There are many support systems a writer can turn to and some of them may be as close as the next room. A few years ago when i wrote my first science fiction screenplay Paradox, I received great motivation and insight from my poetry writing, movie going thirteen year old daughter Catherine. You wouldn’t expect that from a young teen, but her suggestions were invaluable.
After reading my script, Catherine recommended changes in dialogue responses that added conflict and foreshadowing to many scenes. Her observations about my characters helped me build better secondary characters, a delicious antagonist that everyone will love to hate, and kept my protagonist always in character. Later when I adapted Paradox to novel format, she suggested tweaks to dialogue that improved characterization. Her poetry writing habit of always searching for the right word improved my manuscript with a few minor words changes.
My arduous journey to publication may be a lonely one, but at least I had my number one fan in my corner.
As if writers didn’t already have enough obstacles in the way with slush piles, difficulties in finding an agent, and keeping up with the latest demands of the market, we also have to face the difficulty of distractions. Nowadays, with social media taking up more of our precious time, its a miracle anyone gets anything done. (Victor Hugo didn’t have to worry about twitter or updating his Facebook status. If he did, Quasimodo may have suffered from carpal tunnel syndrome instead.)
To avoid the daily distractions of our lives: the noisy kids, quality time with the spouse (Sorry, honey you are never a distraction), the TV, etc. I made it a habit to get up an hour or two earlier than everyone else. Early morning quiet time that I share with my laptop and my favorite coffee mug have provided countless hours of productivity. (If you are a night bird do the opposite go to bed an hour later than everyone else.) It may not seem like much, but if you train your body and mind, you will be productive.
Remember this, while an hour a day may not seem like much, you can only write one page at a time. There have been days where I write five ages in than hour and there are days where I barely complete a single one. If you write one page per day you will have 365 pages at the end of one year (that is roughly 91,000 words).
You need to find a system that works for you and write.
Top Ten Reasons You Know You Are A Writer
10 – You overhear a conversation about a plot at the cemetery and your mind automatically thinks horror story.
9 – Your stories at the dinner table are always character driven.
8 – The question “What have you published?” can be as annoying as your third grade teacher running her fingernails across the chalkboard.
7 – You complain because the conversations at a dinner party sound nothing like dialogue.
6 – You assume exhibitionists are great writers since they prefer to show instead of tell.
5 – The last time you received this many rejections was at your senior prom.
4 – Every time you watch a good movie or finish a great book your first words are, “I wish I wrote that.”
3 – You miss your bus stop because you were too busy writing an imaginary description of the eccentric lady sitting across from you.
2 – You ask the waiter at your favorite restaurant why there is no page numbering on their menu.
1 – Naming a secondary character in your manuscript provides a greater challenge than naming your unborn child.
This happened to me several years ago. I queried the literary agent for one of my favorite authors. The agent called me two days later asking me for three sample chapters. The chapters were dropped off at the concierge desk the next morning. Later that week he called me, bursting with excitement assuring me my novel would reach the big screen. He wanted the entire novel dropped off Monday morning.
With visions of a six figure deal, book signings, and my Oscar acceptance speech dancing in my head, I sat down to begin the printing process. Murphy’s cruel law reared its ugly head and my computer died. The next day I rushed out to purchase a new computer and saw the first 17 inch monitors on display (I did say this was several years ago). It was a heavy monstrosity with built-in speakers on the side. I have friends who hurt their back and others who suffered hernias carrying heavy things. Not me. I tore my retina.
Emergency surgery reattached my retina, but I suffered from blurred vision for several years. I stopped writing. How could I overcome the obstacle of blurred vision? Today, I regret those lost years. This past December on the eve of Christmas Eve I tore the same retina. My second surgery, like my first, left me with blurred vision. This time I refuse to stop writing and querying. I refuse to make that mistake again.
Why did I chose the name the Lonely Author blog? If you are a writer you already know the answer, or should I say you have already lived the answer? Hour upon hour sitting before a laptop, stringing words together to form sentences. Writing paragraphs full of emotion and tension. Filling up blank pages with nouns, verbs, and adjectives in hopes of eliciting a response in our readers. Unaccompanied moments certain we have written prose as sweet as honey, fighting the angry demons inside our skulls who assure us we only created Blasphemy, Bullshit, and Beyond.
My objective is to create an inspirational depot for the weary writer to seek asylum. Hopefully, I can motivate unpublished authors after they receive another rejection note. Maybe my blog will combat the dreaded creature known as writer’s block. At the very least, I expect to make you smile. Perhaps, if nothing else, this blog will allow me to cling to my fragile sanity as I struggle to be heard.