Another lovely do-it-yourself idea for spoiling your cats. (Via Facebook)
A glimpse into traditional upbringing for young men in the Regency. While Jasper and Aubrey definitely suffered this, Frederick (the love interest in An Innocent Secret) was exempted by his parents’ decision to tutor him at home.
Heroes (Interesting People)
This is the type of news story I’d like to see more of. People coming together to save a kitten in need. (Via Facebook)
A look at 10 beliefs that might be holding you back from going for your dreams. While I don’t agree with the concept of cutting yourself off from everything to gain more time, overall, it’s a good list to consider when determining if you’re undermining your own chances.
A pantser recounts what happened when she tried to be a plotter. A reminder to go with what works for you, not what everyone else is telling you to do. It’s how I ended up as an organized organic because traditional writing outlines don’t work for me. They’re too analytical rather than narrative-based.
I love the article about being a pantser. Elizabeth George has a method that seems to work for me. She figures out a few scenes at a time. If I remember correctly, she said for her, it’s about 50 pages ahead. I seem to be able to manage one scene ahead. I’ve long since accepted that I’ll never plot in advance.
The thing I have more trouble with these days is how crappy the stuff that’s right out of my head is. I really struggle with not editing it so I can stand to read it. But, there’s no point in editing stuff that may end up on the writer’s equivalent of the cutting room floor.
The dreams article suffers from one thing that has always bothered me. It’s exactly what you said-the idea that if you want to be successful, you have to focus totally on your dream, giving up everything else (except responsibilities like your full-time job). I’ve read advice like that from other people, too. One man suggested that you pay people to do your cooking, cleaning, and other chores so you have time to build your business. Your business is supposed to be successful enough to pay for those things. But that advice is useless to people who don’t have a business yet because they don’t have business-generated money to pay for those things. And, usually, don’t have enough personal funds, either.
But practical things aside, there’s one thing that’s totally lost when a person whose job depends on them putting pieces of themselves into their work follows that extreme advice. You lose your muse. Ideas and inspiration come from living life, not sitting in your studio creating your art. If you isolate yourself too much, the well runs dry. That’s one thing I learned from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. I don’t do scheduled “artist’s dates”, but I do try to make sure I get out into life and that I’m always trying new things.
You can also lose your muse if you focus too much on the business side of your business. I have a marketing course that recommends that you do nothing except the first part of the marketing course. No work on whatever you intend to create until after you’ve found your audience and they’ve told you what they want. I’ve been a little stuck on following through with that idea, mainly because what I will be marketing can’t be thrown together in a few days or a week, the way people whose businesses are things like life coach, marketing guru, etc. can. That leaves a huge time lag between when you get people interested and when you actually have something for them.
The other issue for me is that the business and marketing stuff bores me. If I ever make enough money to pay someone to do that stuff, with my guidance, I would do so before I pay someone to do the chores. I can come up with creative ideas while doing chores, but not while doing business stuff. If I’m not doing the creative stuff while I’m setting up the marketing and business stuff, I won’t do either. The marketing and business stuff can drain my creativity, if I do too much at one time.
I’m not a pantser, but I have a lot in common with pantsers because I am an organic writer, so I love to share the perspectives. Heck, I love to share directly contradictory things, not just to be contrary, but to get it into people’s heads that you can be different and still be right…for you.
As to the barriers, you hit the nail on the head with the comment about life coach, marketing guru, etc. A lot of those approaches are based on non-fiction writing and using writing to make a business in teaching, coaching, etc. This is why not everything works, but it’s worth sharing for those that do :).
What do you mean by “organic writer” and how does that differ from “pantser”? Thanks!
Ah, now that would take an essay :). The short version:
Pantser vs. Plotter = Jump in and expect your subconscious to drive the work vs. Plan everything in advance so you only have to worry about forming the words.
Organic = Let your subconscious drive the work at all points in the process.
My characters talk to me and tell me what works for them. Something like calculating the Goal-Motivation-Conflict of a sense makes no sense to my characters because they don’t know how they’re going to react until they’re in the thick of it. I can do the analytical stuff after the first draft is written by analyzing what they did and tweaking it, but doing it before the scene is written is a waste of time. I’d have better odds of winning a coin toss because the coin is not actively resistant. It’s just random.
Oh!!! That’s actually how I write. I follow my characters around and see what they do and what they’re thinking. Some of my best stuff comes out of interviewing my characters. And I often take every character in the scene and ask them to tell me what happened from their point of view. It makes everything take a long time, and it makes it all more complex, but it’s so much more interesting than pushing them around like puppets.
I’m not saying that plotters push their characters around like puppets, because I know they don’t. I’m saying that when I try to plot, that’s what I end up doing. And I never have a handle on who these people are. They’re not alive to me. So, that doesn’t work well when I write. After the fact, I can see what’s going on and tweak it in the editing process, but I can’t do that before I write something.
The thing is, to me, my characters are people. And like real people, I never know, nor can I predict, exactly what they’ll do, say, or how they will respond to what other characters do. I also cannot decide for them what will happen next. They ignore my pleas to do what’s needed for the plot and do whatever they want. Usually it’s better than my invented plot, anyway. So I let them have their head.
I have yet to meet a pantser who isn’t an organic, but not all organics are pantsers. I’m an organized organic. I pants my narrative outline which is like a super rough draft often written out of order (or rather at least in part written out of order which I then sort and then fill in the blanks until the story makes sense. Then I go in and let the characters fill in the details and how they react (some of which comes out when I outline, but not all). Rarely on the big stuff, but it still happens when my characters say the outline doesn’t make sense so I have to abandon that section for new stuff.
That’s really interesting, Margaret. 🙂
As I said, I should write an essay sometime :D.