Hi, I’m back.

siwc2017

At SIWC 2017 with two of my writing mentors, Hallie Ephron and Diana Gabaldon.

It’s been a long hiatus. My last post on the 5writers blog was in August 2016. Gasp, can that be true?

I’ve been away so long, the whole WordPress interface has changed and now feels like an alien planet. Even my very brief writing renaissance after attending last year’s Surrey International Writers Conference didn’t lure me back to blogging.

And since I’m in a confessional mood, the truth is I haven’t written anything in a year. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

But here I am, fresh from SIWC 2017, screwing up my courage to face the blank page once again, and wondering how to pick up the 5/5/5 narrative.

Fortunately for those of you who’ve wandered over here today out of curiosity, I learned a game-changing lesson at Surrey last week. It’s a truth so dead simple, a first grader knows it intuitively. Somehow, though, once people become “writers” and start novels and fall in love with their own words, they often have to learn it all over again.

Take out all the boring stuff. There you have it.

Abracadabra! This simple rule releases me from catching you up on my past 12 months. From a writing perspective, it would be the most boring of topics. I can summarize it very succinctly.

Lost momentum.

I believe it happens to every writer at some point. And therein lies the more interesting tale. Some abandon writing for years while continuing to wrestle with their unfulfilled creative urges. Some find other passions. Some lose their enthusiasm, or maybe their courage. Without the kind of crazy optimism it takes to climb Novel Mountain, many never return.

But for those of us who have temporarily lost heart, or drifted away, or simply procrastinated so long that even the thought of writing has become an embarrassing reminder of our failures … is there a way back?

Of course there is.

My own journey, like every writer’s, is unique. But if you should ever become a lapsed writer like me, I offer you these scribbled directions based on my wandering route home to Writerland. Maybe it will help you find your way back …

Start with this: Where the hell am I?

It’s always good to start with wherever you are. If you don’t know, find out.

I’m talking about “where” in very broad terms here. Where are your head and your heart? And equally important, where are you in your life? You’re the protagonist here. It’s your character arc to shape as you will. If it’s all working beautifully for you without taking on the burdens and pleasures of writing again, then just carry on. You can stop reading now. Go in peace and have a wonderful life.

But if your world seems somehow incomplete – a little emptier maybe – without writing, then just simply resolve right now to get back to it.

Next: Face forward.

No, no – DON’T LOOK BACK. Turn around, look ahead. Let the past go. That’s it! Don’t explain. Don’t justify. Don’t drag out that tired list of excuses. In fact, this is a good time to just stop thinking and go with the flow. If writing is calling you, answer.

Now for the hard part: Drop your burden of fear and self-doubt.

Do it deliberately. Just toss it to the side of the road. But what if I never get published? you ask. What if I fail (or fail again)? Well, define “fail”. If you love wordsmithing, if you get stimulation from creativity, if storytelling gives you pleasure, then writing is its own reward. And like everything else worth doing, the more you do it the better you get. It’s a journey. Do the diehard golfers you know beat themselves up because they might fail to qualify for the US Open? Yes, getting published traditionally is kind of a lottery, no matter what the gatekeepers say. But if getting published is a primary goal, you can do it yourself these days. There. Excuse gone.

Get some writing friends.

I wouldn’t be in the game at all if I didn’t have the support of my wonderful 5/5/5 writing colleagues. A writer’s journey doesn’t have to be a lonely one. Get in a writing group. Or start one. Join a book club. Get to know your librarian. Don’t just hide away and hope for the best.

Study craft.

You have to get your head back into it. But before you worry about publishing, or pitching, or blogging, or anything else … study craft. Get the books. Take the workshops. Check out the craft websites. Subscribe to the trade publications. It’s a lifelong learning curve, and a fascinating one. No one makes it just on “raw talent”. Craft can, and must, be learned. And remember this Taoist wisdom: When the student is ready, the teacher appears.

Read.

Take a deep dive into good writing, especially (but not exclusively) the kind you want to do yourself. The more I write, the more I read. It’s all part of the same process. But when you’re not writing – for whatever reason (don’t explain, I don’t want to know) – then pick up a book and read your heart out. It’s inspiring. And it teaches you while it entertains you.

Launch your comeback as a scheduled event.

When you’re ready to “come out” as a committed writer again, get some skin in the game. Go to a writers conference and sit in a room with HUNDREDS of other writers. There’s a whole writing community out there. Enjoy the contact high. Listen to the agents, the publishers, the editors, the other experts presenting … and learn. Take notes. Talk to everybody. Don’t be shy. Remember, if you write, you are a writer. Not a wannabe. Think of the whole shebang as a celebration of your return to the writing life. Wasn’t it nice of the conference organizers to hold it in your honour?

Make use of the momentum.

Anyone who’s ever gone to a good writers conference, ready to learn, comes away from it energized and inspired. Don’t waste the momentum. It doesn’t last forever. When you get home, write something. Immediately. Don’t wait more than a few days to get a new routine established and commit to your writing practice. I didn’t take advantage of my momentum after SIWC last year. It won’t happen that way this year.

This year I’m happy to say, “Hi, I’m back.”

 

 

Another POV: What do you see in your scenes?

Karalee’s Post #106

Sometimes I feel that writers are like jugglers. Or weavers. We need to understand so many aspects of the physical world, human behavior, animal behavior (if we write about animals), history, character back-story and on an on EVEN BEFORE we create our plot line and weave an intricate and entertaining story!

No wonder there are so many stumbling block on the journey to write a novel. With so many balls in the air to keep track of it is easy to let a few fall and roll away and not pay attention to them.

For me, learning the craft of writing was becoming aware of all these aspects and then throwing them up and trying them out like a juggler, then picking them up again and again to study them some more until they became familiar. Familiarity is a key.

Once I reached this point though,  I realized it wasn’t quite enough.

Understanding is a deeper level still. It’s like I can be familiar with and memorize the timetables and still not know what multiplication really is. When I understand the concept, then the whole system makes more sense and can be used with ease rather than a struggle.

POV can be like this.

At first I thought that POV only was for character POV. First person, third person, etc. It took work and practice to become better at writing in a character POV consistently and with enough variability to not become boring or confusing.

As I kept writing and learning the craft, another POV became evident and that’s scene POV. I have been familiar with the concept and wrote about it in a blog a few months ago, Thoughts about POV. You may want to have a look as I won’t rewrite my thoughts here. Since writing this post I’ve come to understand it better, therefore I can use it to my advantage with more ease and expertise.

Understanding why I choose either a close up or farther away scene POV makes the juggling act of keeping yet another writing craft aspect in the air a bit easier. And the more aspects a writer understands, the easier the juggling becomes.

This I believe, is how writing emerges from beginner to intermediate to expert, and stories become fuller and richer.

And of course, the writer is happier with the results too. Keeping all the balls in the air is very satisfying!

You may also want to check out C.S. Lakin’s Shoot Your Novel available on Amazon. She writes the blog Live Write Thrive and has many post on scene POV.

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Writing Progress: Not as much as I intended. I’m away for 3 weeks and will set a word count goal when I get back.

Writing Distractions:  

  1. getting ready for holidays with house preparation, dog grooming, larder stocking for my university going young adults, etc.
  2. Ongoing photo project.

Treats eaten: homemade ice cream – a taste of chocolate .

Movies/TV watched: Agent Carter series.

Books reading: downloaded a few for holidays.

Perspective Photos taken this week:

birdbath

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meeka smell tree

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy writing