Thursday Thought-Self Help: Dear Writer, You Need to Quit

Dear Writer, You Need to Quit  by Becca Syme is not a book about writing. Instead, the book is a manual for writers. Syme, who is a Gallup certified Clifton Strengths coach, has focused her training on helping authors. The individuals creating the books.

The key word is individual.

One size fits all is a myth created because standardizing is easier than dealing with differences. The theory  doesn’t work for clothes, hats, or writing methods. Even standardized sizes are wishful thinking. Ask any woman who has ever purchased a bra. Why should writing style be different?

They’re not. Syme believes in alignment: creating an individual strategy based on how the author is wired. My own critique group is a microcosm of writing styles; from a woman who writes 30-page synopses, to someone who does some character work, some scene work, and has a rough outline, to someone who sits down to write by the seat of her pants.

Syme points out and repeats there is no right way to write, that we each not only need to accept our writing style–what works best for us–but also embrace it. Not only embrace our uniqueness, but work to strengthen our methods. Strategies for the organized writer will not work for an organic author.

A plus-sized woman dreaming of breast reduction surgery wouldn’t consider buying and wearing a 32A  bra. Why would an intuitive writer believe she should write a detailed outline of the book she’s writing? The fit won’t work.

Bob Dylan is a musical genius, but that doesn’t mean his Christmas album or covers of Sinatra standards were great. Or even good. Those styles aren’t his strength.

If you can imagine Stephen King writing category romance, you have a better imagination than I do.

The point is writers need to quit practices that don’t align with their strengths. Quit working against your wiring and work with it. You’ll be amazed at the results.

 

MJ Monday-Manuscript: Update

As I type this blog, the first draft of the next (so very delayed) book is complete. A preliminary round of revisions have been noted. I plan to delve into revisions after finishing this blog.

I used my three-week July vacation to push to the end. The problem, you see, is my writing process. And it’s not a problem, really, it’s simply the process.

Some people refer to what I do as the Headlight Method: write as far as you can see in the headlights, then wait for the headlights to reveal more.  And that’s how it goes . . . sort of. What I need to know is apparently already in my head. But my brain won’t release it to me until it’s good and ready, which is frustrating as all get out. So all the while I was making myself crazy trying to figure out how/why on a certain aspect near the end of the story, my brain was sitting back, smirking. Then, as I was typing a scene, my fingers revealed the whole thing. Without ever letting my consciousness know.

It’s enough to make a sane woman crazy.

 

Thursday Thoughts: Planners

It’s that time of hear again! Thinking about next year and what I’m going to use as a planner.

For the past three years, I used one company, and I loved the planner. The cover said, “She Designed A Life She Loved,” and that meant so much to me.

A few weeks ago I learned something about the company I can’t overlook or forgive. I come from a generation where we put our money where our mouths are. I don’t eat at one chain, I don’t shop at a particular craft store, and now I needed to find another planner to meet my needs the way the aforementioned one did.

A class I took back in January mentioned different kinds of planners for different kinds of people. I checked this out. I did a lot of research to find what I wanted.  My Meyers Briggs type is INFJ, and although the class instructor though N-J would like a particular planner, I did not. Maybe because I didn’t like their website–it wasn’t yet set up for 2021, and I didn’t find it intuitively user friendly.

But another planner the instructor suggested struck a chord with me. I could customize almost every aspect. I don’t need coloring book pages. I don’t need . . . a lot of things my previous planner included. I went to town. I found a more-than-acceptable cover (I wish it was a different color, but it is what it is). I picked out what extra pages I wanted and where I wanted them placed in the book. Even after adding things, I was paying $15 – $20 less than I was for the 2018, 2019, 2020 planners.

The planner arrived a week or so after I placed the order. I love it. It is a better version of the one I loved.

Since Positivity is one of my strengths and also one of my goals, I thought this cover was appropriate.

MJ Monday-Music: Connie Dover

Many years ago, my husband and I were wandering around the village of Cooperstown, NY. We’d already visited the Baseball Hall of Fame. I wanted to shop. I didn’t want baseball related stuff. I didn’t want the usual tourist town trinkets.

I walked into an alley leading off Main Street, seduced by the music being played there. The alley was cool with greenery, welcome on that hot summer afternoon. I followed the path to a store that no longer exists: Moon Dreams. To this day it remains my favorite store in Cooperstown.

I ended up purchasing a pair of earrings that remain favorites . . .

(lapis and crystal set in sterling–my new phone’s camera leaves much to be desired)

and my first Connie Dover CD.

My first love in musical genres is folk music. It’s what I (mostly) grew up on. I love the stories told by the lyrics, legends set to music.

Connie Dover  lured me into the alley that day (“Mally Leigh” from her If Ever I Return CD). She sings old Celtic, French and cowboy folk songs in addition to composing her own pieces.  Her voice is sweet and pure. While I don’t usually care for too “smooth” a sound, Dover is the exception that proves the rule. The harmonies are amazing.

While I haven’t purchased a new CD in a while, I still love listening to the ones I do own.

 

Thursday Thoughts: Manly Obsessions

My dad had a thing for flashlights. And he was always misplacing them. Once, when he climbed into the attic, he found a flashlight he’d left there the previous year. I recall at least one birthday when he received flashlights from everyone. I think they were all misplaced within six months.

My husband is the same. He is always buying flashlights. We have all shapes and sizes. A few years back, he purchased several “Brooklyn Lanterns” from TV. The cupboard under my downstairs bathroom sink is filled with TP and flashlights.

My husband is also obsessed with tool kits and car emergency kits. Especially car emergency kits. I have one he bought for me, and I’m very grateful for it. But how many does one person need? (One more than he already has!)

Okay, I guess it’s no different than my obsession with office supplies. Pens. Notebooks. Pretty file folders.

I think I find it amusing/frustrating because my husband is not a mechanically mind kind of guy. He can quote baseball trivia out the ying-yang, and don’t get me started on movies–he has come to a realization that he might like movies even more than he likes baseball. These are obsessions I understand and even share up to a point.

But flashlights, tool kits, and car emergency kits? I often just shake my head.