the day came to a close. It will be hard to say good-bye to our writers — our new friends. Facebook friend requests have been sent, and photos have been tagged. Business cards have been exchanged and websites have been linked…surely we will find a way to stay connected.
You know what they say…”You always remember your first.”