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Monday, August 13, 2012

WSG 19: The Flower Factor

Writer's Survival Guide 19: The Flower Factor

I recently spent eight weeks writing a first draft. I spent the next eight weeks revising the book. In between were countless blog posts, Facebook updates, Tweets, and e-mails. Writing is my job, and I love it! But, as with any job, I have to work at maintaining my enthusiasm. I can all too easily convince myself the book isn't good, when the reality is that I'm just not in a good mood.


Boutons de fleurs -- Flower Buds
Photo by gillesgonthier

My first drafts remind me of buds. The potential is there, but they haven't erupted and aren't ready to offer their full beauty. I'm usually not overwhelmed at this point. Coffee and excitement over the new project keeps my stem upright and strong. I want to see the bloom, so I keep working until the draft is done.

Flowers
Photo by symphoney

These water flowers represent my mood when revising. I know something stunning is there, but it might be hiding under a leaf or drowning in water. I feel wilted. Waterlogged. Surrounded by too many words. I have to look for the beauty. It's not as in my face.


Dead Flowers
Photo by --sam--

Then there are the disappointments. Maybe we submit to an agent, checking our e-mails constantly, only to realize six weeks later "no response means no." Or we wait by the telephone, praying our manuscript is a finalist in a contest, but we don't get that call. Maybe we get rejected by editors, get a scathing critique...any discouraging news can make us feel we have a dead bouquet in our  hands. Yes, it was pretty two weeks ago, but now it's a shriveled up, ugly mess.

Rose
Photo by joaoa

That's why confidence is so vital for every writer. If we're going to survive, we have to look at all of our books, stories, articles as vibrant objects of beauty. My first books were not worthy of being published, but they are as beautiful to me as this rose. All of my books are. They came from the best part of me, and that's what will always make them so special, so stunning.

The flower factor means always respecting our work. It IS beautiful.

Do you struggle to view your writing in a positive light at times? How do you overcome this?

Enjoy our Monday!

15 comments:

  1. Good morning Jill. Thanks for a good post. I love your analogy. I am working hard at keeping my confidence level where it should be but it isn't always easy. I have to tell myself over and over to keep trying and that it might take a lot of time and books and writing to get where I want to be.

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  2. Oh I love this post, Jill. It is so important how we choose to look at things--to gain perspective. I'm learning more and more how valuable it is to step away and create distance to get this sometimes.
    ~ Wendy

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  3. Don't look at me for advice, Jill. I'm still trying to figure it out for myself. But your analysis is right on. We have to keep plugging away; what other choice is there? Giving up is not an option!

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  4. Well, I always know what I write is bad at first. So I have that already in my mind. :)
    But discouraging news means I just need to step away then take another look at it with fresh eyes.

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  5. Good morning!

    Terri: Exactly. We can't let outside factors cloud our judgement. :)

    Wendy: I'm always astonished at how much my mood affects my attitude toward a WIP! It's ridiculous. :)

    Barbara: I'm all for plugging away! I love writing!

    Jennifer: Ugh, my first drafts are riddled with crap. But the heart of them are good, so I remind myself I'll make them great during revising!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  6. Fabulous analogy! When I get discouraged, I remind myself that emotions lie (my mother drilled that into my sister and me when we were teenagers!). And then I go focus on something else and wait to come back to my story until my emotions are calmed down and I can be objective (relatively) again. It's not a perfect system, but it works for the most part.

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  7. Aw, love this analogy! You're right that writers have to have confidence. There are so many things in this writing journey that COULD tear us down. We have to have confidence in our talents but also in the reason we write. If we can hold onto that, we'll bloom. If not, we'll shrivel in the sun.

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  8. I am always excited in my first draft, but the editing kind of wilts my look on it. What keeps me motivated to see it differently is re-creating. I try to picture how God molds me. He's always revising and He loves it. So if He can love me enough to keep at it, then there's hope for my WIPs!:) Great great post!!!!

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  9. Excellent post! Great analogy:-) I can usually see the potential in what I'm writing... I think the fear comes in as to what OTHERS will think of the finished package. What if people snicker and point and laugh at my beautiful baby? What if *I* think it's beautiful but it's one of those babies or flowers that everyone is like, "Uh, wow, it's... uh... unique."

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  10. "I can all too easily convince myself the book isn't good, when the reality is that I'm just not in a good mood." Amen to that, sister. :)

    There's a Bible verse (or maybe multiple verses) somewhere that talks about looking back at all God has done and recognizing his faithfulness. That's what helps me when my confidence needs a boost...I can look back on the ways He's helped me and blessed me so far in this writing journey and knowing He's in this with me, that He doesn't start things He doesn't intend to finish, that builds me back up.

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  11. Louise: You have a wise mother! It's true. And I'm an emotional person, so I have to remind myself of this often!

    Lindsay: When I have too much going on (like this crazy summer!), I find myself shriveling. Confidence and prayer keep me in check!

    Jessica: I love the thought of God revising us. It's so true! I'm amazed at all He continues to do to me to help me grow. And I'm so grateful. :)

    Krista: Don't we all? It's kind of like our personal style--it takes a lot of guts to wear (or write) something unique. Not everyone will love it, but we still can!

    Melissa: It's funny you say this, because I've been doing a lot of reflecting lately. I'm amazed at what God has done within my heart this year. Amen!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  12. Wonderful inspiration! I agree: every writer needs confidence and have faith in himself\herself. If we don't have confidence, one won't be able to pursue his\her dream to its fullest. Confidence is one of the big factors of being writer. Great points, Jill!

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  13. No matter what stage of writing I'm in, I go through those emotions. Is this worth it? Am I wasting my time? Will anyone like this? My strategy to combat these negative feelings is similar to Melissa's. By reminding myself of how better my life is for having chosen to write (instead of following a different path), the friends I've made, and the creative community that God has introduced me to, it puts things into perspective.

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  14. Livia: Well said! Confidence IS one of the biggest factors. :)

    Brandi: I absolutely agree. When I focus only on the present, it robs me of the wonderful view of the road already traveled. It really helps to see how far I've come.

    Sandra: Thanks!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

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