Saturday, November 29, 2014

Just Keep Going


Kathleen Kaska
Fifth Saturday Blogger
Do you ever have days, or even weeks, when writing seems a chore? The passion and enjoyment you usually experience went south? You spend more time online “researching” than writing just one decent sentence?
            My muse must have found something better to do the last few weeks than inspire, encourage, and prod me. I’m not sure, but I think she went to Spain for a vacation.
            Something had to give, so I loosened my purse strings and attended the Write on the Sound Writer’s Conference in the picturesque, waterside community of Edmonds, Washington. Despite signing up early, several workshops that interested me were already closed. I almost didn’t register, but I told myself to be open-minded. As it turned out, I came away with valuable information from every workshop and a fresh attitude toward my writing.
            Here, in a nutshell, is what I gleaned from the conference:  
*    Stay off the internet. Okay, that’s not always practical or possible, but I realized how easy it was to close the document I was working on and rush to Google for a bit of research. Now, I make a list of things I need to look up and do it in one fell swoop at the end of my writing day rather than interrupt the flow.
*    Self-promotion is overrated. I scoffed when I heard this, but the presenter went on to explain how important it was to target specific audiences rather than used the scattershot approach. In other words, promote wisely.
*    Don’t write for free. That was another tidbit I scoffed at. True, the publishing world has changed and we often write for free when we blog. But, it got me to thinking about the freelancing I used to do and the money it brought in. So, I dusted off my Writer’s Market and set a goal to get back to freelancing.
*    Simultaneous submissions are okay. That was a relief to hear, but to be sure, I checked out the current issue of Writer’s Market and learned that most publishers do accept simultaneous submissions. It’s about time. After all, we don’t have five hundred years to live.
*    Don’t set the bar too low, or your writing won’t improve. This is most important. When I was teaching, we had a saying: “If you think you’ve learned everything you need to know about this profession, then it’s probably time for you to retire.” I realized that I’d become complacent about my writing. I decided to try my hand at the new mystery I’d been pondering for a few years. It’s a serious story about a PI suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. I’m used to writing light, humorous stories. This was a real stretch. I started off writing it in first person, and as a challenge, I switched to third person. I now have close to 15,000 words and my motivation level is off the charts.
            My muse is back from vacation, too. She even brought me a gift—a new motto: “Just Keep Going.” Now I’m writing several hours a day. It feels good. I’m happy. Case closed.

9 comments:

Patricia Gligor said...

Great advice, Kathleen! I think we all go through those times but doesn't it feel fantastic when they're over and we're back on track again?

Kathleen Kaska said...

Thanks, Patricia. We grab whatever tricks we can find. Nice hearing from you.

Kathleen Kaska said...

Thanks, Patricia. We grab whatever tricks we can find. Nice hearing from you.

Alice Duncan said...

This post really resonated with me because my muse deserted me a year or so ago. I keep plugging, but I'd rather win the lottery and quit. Sigh.

Kathleen Kaska said...

Hang in there, Alice. I believe all work is eventually rewarded.

Sunny Frazier said...

I think my muse partied in Spain with yours. Time to revoke her passport and get her back home.

Kathleen Kaska said...

I've have a better idea, Sunny. We should join them in Spain.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

The only way to get over writers block is to sit down and write.

Kathleen Kaska said...

Well said, Marilyn.