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Posts Tagged ‘rules’

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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I need a lesson in Facebook etiquette.

FB rules

I mean, think about it, anybody can join Facebook but when you sign up you aren’t handed a list of rules or an instruction manual or anything. So how does one know, besides the obvious common sense stuff like pornography, copyright infringement, bullying, etc., what is appropriate FB behavior and what is not?  People post whatever the hell they want whether others wish to see it or not; freedom of speech and press and whatnot. I know you can unfriend and unlike and hide posts and all, but once you’ve seen the post, you can’t unsee it. But that’s not what I’m talking about.

Let me explain.

rules

Recently I decided that I haven’t been giving my FB author page enough love, so I decided to spend a little more time over there. I try to be upbeat and positive and not offend anyone when I post on that particular page. Nothing religious, political, offensive, snarky – well maybe snarky – but you get it. Anyway, I decided to reach out to some of my FB “friends” who haven’t yet “liked” my author page. So, I sent out invitations to “like” my page. That’s appropriate right? There were a lot of names on my “friends” list to invite; some of them, honestly, I didn’t even recognize. I guess at some point those folks requested to be my friend and I accepted.

Anyhoo, most people either ignored the invite, didn’t see the invite, or “liked” my page. Good right? Well, apparently not for everyone. Here’s one of the responses I got back: “Please don’t invite me to like your page when you haven’t been to mine.

Excuse me?

woman shocked

First of all, I’ve never even heard of this person, other than their name appearing on my “friends” list. I’ve never seen any posts on any social media platform from this person. I guess at some point, SHE must have come across me and requested that I be her friend, because I never send “friend” requests to people I haven’t seen somewhere else before. NEVER. Assuming she sent the “friend” request (and she did), I must have done some snooping around and deemed her an appropriate “friend”, because she is on my current list of “friends.” I usually only “friend” people I’ve “seen around” in cyber world, met in person, was recommended to find by someone I trust, or owns a reputable business. That’s pretty much it.

Second, why did she make the assumption I “haven’t been to” her page? Maybe I did visit and I chose NOT to “like” it. See, this is where that rule book would come in handy. Am I obligated to “like” a page just because I visited it? What if I truly don’t like her page? What if I don’t like what she posts or what she stands for? Why in God’s name would I “like” that?

Which brings up another point where I must defer to the rule book. Is it a requirement that people reciprocate in kind? I mean, just because someone “likes” my page, does that mean I HAVE to like their page?

egotistical friend meme

Third, why do I have to “like” her page FIRST? I mean, can’t she “like” me and then I “like” her back? I guess if the world really does revolve around her, that logic would make sense, but seriously? Someone has to be the first to “like” right? And, let me restate that SHE originally sought me out, not the other way around. Shouldn’t she, in theory, “like” me first?

Fourth, did she ever invite me to “like” her page? I’m pretty sure if she had, I would have hit the “like” button, after all, I did choose to “friend” her. Why would I “friend” her but not “like” her? Seriously, who “friends” someone they don’t like?

Fifth, which ties in to number four above, perhaps I didn’t even know she had a page. Why not “like” me FIRST then encourage me to “like” her page in return. I’m pretty certain, I’d have hit that “like” button. See how simple that would have been? Now, after her in-your-face, egotistic, narcissistic (is that the same thing?) comment, I’m not so inclined to “like” anything about her or her page. Just saying.

ego meme

It’s all so terribly confusing sometimes. What’s your opinion of the whole “friending,” “liking” business on Facebook? Has it ever confused you? How do you decide when to hit the button and become friends with a complete stranger? Do you accept invitations to “like” pages? Do you have “friends” but choose not to “like” their pages?

Word of the Day: Chiropodist

Fun Fact about Me: I gained a whole bunch of new “likes” on my FB author page in the past couple of days. Yay! (That’s good right?)

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, September 2016. Images courtesy Google Images.

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