Saturday, July 29, 2017

In the spirit of community

The other day, Victoria Marie Lees at the "Adventures in Writing: One Woman’s Journey" blog kindly recognized my blog and ten others. I so appreciate her nice words. Victoria blogs about the challenges of the writing life, especially those of writing a memoir.

Although I don’t generally participate in blog awards circuit, in the spirit of community I wanted to take this opportunity to answer a couple of the questions Victoria posed—the ones to which I thought I could give answers that might be of interest—and to recommend a few other blogs.

Q: What is the hardest part of writing for you? Why?

A: I think that for most people, the answer to this question changes over time--it certainly does for me. For a while it might be getting started. Then it might be revision. Then it might be dealing with feedback. For me right now, it’s simply finding ideas that I feel are worth committing to. I’ve written some of the books that I had carried around in my head for years; they’re out there in the world. I’ve said what I wanted to say on those topics. The ideas that are on my mind now—will anyone care? And is writing them more important than other ways I could spend my time?

Q: How do you push forward when the inner critic won’t shut up?

A: This can take a variety of strategies. One is to visualize the inner critic lying down and going to sleep, or walking out the door, or whatever is necessary to quiet that voice. Another is to thwart self-consciousness by saying, “I only have to write this now. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Nobody else may ever see it. I just have to get it down—I’ll worry later about how to edit it, or whether anyone else should see it, or what they might think.” The worries about quality and what other people think can be put off until later. Procrastination pays off for once!

Q: How do you keep the wolves…ahem…I mean convince your children or other people to leave you alone to write? Does it work? Provide tips—please!

A: I don’t have young children at home, and my husband respects my writing time. (My cat, on the other hand, has been known to meow incessantly, claw at my chair, and walk across my keyboard.) But even if live distractions can’t be minimized, one can log off email, turn off alerts. Turn off the phone or designate one person in the house to answer any phone calls and only interrupt the writing if there’s an actual emergency.

And here, as promised, are some other writers’ blogs you may enjoy, all of which feature thoughtful posts on the writing (and reading) life (a small sample of the blogs I follow):

Jody Casella's "On the Verge" 
Beth Kephart Books 
Laurel Garver's "Laurel's Leaves"
Kelly Ramsdell Fineman's "Writing and Ruminating"
Cynthia's "Read is the New Black" 
Natalie Whipple's "Between Fact and Fiction"


  1. My experience mirrors yours, Jenn: sometimes the hardest part is getting started, sometimes it's revision, etc. Every single project has a different process.

    Congrats on the recognition for your thoughtful posts!

    1. Thanks. It's fascinating how much the writing process can differ from project to project, and evolve over time. There's a saying about how writing a book only teaches you to write *that* book!

  2. As I've said, Jennifer, you certainly deserve an award for all you do to assist your fellow writer. Thanks for participating in the award process and thank you for your kind words and shout out to my blog. It's appreciated more than you realize. I agree that the hardest part of writing can shift from project to project. I'd like to add that, for me, sometimes it's getting the action details concisely written and threaded into the story without bogging down the pace can be troublesome. I write short story YA adventure.

    I follow some of the blogs you mention. I’ll need to add the rest. Congratulations again, Jennifer. You deserve it!

  3. I am so immensely flattered that you named my blog in your post, Jennifer! Thanks for the shout out. =)

    I like your advice about the inner critic,about imagining them becoming dormant. Sometimes I think my inner critic is who I imagine my worst critic would be. I wonder if that was what Stephen King was thinking about when he wrote MISERY.

    1. If so, King may have the worst inner critic of all!