I’ve been discovering blogs by successful and aspiring authors chronicling their adventures in writing and/or sharing their wisdom and it has inspired me. It’s sparked my desire to get back to what this blog is supposed to be about – chronicling not only my adventures and thoughts on life but my successes and struggles as I write my first novel. This blog, a creative outlet to help spark my writing, wasn’t supposed to be my only writing adventure but that’s exactly what it’s become.
First, I came across Kristen Lamb’s Warrior Writers blog and BAM, I was inspired to get back to my driving force, the point of it all: the writing. In yesterday’s post, Author Nightmares–Product Trumps Promotion, she totally hit the nail on the head. In part of her post, she wrote:
Blogging is probably THE best way to build a platform, but we must always be vigilant that it does not take over our main job…writing books. Blogging is instant gratification, whereas a novel or even a NF book might not give us warm fuzzies for months or even years. It is very easy to get so focused on the blogging, that the real writing never happens.
Blogging can be a short-term high that can sabotage long-term success. There are few things that will make you feel better about your career than watching your following grow on your blog. But the point of all of this social media stuff is to eventually sell our books. Otherwise we are working for free and then we are right back where we started. We are hobbyists and not true professionals.
Ah – so true Kristen – thank you very much for the reality check. Since I started blogging, the novel-writing has been put on hold. This post got me asking myself “Natalie, what is the point? Do you still want to write a novel? And if so, why haven’t you committed to it yet? There is room for blogging and novel-writing in your life if you want there to be.”
Then I came across Albert Berg’s Unsanity Files blog and his post entitled Eat Your Lima Beans: The Importance of Becoming the Writer You Aren’t. It was like he knew exactly what I needed to hear in that very moment and wrote me an inspirational post to help get my writing juices flowing again. In part of his post, he wrote:
But recently I’ve come to realize that what I like doesn’t really matter. I realized I needed to approach my writing like I approached mom’s dinner. It’s fine to enjoy the good stuff, the stuff you really love, but sometimes you’ve got to eat some Lima beans too.
But the odds are good there’s some other aspect of writing you fall short at. And that is the thing you’re going to have to conquer if you want to become a truly great writer.
Doing what comes naturally is easy. We can play from our strengths all day long. But playing from our strengths isn’t going to make us great. If we aspire to greatness we’re going to have to learn to work through our weaknesses.
The writer we are is the core of our strengths, the essence of our love of the craft. But the writer we are isn’t enough. We have to reach out to the things we don’t like, the areas of the craft that make us wary and uncomfortable and learn to embrace them as well.
Another BAM moment!
What’s going on? Why haven’t I started writing? Because I want to sit down and tap out the next best seller without doing an outline, without doing character development, without doing scene and conflict outlines. I want to be “that good” (or that lazy???). Every time I even so much as go near writing my book, I get so overwhelmed by how much I don’t know that I panic and I run and I go and master something else; blogging for instance.
Since I started blogging, I have spent oddles of hours exploring and mastering themes, working on graphics (I mean, it’s gotta look good, right???), taking a workshop on building a better blog, reading blogs about blogging, developing a kickin’ editorial calendar etc. I spend all of my writing time mastering blogging to avoid working on my novel because I am scared and it seems soooo daunting.
What it boils down to is there’s only one way to find out if I am author material. Pick a damn story line, run with it, and write a book. And then…see what happens. Will it be an international best seller? Maybe, maybe not…and who cares anyway??? What it will be is a dream come true and lessons well learned in BEING the woman and writer I want to be; not just talking (and blogging) about it.
Wish me luck!
This post is part of Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop. This week I went with prompt #4. What inspired you this week?