Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Keeping Your Head Down

"What motivates you most strongly to maintain your writing life, even - or especially - when the going gets tough?"

by Sam Wiebe

[I'd like to thank everyone at Seven Criminal Minds for allowing me to participate. I'm filling in for Robin Spano for a few months. Hopefully she'll be back soon, and I won't besmirch her blogging reputation--or mine--too much in the meantime.]

So much of the writing business is out of our hands--publishing, sales, reviews, awards...there's no controlling those things, once you've sent off your book or story.

Most of the time, the cure for me is the writing. The quality is the one part of the process dependent on us, that we can control. Focusing on getting my thousand words a day, or doing a certain amount of revision, is a way to keep sane amidst the lunacy and unpredictability of the writing business.

The problem for me lies in the weeks right after sending off a manuscript or finishing a major project. What to do then? Without the routine, it's easier to be sucked into anxiety over when your agent or editor or publisher will get back to you, when the foreign rights will sell...all the business stuff which is ultimately out of our hands.

I wish I had the cure--I'd be taking it myself right now.

Ultimately, the only thing to do is turn back to the work. Start a new story. Try a different genre. Make sure your story submissions are current. Exercise what little power we as artists have. And please yourself--there's nothing saying you can't vary your schedule, put something aside, work on a flash fiction story, or run an idea by a friend.

And when all else fails, you can always go for a walk.


Paul D. Marks said...

Welcome to Criminal Minds, Sam.

Robin Spano said...

That is such perfect advice. Wasn't writing the original therapy for our angst in the first place? Makes so much sense to use it when we need it.

Meredith Cole said...

Welcome Sam! You're so right, writing is the cure and it's what keeps us going.

RJ Harlick said...

Sam, welcome. Great to have you joining us. Hope Vancouver is treating you well. One of my favourite cities. I'm with you on the writing. It's probably the only reason most of us are in this business and stay in it, despite its ups and downs. Walking helps too. :)

Susan C Shea said...

Glad to meet you virtually, Sam. You're right about starting a new piece. Nothing like banging out words to keepo your mind off the dreaded rejection emails your agent forwards!

Sam said...

Thanks so much!