The Word Tree

My daughter makes cool and neat things. Whenever I visit I find something new she’s made. It’s usually something simple that ends me thinking, I wouldn’t mind having something like that.

Here’s what I saw on my last visit. Couldn’t help but snap a shot of it.

I believe she used a page from an old book that had seen better days. With a little imagination we can find a use for most everything. Hmmm…. I wonder what happened to the rest of the book?

You know, I was thinking it would be kind of neat to have one with a page from my book, but…

This weekend I’ll be spending some time with Miss Charlotte. She’s only two, but she’s got quite a talent for drawing. Maybe one day I’ll share one of her pictures on my blog.

I’m off to have an enjoyable Canada Day weekend.

Happy Canada Day!

Do you have any special plans for the weekend?

 

Self-Sabotage—Three Ways to Make Sure You’ll Never be Published

Self-Sabotage anyone? For your convenience, I’ve put together a list of three things you’ll need to get started on your journey to non-publication.

Right about now I can hear a collective, “What the heck is she talking about—-self-sabotage?” Pffff!

I know, I know, you’d all give up your first born to be published, right? Well maybe not THAT extreme, but I’m willing to bet that at least once or twice you turned your head toward the stars, shook a clenched fist and vowed to do whatever it takes to see your words in print.  I’m also willing to bet you meant it, too.  So why aren’t you published then? I mean if you were willing to do whatever, it should be in the bag by now shouldn’t it?

You’re positive you’ve got talent. Our almost sure. Your fifth grade teacher even wrote it on your report card. You’ve read every best seller ever written and determined that you could do a better job. Heck, your grocery list is more interesting than last year’s Giller Prize winner. You’ve got creativity oozing out of your ears. Your mind is brimming with thoughts so unique and spectacular that your head can scarcely contain it all. Not only that, you bought every writing book known to humankind.  In fact, if you laid those books out end to end you could go around the earth two time with some to spare. You stalk every agent blog in the blogosphere. You’re doing everything just right.

So what’s really holding you back?  Why hasn’t your dream come true?

Poor, poor dreams. We use you, abuse you and toss you to the wayside. And then to add insult to injury we tell everyone within earshot that dreams make us who we are. We even look up inspirational quotes about dreams to prove we mean business and post them in our facebook status or on our blogs.

Now I know that for every dream that we leave in our wake there could be any number of reasons why we abandon them. No doubt if I wanted to, I could make this post go on and on. But I’ll spare you the torture and I’ll name three ways to ensure you’ll never be published. Now listen up. This could come in handy.

1. Practise the art of procrastination. Make it your business to learn all the ins and outs of procrastinating. Milk it for all it’s worth. Procrastination doesn’t tax the body or brain, and much like meditation you’ll find it relaxing, a breath of fresh air. There’s plenty out there to keep you from starting that best seller that’s been bugging the heck out of you since you were in high school. You know that story, the one that just doesn’t want to go away. It’ll get you a million dollar publishing contract as soon as you write, “the end.” Remember while you’re lolling away knee deep in procrastination not to forget that special promise you made to yourself one night after you had one too many beers because in your heart of hearts you just know that everything happens in divine order. A sign will arrive and you’ll know it when you see it. The morning you wake up and your horoscope tells you it’s time to start writing your novel you’ll be the first one out of the gate. But not until the time is right, right? We all have to stick to what we believe in even the staunchest procrastinator among us. The Universe will speak to us in its good old time. No need to worry or hurry. Relax and enjoy the ride. The Universe will provide.

2. Spend a wicked sweet amount of time blogging, surfing the net, tweeting, commenting on other blogs, facebooking and checking email not to mention blogging, surfing the net, tweeting, commenting on other blogs, facebooking and checking email. I did write that twice because you all know the truth when you read it. There’s nothing like good old social media to keep a good writer from becoming published. Write? Who’s got time to write? The next best thing to being published is reading about it on someone else’s blog. You never know, their success might just rub off on you if you hang around enough. There’s plenty more uses for a computer other than writing so you should be safe. And if all this isn’t enough to keep you from plotting your novel just let me say…Pinterest. Find out what’s cool and popular on Pinterest. After all, it could be something you pinned. If that photo you posted of a blade of Kentucky Bluegrass gets repined 52,643 times you need to know immediately. What better way to ensure you never get published then never starting that book you’re writing?

3. Embrace your inner critic. Take her to lunch, throw her a special party. Bring balloons. Not only that become best buddies. The moment you’re sure that the crap you’re writing is never going to be publishable, your inner critic will be right there to agree. Nothing like a good inner critic to knock some sense into you, I say. After all, in every friendship someone needs to be the strong voice of reason.  Not sure if your writing stinks? Your new best buddy will confirm this beyond a shadow of a doubt cause that’s just the way she rolls. You’ve all heard about “kicking yourself when you’re down.” Well, who better to give you an extra little boot than your inner critic? Why waste the effort on yourself? Just stand back and let your inner critic take aim. She’s your BFF. She’s known you most of your life. Admit it, she’s sure better at kicking then you are at writing.

So there you have it three, count them three, ways to ensure you never get published. Follow them to the letter and I’m almost positive that you can kiss that long held dream of publication goodbye.  I mean who need dreams? Don’t thank me now you can do that twenty years down the road when you’re waiting for the planets to align, while listening to your BFF tell you one more time that your writing truly sucks big time. Not to worry though, you can always turn to the internet to whine and complain about those dreams that slipped through your fingers during your youth. It’s never too late to finally give up on your dream.

So here are three things that have worked for me in the past. You might not want to try them all out at once. Maybe you should just ease your way into it and before you know it, you can be playing an active role on your journey to non-publication.

Have you discovered any special ways to ensure you’ll never be published? If you’d like to tell, I’d like to know.

Cast Out the Writing Snob!

As writers, are we too quick to make the assumption that people who are non-writers simply don’t “get us”; that somehow they have absolutely no concept of what a writer’s life is about? We blog about it, maybe even whine about it, acting like the elite group we believe we’re a part of—-the poor misunderstood writer. I’m sometimes moved to wonder, does this line of thinking make us writing snobs?

Have you, dear writer, ever pondered the question: Do non-writers see this as snobbish behaviour on our part? Do non-writers look at us and wonder if we think we’re somehow better?–And do we? Be honest. Are we secretly a bit smug over the fact that were are writers/authors?

As writers, nothing pleases us more than to have another writer to talk to about our craft. That’s only natural. I’ve experienced this myself with my “gab sessions” with a few local author friends. When we get together, we always know the purpose for our meetings. We talk about our current Work in Progress (WIP), we discuss the various publishers we’ve submitted to, and what’s happening in the publishing industry, and then we whine. Yes, we sometimes commiserate, lament, grumble, and then vow to keep on going. And while all this is happening, it’s as if the rest of the world does not exist because no one understands what we writers go through except another writer. Right?

But perhaps we writers are simply kidding ourselves. Perhaps this thinking is only true on one level—the writing level, that is. Perhaps we don’t give non-writers enough credit. Perhaps they do understand part of our plight as writers, perhaps more than even they realise.

So let’s look at a few of the myths we writers tell ourselves about non-writers.

*Non-writers do not understand rejection:

Come on—-Who are we trying to kid? If you live in the world, interact with people on a regular basis and have never experience rejection than YOU’RE quite possibly in an elite group yourself. To be human is to experience rejection at one time or another, and in one form or another. It started out on the playground when we were in elementary. Maybe someone didn’t like us or didn’t want to play with us.  BUT…but.. a writing rejection is different, we writers might argue. Someone didn’t like the story I put my heart and soul into. It’s so, so personal. Well, what’s more personal than, Get away from me I don’t like you and I don’t want to play with you?  How’s that for personal? And just think, it’s said to a kid who doesn’t understand the meaning of the word rejection, let alone can figure out the reason for the rejection. Rejection is all around us, in one form or another. It is not specific only to writers. We writers need to face up to it.

*Non-writers do not understand the long wait times we writers must endure:

Really? Do we really believe that non-writers have never had to wait an excruciating long time for anything? Wow! Aren’t they special? Life is also about waiting. We wait for appointments, wait in line, we wait for a lucky break, we wait in traffic, we wait for months to hear the results of some test, we wait for our ship to come in, we wait, and wait and then wait some more…I could go on. Everyone must wait unless you have a magical lamp or a genie to grant you your every command. If you do happen to have one of those, please send me a private message, would ya? I’d be interested in hearing all about it.

*But…. we writers have a special talent:

Hello, I see many talented people around me every day. Perhaps they don’t exhibit their talent through words, but the written word is not the only way to exhibit our talents. I have friends who are musicians, crafters, artists, scrap-bookers, card-makers, gardeners, cooks, who have just as much talent, or even more, than I. My talent is no more *special* than the next person’s; my talent just happens to be writing. Being a writer is not the epitome of talent in this world. It’s just one form.

*Non-writers do not have to constantly provide the self-motivation/self discipline to get things done.

Well, that’s just silly. We all need to be our own cheering section from time to time. If we didn’t exhibit some kind of self-motivation we’d spend our days doing absolutely nothing. We’d be zombies, mindless creatures going through the motions. Maybe we’d sit and stare out the window all day. Sure it takes motivation and discipline to be a writer, but that is true for any job we undertake, especially when it is something we have to do all on our own with help from no one. Nobody can do the studying for that English exam that’s coming up but you, and I don’t know anyone who’s going to arrive at my house with a mop and broom just to help me with my housework. What will make you finish that new scarf you’re working on, or get that Christmas baking done, if you possess no motivation or self-discipline. And if you want to change jobs because you’re under-appreciated and over-worked? You got it! Motivation and discipline, is what keeps us sending out resumes in search of that perfect job.

*Non-writers do not really care about what we are writing:

I have several people in my life, non-writers that they are, who ask me what I’m working on. Sometimes, if they see something they think I might be interested in they bring it to my attention, because you just never know what might end up as fiction one day. When a writer is coming to the area to speak or sign books, some of my friends will mention it. While a non-writer might not be interested in the research I’m doing, or even how many times I’ve revised a story, they are usually anxious to hear what’s new on the publishing horizon for me. “Are you writing another book?” I get asked that one a lot. Non-writers do care. Why wouldn’t they? We are all human, all with the ability to empathize with one another, to hope for one another, and to share in our joys and triumphant.

As a writer, I’m attempting to stop thinking in terms that separates the non-writers from the writers in my life. Instead, I am willing to think in terms of what connects us together as people, what parts of our lives that we universally share. We have far more similarities than we do differences. I’m attempting to stop thinking like a writing snob and start thinking like an ordinary person who just happens to write. This does not mean that I will stop enjoying my “gab-sessions” with my writer friends, or the wonderful connections I’ve made with writers in the blogging community. It will simply make me more mindful of all the areas that my non-writing friends can relate.

Do you agree that we writers can sometimes exhibit a bit of an attitude when it comes to the non-writing population because we believe ourselves to be misunderstood by them? If you consider yourself a non-writer have you ever felt a bit inferior while in the company of a writer? 

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