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Archive for the ‘goals’ Category

count blessings memeWe’ve probably all heard the expression, “Don’t count days, make the days count.” Well, I believe that’s a good motto. It reminds us to be thankful every single day for all of the blessings that happen around us, most of which, sadly, we don’t even pay attention to. (more…)

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Calling myself a writer these days is a stretch since it’s been a very long while since I’ve actually written anything besides a blog post. Of course I’ve had a very good reason, with my recent cancer diagnosis and subsequent poor mental and physical health as a result, but still, I need to get back in the saddle so to speak.

woman laying on couch

Because my energy has been at an almost imperceptible level, I’ve tried to spend my time reading short chapters and articles rather then getting engrossed in a novel. Yes, I haven’t even had the energy or desire to read, that’s how bad off I’ve been.

But, treatment is going well and I’ve to the worst behind me. So, I’m trying to get back into not only reading, but writing. It’s been hard.

Writers are our own worst critics, especially those of us who strive for perfection. I once read an “inspirational” quote that I tried to apply to my life: If you reach perfection, aim higher. Well folks, that can be paralyzing. In fact, it’s counter-intuitive if you want to publish a book. At some point, that book is going to have to be good enough. I understand that the quote is encouraging us to try to improve and be better every day, but when it comes to a manuscript, throw that advice out the window.

woman at computer

I’ve had a hard time wrapping my brain around that concept though. Good enough.  What is good enough? That means I’m settling right? I’m not trying hard enough? WRONG. I’ve been putting my best foot forward with my writing since the day I typed my first sentence. I attend workshops, read books on craft, watch videos from “experts,” all necessary things to improve my craft. By doing these things I’m trying harder, I’m aiming higher.

Recently I read an article written by Roseanne Bane entitled: “Good enough, may be the best thing for your writing.” Say what? That article started with this quote: “The best is oftentimes the enemy of the good; and many a good book has remained unwritten . . . because there floated before the mind’s eye the ideal of a better or a best.” – R.C. Trench, 1861. I read that sentence a dozen times before it dawned on me. That’s me. I’m preventing my own publishing journey because I’m holding out for something better.

roadblock sign

The article went on to say, “If you refuse to accept good enough, you can’t move on.” That’s right, I’m becoming paralyzed by my goal to reach perfection. I have to allow myself to be more vulnerable, to take more risks and just let my above-average writing speak for myself. After all, not everyone is going to like my book even if it is perfect. I need to remember that I’m not writing for everyone, I’m writing for those people who believe my work is perfection. For every person who doesn’t like what I write, there’ll be at least one person who does.

vulnerable quote

Shortly after I read the above article I read this passage in a book called “The Irresistible Novel,” by Jeff Gerke, which I highly recommend by the way: “It is inevitable that you will encounter people who will say you’ll never get published if you do (or don’t do) X, Y, and Z . . . I hope you understand that these people are merely giving their preferences, their opinions, and their own person brand of paralysis. ” That really resonated with me because I do hear so many differing opinions on what you should and shouldn’t do as a writer. Also, I hear all the things you absolutely should not do and then I read book after book where those “taboo” things occur repeatedly. Say what? It’s confusing. How did they get published if you absolutely should not do those things? Why can they do it, but I can’t?

don't do it sign

Mr. Gerke went on to say: “If you keep letting the “experts” cause you to doubt yourself, you’ll end up in misery.” Exactly! He wrote that “. . . at some point you have to stop being so flexible and just decide how you want to write the thing.” It is my book after all. I like that Mr. Gerke.

I know my manuscripts are better than a lot of books out there on the market, and there are millions. I’ve read several books lately that really should not have been published without another good proofreading or round of edits. I’ve read books with weak plots, boring characters, confusing dialogue. I know my books are better than that.

So, bottom line. I’m going to take a look at my manuscripts with a different perspective. Sure, I have to edit out the bad grammar and typos, but as far as the story goes . . . I’m going to believe it’s “good enough.” I’ve read them umpteen times. Beta readers have read them. Critique groups have read them. I’ve even had editors read them. It’s time to let actual readers read them.

the irresistible novel

It’s time to take Mr. Gerke’s advice – I have to stop being so flexible and just decide how I want to write the thing. Bam. Done.

Look for something from me later this year. There, I’ve said it. Now, I have to do it. Right? You’ll all hold me accountable?

leap of faith

So, tell me readers, are you perfectionists? How do you know when your craft is “good enough?” What advice resonated with you for anything that created a change for the better?

Word of the day: uglification

Fun fact about me: I didn’t read a single Christmas novel this past year. (I barely read anything for the past 3 months of the year.)

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, January 2018. Photos courtesy Google Images.

 

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morning sunriseIt’s the beginning of a brand spanking shiny new year, full of hope and promise. That means, out with the old habits and in with the new resolutions. Lose weight, exercise more, eat healthier, save more money, blah, blah, blah. You all know the drill. (more…)

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bad day memeWe all have bad days. It happens. Today is a bad day for me. I knew it was going to be. But, instead of dwelling on it, I’m making an effort to fill my day with as much joy as possible. Dancing brings me joy. Not MY dancing so much, although I do enjoy hoofing it occasionally. But watching really good dancers do their thing. That brings me joy. (more…)

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Usually I like to “work ahead.” I do things today that will make my life easier tomorrow. Like chopping onions or veggies for dinner or putting together a casserole for breakfast.

food prep

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Folks, we all know there’s a lot of negativity floating around the world today. It’s everywhere and social media is a super powered magnet for anyone to state their biased opinions without showing their faces to another human being. It’s cowardly if you think about it. (more…)

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solar eclipseWell – today’s the big day. The day we’ve been hearing so much about. A day no one has seen since 2009. A day not to be repeated for another two years (according to Google, if you can believe Google). Can you feel the anticipation? The sky goes dark. Temperatures drop. Birds and animals go quiet. For those of you who’ve been living in a cave, today there will be a total eclipse of the sun in certain parts of the United States. In most states, there will only be a partial eclipse, thanks to the fickle new moon, who only wishes to travel in a straight line across the middle of the nation. (more…)

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mother reading to childIt’s no secret that writers love books. Most are book hoarders if you want to know the truth. Books are our crack. My love affair with books began at a very young age. I blame my mother. She used to read to me every single night even after I was more than able to read by myself. It was our nighttime ritual.  (more…)

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lady working outExercise is not my favorite activity. I know it’s a necessary evil and I know there are great benefits to be had from daily partaking in this event. But, I don’t like it. Over the years I’ve tried to find a form of exercise that I enjoy. (more…)

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I hate liars memeThe one thing I hate, probably more than anything else in the world, is lying and liars. I hate being lied to. I hate hearing other people telling lies. Lies are ugly, hurtful and sometimes, dangerous. And lies are never necessary with me. I’m a nice person, just tell me the truth. I can handle it. (more…)

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