Inspiration and business

In case you haven’t seen it, J.K. Rowling’s speech to the graduating class at Harvard is quite inspiring. You can find it here. Her messages: We can learn from failure, and imagination helps us not only to write, but to make a difference.


The second is about her time working at Amnesty International. Her stories will bring tears to your eyes. But the first part is about succeeding and how we can do it. J.K. Rowling had the same difficulties as all of us when she was writing the first Harry Potter book: she was a single mother, trying to make ends meet and fitting in writing between a day job and everything else.


J.K. Rowling doesn’t say these words, but it’s in the same vein: Having a day job can be useful. A friend of mine who just published her memoir told me once that she got more writing done when she had a day job than when she didn’t. The desire to be doing something else, the desire to be successful enough at your chosen profession — writing — that you don’t have to do anything else pushes us forward to finish our novel or short story, polish it til it shines and send it out to agents and publishers, waiting for the day when we can be living in our fictional worlds full time. I know it drives me.


When you’re drained from work and don’t feel like working on your book, imagine the day when you’ll be able to give up your day job and know that the only way you’ll get there is if you spend that hour writing today, even if it is between putting the kids to bed and when the load of laundry is done. Use it.


The second part of my title, business, is for those who were dieing to get to Book Expo but didn’t make it: Podcasts of the BEA speeches. It’s always good to keep up with what’s going on in the industry, and if you can’t be there, this is the next best thing. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos says some pretty interesting things about the Kindle and the reception it’s getting.


Finally, for fans of J.K. Rowling’s Potter books, here’s something really scrumptuous: A bit of a prequel, which she says she’s NOT working on. Too bad. Click here for the website then click on Author’s Stories and J.K. Rowling. You can submit your own stories too. Thanks to Jon Bard of Children’s Book Insider for the link. I loved it.


Write On!

Believe in yourself

Yesterday I wrote a sentence. That’s it, just one sentence. It wasn’t beause I didn’t want to write. I was tired — I’m always tired 🙂 — but that wasn’t it, either. It was because I was resisting my next step.

I’m at the point in my story where I have to write the big climactic scene, and to be honest, I’m a little intimidated. It’s not that I don’t think I can do it. I know I can. And I know that once I’ve written THE END, I will go back and start from the beginning again revising and revising. So, deep down, when I’m thinking rationally, I know that even if I mess up the big climactic scene, it’s ok. I can change it.

But I don’t want to muck it up. So I stalled.

I watched Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium the other night (cute movie, a bit simple) and it had a good message, one that every writer should remember. (I’m not going to tell you how the movie ended, but I am going to spill the message.)

“Believe in yourself,” the movie said, loud and clear.

As writers, we put fingers to keyboard or pen to paper because we are drawn to get down our thoughts, the stories floating around in our heads, to give voices to characters who are screaming to be heard. We write because we have a desire that wells up inside us and won’t let up until we create.

But doubts creep in, and when we sit down to write, the task sometimes seems so huge that we’d rather weed the garden in full summer heat. Hello writer’s block.

Believe in yourself. Know that you’re getting this urge to write for a reason. Sure, the first words you put on paper might not add up to much by the time they’re a sentence. Sure, the first sentences might not make any sense together in a paragraph. And sure, the first few paragraphs might be totally incomprehensible as a story. (I’m exaggerating, of course.) But that’s when the old adage “writing is rewriting” is so true. But before you can get to the rewrite, you have to write.

So, this morning, with the idea for this blog post rattling around in my brain, I sat down to write my big climactic scene. I won’t say it was easy. Part of my brain kept saying “check your email,” “go see what the weather’s going to be like today,” “go back to bed.” I managed to ignore them long enough to drag out four pages (my daily goal). The words aren’t great, but the ideas are there, and there’s nothing I can’t fix when I do the rewrite.

How are you doing with your writing? Are you believing in yourself?

Write On!

Just for fun

A friend sent me one of those long emails filled with funny pics and captions of animals doing human things. I thought a few were quite appropriate for us.


This is us when we\'re seeking inspiration.

This is us when we’re seeking inspiration.

This is us with writer’s block.

This is us with severe writer’s block.

This is us after a good day of writing.

If you’re looking for a break, post your own captions. The best set of four will get a free copy of Sir Newton’s Color Me Hawai’i (even adults can have fun with crayons sometimes, and you’ll learn a lot).

Write On!