Sunday, February 10, 2008

Own It

Okay, if you want the dream, you have to own the dream.

This mebbe not-so-bright-because-it's-really-durned-obvious homily occurred to me this morning as I was wearing my Mean Editormentor Hat---for all of I dunno, 5 minutes, as I answered an email from one of "my" authors. And the thoughts I was thinking as I answered said email weren't necessarily directed at the author.

No, they were directed to myself. And it's a bit of advice I gave my CP this past week (that cackling laughter you hear isn't your computer exploding, it's my CP laughing her batty butt off at me, because she told me this last night herself---when I was too high on blue Pine Sol fumes to do much more than write 394 words on the WIP). Ready? Here goes. (And you may quote me on this.)


Just Write The F*****g Damn Book.

Not that I think the "F" word or "damn" applies to my WIP, of course. It's the sentiment behind those words: Just DO IT!

I thought I'd make a couple of lists to show myself how getting it done is just a matter of personal perspective. I call these the Failure List and the Success List.

The Failure List

1. Worry every day that you're not going to make your goal. Spend time staring at the screen unseeingly. Do not under any circumstances touch that keyboard!

2. Dwell on your weaknesses as a writer.

3. State your goal in the negative rather than the positive: "I will never make my goal of finishing this WIP by March 1, 2008"--for example.

4. Keep up a constant stream of "stinkin' thinkin'" so you don't have to own your dream. Leaves you a way out for that inevitable failure, doncha know.

5. Be a slave to the "Way It Should Be Done." Only write in order: chapter 1, chapter 2, chapter 3 and so on. Don't skip around. It's confusing.

The Success List

1. Write every day, even if it's one sentence. That's one sentence closer to achieiving your goal.

2. Dwell on your strengths as a writer as you write. For those areas you think you're weak in, this is a wonderful learning opportunity. How are you going to turn weaknesses into strengths if you don't practice, study, learn and grow?

3. State your goal only in the positive: "I will have the rough draft of this WIP done by March 1, 2008"--for example. (Also bear in mind that you have a life outside writing. Kids get sick, spouses get sick, you get sick, family emergencies occur-- be realistic in setting your goal to begin with, and be don't think you're a failure if outside circumstances force you to readjust your goal either by changing your date or changing the time committment you can put towards reaching the goal. The world won't end because you didn't meet your goal--this I know from personal experience.)

4. Own the dream. It's yours, only you can attain it. Set yourself up for success.

5. Write in whatever manner gets the job done. Stuck on ending chapter 5, but your fingers are itching to write the black moment? WRITE THE BLACK MOMENT. In the rough draft stage, the purpose is to get the words on the screen/on paper, so get them written! You can ALWAYS go back to change, revise, adit or delete later.

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