Nov 1, 2010

Keep it Moving Forward

It's easy to lose sight of the forest through the trees whether in the middle of a WIP [work in progress], or in the middle of the road to attaining end goals. Between the mileposts we sometimes get lost. Or frustrated. Or both.

I've learned it's fine to muddle through a first draft, but then I must come back and do the prep work - outlines and the like - so I can focus the raw material into something better. At some point organization and a plan has to come in. I used to run away at the thought. Fearing to stymie my creativity. But funneling my creation into planned directions makes for a much better end result. My best plotting is done in the midst of writing. I understand brilliant flashes of inspiration only come to me while writing. So, I must learn to let myself fly on the first draft [getting it done much faster] then putting most of the work into the later revision. That's where all the prep work will happen for me. This plan is made based upon knowing myself. Know yourself and plan accordingly to accommodate strengths and weaknesses.

Signs will come. If you keep submitting and keep working, they will come. I advanced from 'Dear Writer' to 'Dear Mary' then onto, 'submit again'. Now I've gotten two 'revise and resubmits' this month. Progress.

Take any feedback as a gift, because it is. Especially if it comes from editors or other writers or avid readers. If someone takes the time to give you some, it is probably because they see something promising to nurture. That's good news not bad.

Whatever your natural gift, it is folly to think it doesn't need honing. Between the online aspiring author community, workshops, my writers guild and critique group, I have planned in forward movement. By keeping an open mind, I keep growing and improving.

The workshop I attended mid-October with Elizabeth Lyon gave me several ahas. Ahas keep me moving forward.

As a result, I've been reading Scene & Structure by Jack M. Bickham, and Manuscript Makeover by Elizabeth Lyon. Both very useful tools if you haven't read them. Using this new learning in my 'revise and resubmits'. Will also use it in the revision of my second novel. Sometime in the future, on the first, too.

Determination and tenacity count. Persistance counts. Keep plugging away and build in forward momentum. Where there's a will there's a way. Be willing to keep your mind open and keep honing. And be aware many published authors never sold their first novel, or their 5th. Some did not find success until #9 or later. I find solace in that. Hope you do, too.

What have you been doing to move forward?