Monday, November 23, 2009

Motel 6

When we first braved family vacations, we bought a two-man tent and made the rounds of neighboring campgrounds. Eventually, the ground grew too hard for our backsides and we upgraded to cots. Then came motels at Disney. Finally, we broke down and purchased a time share with all the extras--a kitchen to cook our meals, a huge living room and tons of facilities on the grounds for use. All in a matter of six years.

I've written three books so far. Working on my fourth. During that time period, I've picked up several good books on the craft of writing fiction.

Know what I've figured out?

I've missed a few important stops along the way.

So that brings me to my next thought. What's my rush? Why aren't I taking my time to hone my skills so I can be confident my work is where it should be? Why do I think I can skip some steps?

Maybe because I think once I publish a book, it will validate me more as a writer?
Maybe because I think I'm getting older and I need to get it done sooner?
Maybe because it is expected?

Some of my fondest vacation memories took place in the woods, being bitten by the mosquitoes, camped out around a campfire toasting marshmallows. Good memories of a young family. The kind I cherish. The kind I can't go back to again but the kind that taught me more about my family than a day laying around a resort pool.

Writing my first book felt almost the same way. I wrote it with passion and with the knowledge that God wanted me to get that story out on paper.

Am I doing that with my current WIP?

What about you? Have you left the campground behind? Are you on a fast track to your future or are you cherishing the steps along the way?

44 comments:

Madison said...

Honing a craft is time well spent. Now, camping, that's a tad different. I prefer to jump straight to the best hotel's highest floor (I mean, if I won the lottery).

Journaling Woman said...

I am still trying to perfect my craft. Sometimes that gets in my way...but I'm still learning.

Eileen Astels Watson said...

I'm trying so hard NOT to fast track, though, I still wonder if my writing will ever be where I desire it to be. It's a very long journey for me.

jinksy said...

Not too sure what happend to my first comment attempt - so I'm sorry if you end up with two the same.

I'd endorsed the need to hone writing skills for would be poets, as too often, their grammatical blunders spoil what might have been a pleasing poem. I guess the same applies to any writer?! :)

Tamika: said...

Trying my best to enjoy the steps along the way. Sometimes without realizing it I've rushed to far ahead and can't find my way.

Then I stop, pray, and I can see that I have just enough light for the step I'm on.

Jennifer Shirk said...

I think I'm taking my time much more now. My very first manuscript was definitely rushed. I enjoy writing much more now.

Paul Greci said...

Great post Terri. I'm definitely enjoying the journey as a writer whether one of the results is publication or not. It's really helped me to look much more closely at the world and at myself.

Lin Floyd said...

that's so true of everything not just writing. there are many parallels in life. thanks for helping us think deeper...

Diane said...

I wish I was on the fast track! Thanks for encouraging me along. :O)

Yolanda said...

Truly, I believe, in this season of my life, I'm learning to participate as well as enjoy the journey.

Love to you Miss Terri,
Yolanda

Jan Cline said...

I know I sometimes want to hurry through this first book. But Im learning so much, it's worth the time it takes to finish.

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

i have no choice but to cherish the journey. it's going to be way longer than i'd hoped, but that's because God blessed me with this job. it's his plan for me....so i'm going to enjoy the writing part as long as i can before i have to deal with things like committees (hopefully) and queries and the like. :) it'll just be and my writing for a while, i imagine.

jeannie
Win a copy of Erica Vetsch's debut novel, The Bartered Bride at Where Romance Meets Therapy

Nancy said...

I think you should learn more if you can. I think fiction,the way it is presented now, is very difficult. I'm not sure I'm up to it, but I think you would do fine.

giddymomof6 said...

Man I've missed your posts. I hope I'm still remembering my writing roots. I do know that it's still as fun as it ever was, so that's good, right?

Good luck! So awesome you're on your fourth book!
Jenni

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

I'm really trying to cherish the steps as much as possible. I know that once I'm on deadline from a publisher it'll be a lot different. Right now I want to savor every step (except for typing in edits--I don't like that part!). :0)

Patti said...

I once heard the hardest quality to have as a writer is patience, which is something I need to work on all the time.

Melissa Marsh said...

I get in that same frame of mind, too, that I need to "hurry up and get it written!" But savoring each step on the journey is the best way to go about it. :-)

Janna Qualman said...

I've thought about this a lot lately, too, Terri. Sometimes I feel panicked inside, as if I'm not doing enough quickly enough. And then I realize there's no rush. Because time will only help my writing, and increase the chances that I've done everything I can.

carolynyalin said...

I write because I love it. I'm fortunate enough that it isn't our sole income and so I can enjoy it as I go.

I feel like I am constantly learning and perfecting the craft. Just when I think there can't be another great book on writing, I find one :)

Sassy Granny ... said...

There's a mysterious tension between pacing oneself and being purposeful. I dare say it goes either slack or taught on me if I'm not careful.

Blessings,
Kathleen

Stephen Tremp said...

Still honing my crafty as well, and would much rather do it in a nice hotel overlooking the Pacific. Well, maybe in the beach. But my tent days are long behind me.

Stephen Tremp

Galen Kindley--Author said...

I wrote Book One and got it published. I thought I could write. I dove into Book Two and finished it. Did it from an entirely different perspective in an entirely different genre. Guess what? I could sorta write, but the fine points, the things that really make for good writing...no clue. I had to go back and essentially redo the entire book...and it's better for it, as am I. So, I'm thinking there's a path laid out for us, no shortcuts, no easy way. You gotta follow the path, painful as it might sometimes be. True for me, anyway.

Best Regards, Galen

Imagineering Fiction Blog

Jill Kemerer said...

Ha! I didn't even know craft books existed when I started writing. It took three manuscripts for me to realize hey, maybe I need some training? :)

I'll always be learning!

Amy Tate said...

What a thought provoking post! It's hard to live in the moment when you want to be somewhere else. I enjoy Dr. Charles Stanley, and I recently watched a sermon on t.v. entitled, Your Heart's Desire. If we received everything we desired we'd be miserable people. And that fact helps me when I'm frustrated with where I am, and dreaming about where I want to be. I have to remember that this writing thing is in His hands, and I can only get there so fast. Ya know?

AnooCre8ion said...

Great post Terri. Sometimes I think I should be really far along, but then I realize it's because others just want me to write and publish again quickly. I am not moving as fast as I should, but I will take my time and write what I truly believe God is saying to my heart.

Blessings,
Vickie

Kara said...

Oh, I love this. I tried to be on the fast track and was miserable. Now I am just cherishing the moments and am so much happier with my writing:)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Terri -

I think there's a difference between rushing things and moving forward with purpose. If we take a too casual attitude toward writing, we fail to improve. If our only goal is publication, we're tempted to take short cuts.

At this stage of the game, I'm satisfied with my progress.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Karen Lange said...

In some areas of my life, like some kinds of writing, I probably am trying to rush through. In other areas, I am savoring the moments, like now that my kids older. Our times together are sweeter...Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. Happy Thanksgiving!

sarah said...

Somebody gave me "Bird by Bird" by Anne Lamott. Excellent book on writing. It's helping me get back to writing for the love of it. Writing that feels like breathing. - Slowly letting the stories in my mind unravel....like sitting under the stars and letting my heart speak...It may never get published but it feels like that camping experience you talk about.

Lily Robinson said...

Nice analogy... but now I'm off daydreaming about those old camping trips!

Kathryn Magendie said...

"Maybe because I think once I publish a book, it will validate me more as a writer?"

I thought this, too, before TG came out(even though, like you, I had things published---stories, essays & poetry) - like I would finally be the member of The Club - but you know what? there are so many clubs! You publish your novel, but someone else is a best seller or someone else finds a bigger publisher or someone else sells more books, someone else is on Oprah, etc etc etc... So, we must find delight and wonder in our writing wherever we are...

"Maybe because I think I'm getting older and I need to get it done sooner?"

I had said if I didn't finish and publish my book by time I was 50 (I didn't pick up writing again until my late forties) I would do something drastic (whatever that was) - well, as I said in today's post, I didn't publish my first book until I was 52 (this year), and the next one will come out when I'm 53, and i hope a next at 54 and I hope i live to write and publish until I am 100, then I can rest *laugh*.... we do feel an urgency of some things as we age, but I think we have "urgency" when we are young, too :-)



"Maybe because it is expected?" the worst way to write or be is the Expected thing - unless we are placing those expectations on ourselves and they are realistic ones - ones that spur us on to things that lead at last to fullfillment and joy...

I always tell writers who haven't published yet: Enjoy the journey, enjoy the moments - and when you do publish - Enjoy that journey and those moments of that debut book, because it goes fast fast and there is the next next next ....enjoy the moments

Jessica said...

Trying to cherish the steps, but trying to sprint too. LOL

Brenda Kay Ledford said...

Terri,
Great advise. I need to take some writing classes. I've not studied under some teacher for awhile. It's time I go back to the campground and hone my skills. Thanks for the advise. Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Jeanette Levellie said...

Oh thanks for saying this, Terri. I feel the Lord is telling me to slow down and learn what I can along the way, even if I get a few mosquito bites. Your post confirms His word to my heart.

Love you,
Jen

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Greg C said...

Great reminder Terri. I long to camp out again. I am searching for that passion again too.

Jody Hedlund said...

It's so easy to get into a hurry to get to the destination and lose the joy in the journey! Blessing to you, Terri! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tea With Tiffany said...

Hoping I am enjoying the journey. But the truth for me is I've stepped out of the professional writing world for a year and now I am wondering how to enter in again. Oh, to be a writer! The adventures continue. I hope to avoid the mosquitoes though. They itch.

:)

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Terri.

Robin @ Be Still and Know said...

You always post such thought provoking questions. (38 comments to prove it...you go girl!!)

Some of my most memorable times with family were around the evening campfire or having breakfast that had been cooked over the old Coleman stove.

Having just celebrated the BIG 50, I find myself at a place of examination. For such a long time I felt drawn to write but now I am really looking at what it is that God wants me to write. With a busy teenage things get hectic at times but overall the DD is long past needing my constant attention. I had a thought the other day of looking to a new direction or area of service in my life????

The joys of transition weather it be motivated by spiritual means or hormonal fluctuation...who knows?

God does and it is my job to discern exactly what that is.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Blessings
Robin

Sande said...

The x factor isn't it?

The passion and truths, the discoveries from the heart that just have to be written.

Be true to self ... writing from who you are; not who we can be.

Heckety said...

Sometimes life gets in the way and sometimes you don't realise you skip steps.
A short time back I was beating myself up over some decision which hadn't worked out and I wondered why I had done it? It came to me that you make decisions based on what is happening at the time- you have to. And sometimes it works, and sometimes not. Call it experience, life, whatever you like, you can only do your best at any given moment I reckon.

Helen Ginger said...

Oh, been at it too long to be near the fast track. ;-)

But I'm getting used to being bitten by the mosquitoes and the marshmallows are rather tasty, although a tad burnt.

Helen
Straight From Hel

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

I'm back at my current WIP, trying to make every word count with this one. Sometimes I grow very discouraged with it all for the very same reasons you've written about here. But the truth is, I love to write. I suppose I'll still be writing as long as the mind allows. I'm trying to be more intentional about my focus; not sure what that means for the road ahead...

So many thoughts; so many questions.

peace~elaine

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