On Compromising

When trying to break into the literary sphere where and what should you compromise, if anything?

Well, firstly though it may seem like compromising it may just be becoming more flexible, or branching out. Writing in different genres, perhaps in genres we’re not 100% comfortable with brings it’s challenges, as well as probably, fear. I think the process of writing something new is exciting, it helps us to explore our potential as writers. And the craft of writing poses risks anyway, such as: is this piece going to sell? is it well written? can I improve this before I send it out? I don’t necessarily think it’s a good idea to pigeon hole ourselves to one genre or style of writing, yes we can specialise in a particular area but being open is a trait a writer should really advocate.

Writing for free: good idea or bad idea? Writing for free does have it’s drawback of-course, I’m not denying that. Isn’t it better though, to be published somewhere even if it was for free? Surely it’s better to be published somewhere rather than nowhere? I’ll admit this is a new attitude for me as I know understand it’s necessity. It is a building block. So this is my new plan: to get as much of my writing out there as possible, and see where it takes me.

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Out with the old and in with the new

Hello,

Well as the title suggests this blog post is about change. Change is an important aspect of our everyday lives, if we embrace it we can move forward and if we ignore it we face the possibilty of being stuck in a rut, or living in the past. Some changes are easier to embrace than others, but is all change good? We’re told to believe that accepting change is healthy. If this is the case then why do some changes leave us feeling a little worse for the where?

Having always been financially independant, starting my own business: writing, has left me having to deal with change i’m not all that comfortable with. And that change is money. Why is it that money leaves a lot of people (me included) trapped in a fog of pride and/or resentment. Why is it that money is so important? We are told from a young age that money can’t buy happiness and the best things in life are free. Is this really the case? Ask yourself this: what do I enjoy doing most of all? It may be spending time with family/friends, but is this activity really free? My family don’t live really close by, so everytime I consider seeing them I have to factor in the costs of transport. See what I mean?

Another new challenge i’ve found myself facing is finding motivation. When I  first started writing as a job I was thoroughly enthused, but lately I have found myself lacking motivation, which is terrible. I’m doing what I’ve always dreamt of doing, so why should there be problems?  The answer is this: nothing in life is easy. I have to force myself to be motivated. And my impatience really doesn’t help! 🙂

Where do you find creative inspiration?

Simple answer: Everywhere!

The most useful creative inspiration as awful as it sounds, is through heartache. When people have let me down or hurt me it changes me in such a way that I want to write about it. I will include how I felt in certain circumstances to explore a character’s feelings in another. Having experienced heartache makes us better equipt to write about it. As the old saying goes ‘write what you know’.

Frustration at people, there’s another source of creative inspiration. How people act to really get my back up helps me to create the ‘baddies’ if you will. But of-course in fiction they are taken to the extreme. In situations where I’m frustrated when I look back on it I find myself asking the question ‘What would have happened if? and ‘What has driven this person to act in such a way?’ and then the imagination does the rest.

Another old saying goes ‘happiness writes white’, in other words people generally aren’t interested in reading about people that are happy and have no problems, because, well, to be honest where’s the story? Stories are often centred around a character facing a specific problem.

I’m also certain that there’s some kind of theraputical advantage in doing this too.

Creation, Deletion and Patience

A note on Creation, Deletion and Patience:

Creation ~ Writers create. They create characters, situations and even whole worlds. In the world of fiction the writer has total freedom. This can sometimes be daunting, but it is a beautiful thing. We have the chance to change a character’s life in a positive or negative way. We can help them make mistakes, learn lessons and heal rifts.

One school of thought believes that writing can be cathartic, that it can help us channel emotions and thoughts deep inside us. What can often appear to be total fiction can in fact have a flavour of the writer, it can have elements of a biographical nature. No writing exists in a vacuum. We cannot help but be influenced by the world around us, by people we meet and by situations we find ourselves in. Therefore as a writer it is important to live, to experience new things and interact with new people. But, here comes th irony: a writer’s occupation can often be isolating. You can be sat at a computer desk for hours, alone, with nothing but your own thoughts. Being this introspective can of-course aid your writing as it helps us tap into our subconscious, as we are in more of a relaxed state of mind. Yet, can we really write about people, can we create whole 3-dimensional characters when we are working in this environment? I think, personally, that there needs to be a balance between concentrated ‘alone-time’ if you will, and time outside, getting new ideas and being inspired.

Deletion ~ Also known as editing. But my editing consists mainly of cutting out bits I don’t like, sometimes adding new bits but mainly cutting out. This process of cutting out superfluous or just bad writing helps the piece become more centred. In taking out bits that are superfluous the piece then only concentrates on what’s important. As a writer you have to ask yourself  ‘is this sentence actually necessary?’, ‘does it add anything important?’. Bad writing, writing that’s just been jotted down in idea format is helpful as it focuses on what needs to be there in it’s place, but served the purpose in the draft. It acts as a signposting system for you later.

Patience ~ As a writer you need this in abundance. This is where I struggle, I will be honest. Patience to go through drafts again and again with a fine toothed comb. Patience to write and keep writing without getting frustrated that you can’t write it at this moment in time as well as you want to. When I was at university my creative writer tutor told me to write and keep writing, even if it’s rubbish you have something to work from. These are very wise words and I continue to force my hand to keep writing even when I’m not sure what exactly it is that I’m trying to say or where exactly it’s trying to go.

The Wheel Turns

Greetings!

So, on to the meeting: it went well. My business advisor was very happy with the progress I had made on my business plan, and with my market research. He is trying to get me signed up to an event called ‘Bedroom to Boardroom’ which is all about social media and business which sounds very useful! I’ve also been given some homework: to look into other writing contributions such as article writing and content writing for websites. And to comprise a list of all the costs involved in my business such as: postage, paper, ink etc and most importantly time and how I am going to pay myself.

Happily though I now feel free to write. I’ve written a short story today, in a genre I’m not familiar with to be honest but really enjoyed writing. The genre is fiction but aimed at an older audience, it has to focus on people and be heartwarming, and hopefully I’ve done that.

My plans for tomorrow are to find a publication for the short story I’ve now edited from last week, and see if I can find some others I have too and find publications for those.

It feels lovely to be able to write freely. This is definitely what I want to do and I really hope I can make a success of it. I’ve given myself a target of 6 months to see if the business can support itself.

Onwards and upwards!

Progress my dear, progress

Good morning!

Well, I’ve been something of a busy bee of late. I’ve now completed the majority of my market research for my short story writing and freelance work! There’s a lot more opportunities out there than I originally thought, so I’m feeling optimistic 🙂 I’ve complied a list of magazines I feel I can contribute to, what their individual guidelines are (word count, genre etc) and emailed editors my queries.

Yesterday I finally filled in my business plan proposal, which was considerably easier than I imagined. I suppose it’s harder for those who are selling a product or service that has costs attributed to them. I got away with not filling in the financial forecasts as I thought it not really appropriate for my market area.

I have also completed a writing sample and a short story ready to send off once I’ve registered with the HMRC, and have now applied for my first freelance writing gig.

Today is my first business planning meeting, where I’ll be assigned a business mentor. I’ve got all my materials together and am just about to write a list of questions to take in with me.

Wish me luck!

It’s all going on!