Thursday, May 30, 2013

Links for Writers: The Things We Do for Love

If you awaken at half past dark to squeeze in an hour of writing time, scribble in a notebook at Little League games, or hash out plot points with a friend while commuting to the day job, you're my kind of person. But how do we keep going in the face of rejection? 

Torre DeRoche, The Fearful Adventurer blogger and author of the memoir Love with a Chance of Drowning, has the answer: "Forget the stats, the numbers, the wealth, the prestige, the popularity, the things you imagine to be waiting for you on the other side of ‘success.’ They’re not there, and if they are, they won’t stay long. Instead, work tirelessly to make your soul happy. Keep going until you’re standing before a big, glorious creation made by you, for you. Your baby—made of cells, or paper, or clay, or words. That’s yours." Read more here

Think you need long, uninterrupted blocks of time to write anything meaningful? Jo Eberhardt accomplishes LOTS in sixty minutes a day.

There's no secret handshake that will transform a struggler into a published author but I perk up my ears when a writer offers to share her twelve-point writing plan. When will I learn? Here are numbers eight and nine of author Deborah Moggach's twelve-point plan:
8. I have to know the ending before I can begin. Map out as much as you need but don’t over-plot or you can constrict your characters. Let them change it as they go along.
9. You don’t have to know the ending.

She had me going for a minute. That said, her advice, especially, "There are no rules to break" speaks to me. If you only have time to read one writing-related article this week, make it Moggach's. 

On Memorial Day, I spoke with a thoughtful young man whose employer soon will send him to three countries for training. The Asian location hasn't been identified yet. 

"Does it make you uncomfortable that you don't know and can't make plans?" I asked.

"Not at all," he said. "I'm flexible. I have to show I'm flexible."

Writers need that young man's attitude plus the flexibility of Gumby. Here's agent Rachelle Gardner on what has changed and what won't alter in publishing.

Happy writing, friends!


Anonymous said...

Hi Pat,

As I read your blog this morning and the accompanying links I thought of the Danish movie "Babette's Feast" which you might be familiar with.

A "papiste" taken in by the Danish sisters Philippa and Martine at the request of Achille Papin, a French opera singer, Babette Hersant has lost her family, her country, her language, and, as it turns out, her art.

She is beaten, desolate, and desperate to be taken in. She has proven her powers, performed her art. She has made her guests happy just as she had at the Cafe Anglais.

"That's what Papin knew"—an artist himself, the opera singer recognized their kinship, their common pursuit of artistic excellence, their fulfillment in bringing pleasure.

She subscribes to Papin's pronouncement that "Throughout the world sounds one long cry from the heart of the artist: Give me the chance to do my very best."

Babette has had a last chance to give of her very best, so that, contrary to what Martine fears, she cannot be poor: "an artist is never poor." For the first time, Philippa embraces her servant in an act of love that at once acknowledges the claims of the artist and her right to sacrifice.

So Pat, you can never be poor - regardless of rejection slips or unpublished works. You are an artist.

- Patrick

Jennette Marie Powell said...

I love the idea of one hour of creative time! Now if only I could get my husband on board with it...

Coleen Patrick said...

Your post reminds me of this quote about writing by EL Doctorow:

"It's like driving a car at night. You never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way."

Happy writing, Pat. :)

Kay Hudson said...

My favorite "rule" of writing, from Somerset Maugham: There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately no one knows what they are.

I certainly don't, but I keep trying.

Lark Howard said...

Some great links, Pat! Thanks!

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

I read your comment last week and didn't respond right away because I felt myself unworthy of the artist label. I think of myself as a cobbler. I choose the leather, hammer, hammer, hammer, and take pains with the stitches.

How I loved "Babette's Feast." Thank you for reminding me of that movie. Thank you, too, for reminding me I relish the chance to do my best.

Your comment reminded me of the importance of artist days. We have to break with routine, if only for a couple of hours, and do something that lifts our spirits and changes our perspective. Later today, I'll put up the post that was inspired by that thought.

Again, thank you.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Jennette,
I found Jo Eberhardt's post an eye-opener because she opened it by taking us through her sons' story-reading routines and let suspense build.

Your husband's a gifted mechanic, right? Could his creative hour be spent in the garage?

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

That Doctorow quote is one of my favorites. I'm a pantser and can usually see one scene ahead. Scene-by-scene isn't a bad way to travel.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

I hear you, Kay! I swear I'll never impose writing rules on others. (Grammar rules, yes. Writing rules, no.)

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Thanks for stopping by, Lark! You're always welcome here.