FAILURE EQUALS SUCCESS?

pen and inkI can hear the wheels in your head screeching. What trick is this? Who would want failure? To give you a better picture, Winston Churchill has been quoted as saying, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

In my Georgia Romance Writers Group, we have a program that honors rejection letters and at the end of the year, the writer with the most rejections receives a prize. What does this mean to writers? You are busy writing and submitting your stories/novels. You are continuing to do this in an attempt to get published. Courage? You’d better believe it. Embarrassed? Why? You are working hard, getting rejected, and you keep writing and submitting and  rejected until that special letter or phone call comes in…we want you to send the FULL manuscript…this little statement has made all the hard work worthwhile. Still, it is not a done deal. So, you keep writing and writing and submitting and submitting. As a writer, this is the blood that flows through our veins and keeps us going. Is this failure? It depends on how a person looks at the situation and themselves. This could happen to anyone, not just writers.

You apply for a position and feel confident about the interview. A week or two goes by and you hear nothing. So you wait a few more days before you make the call. You learn another person, more qualified, has been hired. Do you stop looking at the employment ads or do you keep sending in applications. The FAILURE would stop, but SUCCESS keeps reading the want-ads. However, instead of answering a bunch of employment advertisements, you list your qualifications, past employment history, make certain these are what the position involves, and be prepared. This is working from the success side.

As writers, we are in the same position. We are told it will be a rough ride to publication, and yet we find ourselves sending query letters to agents who do not represent our genre or maybe we hope they overlook this area. Wrong. One of the first things we learn…read the rules and qualifications of the agent and see if your work fits the categories.

As you proceed in your search, no matter what area, take a good look at your skills. Are you familiar with new technology? Do you need to brush up on your computer skills? How long has it been since you attended any conferences or meetings? Do you belong to any networking areas, a book club, or groups in your church or neighborhood? Do you volunteer for any events? These are avenues of successful people. Failure is sometimes being lazy and hoping you’ll get recognized. Success is taking your measurements and making certain you update these often.

Failure is not the end, but the beginning of a new way of thinking, being, and doing. Setbacks are sure to come along the roads you travel, but you can handle a detour. Sometimes they are as important as a straight road.

Happy Journeys.  Happy Detours.  Happy Writing.

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WHAT IS YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?

An IdeaThis is a question where no real answer can be found. Why? It depends on the person and the field of creativity they choose.

We sometimes forget about the landscapers, home builders, clothing designers, or photographers. They also go through a creative process.

If you are an artist, your blank, white canvas can be over whelming. In your mind’s eye, you can see the colors and the vibrancy, but the brush held in your hand never moves. You are stuck.

As a writer, we open a blank page and stare.  In our minds, we know what we want to appear, but our fingers are sticky and do not slide over the keys. Yet, everything we do has a process and this includes becoming a creative writer.

First, you must decide what kind of writer are you? Is writing just a hobby to you or is writing something you HAVE to do, WANT to do, and WORK at becoming the best you can be? This is a crossroad only you can decide. When the passion of writing becomes your inner most desire, you can feel the need to improve and grow. This takes time and patience, and when this wears off, you turn to writing as a hobby. As a writer, you are challenged ever step of the way toward the best creative process for you.

You begin your creative process in learning the structure of writing, appreciate the skills you learn, and overcome the obstacles thrown in your path…frustration. Writing takes practice, more practice, and more writing. There are characters to develop, scenes to create, and yes, strong plots. You must have the conviction to start and complete your story. This is where confidence plays an important part of the process.

As the process continues, you must focus on grammar, sentence structure, story flow, and learn to rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. This is where your passion to create pushes your forward. No writer’s block or waiting for the muse, will make you stop writing. However, if there is a missing part to your story or nothing seems to fit right, go have some fun. You can take a long walk, but do something fun and let your stress disappear.

Time is another part of the process for the passionate writer. You are excited to hit the keys and watch your story take shape with each additional chapter. Some writers have the opportunity to write as a full-time job. Others work outside the home and schedule their writing around work, home, and family. No matter where you are, keep to your schedule, because this is your desire and you are excited to be a writer.

If you feel stuck, get yourself out and explore something different. You can try writing at a library, coffee shop, or whatever makes you feel comfortable around other people. Writing is a lonely venture, but you can change this and feel new energy in your writing.  Exercise your body and your mind together on a long walk. You will come back refreshed and ready to hit the keys.

What I’d love to hear from you is YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS. WHAT KEEPS THE ENERGIZER BUNNY INSIDE OF YOU GOING, GOING, AND GOING?

A CHARACTER’S JOURNEY

Two friends“Hey, Ethel look. Patricia has found us again. Thought for a while she’d forgotten where we were.” “No, she’d never do that. She just gave us a vacation,” Edna said, and smiled at her friend. Yeah, these two ladies have become characters that push me forward and give me ideas. But what about YOU?

Your characters now have names and are ready for action. What kind of growth or failures will you create for them? These actions will be determined by the genre of your story. Do not forget their education and clothes for the time period you choose. Take another look at their mannerisms. Is a female character always touching her hair, making certain not a strand is out-of-place? Does this mean she is prissy, self-centered, or trying to get attention. A male character might have a habit of jingling coins in his pockets. Would he be nervous, bored, or is this his way to show off? His career and his clothes tell who he is.

All characters will display their good and bad sides–tempers, smiles, thoughts, craftiness, tediousness, playfulness, serious or obsessiveness. How about a character who never tells the truth, but exaggerates every small detail. Keep these attributes in mind as you begin your story.These are not all of them, but a few to think through as you imagine your own creativeness. Now, think about how you will make the changes needed for your characters to grow? No, not age, rather how to mature and change their outlook on life, love, and living.

This is where the fun begins for the creative writer–be the character. Yeah, you read right. How do you think actors get their parts right for movies. They study, research and play with the character. They have no idea about the character until they get the script in their hands. Of course, it might be a famous person from years ago, but they still need to know the character they become for the movie. Take a character in your story and be that character for a few days. You can reverse roles from male to female. Observe all the people you meet until you feel comfortable with the people who might portray your characters. Study their movements, their facial expressions, their mannerisms, the way they handle different situations, and see if they fit your character or characters.

Make certain you look at all the people you see. No, really look, and be that person for a day. You will see so many sides of a person in such a short time. If you can’t remember everything, take a few notes, and then hit your computer for YOUR story. As you begin, you will find your creative side ready to tackle your characters.

This is what writing is all about–CREATING. Have fun with your characters and your story will begin to come alive on the page. And, if you have a hard time stopping, just do what your characters want.

HAVE FUN.  CREATE.  HAPPY WRITING.,