Who decides?

Never allow a person to tell you no who doesn’t have the power to say yes.

― Eleanor Roosevelt

Sometimes we have difficulty with finding the correct audience for our writing.  Beta readers are not easy to come by, and as introverts– generally speaking– we are not likely to approach strangers to solicit critiques of our writing.  Certainly never for first or rough draft.

But sometimes, we elicit the overall negative response which incites others to tell us something just isn’t working.  If the reviews are mixed, let’s say 50-50 division on when a turn in the writing is working, or when it isn’t, it’s up to the writer to decide.

But let’s address the endless number of people who are quick to point out flaws, foibles, and faux pas in a genre they do not normally read, or are wholly unfamiliar with, even on a good day.  Those people are not your friends.  They are not seeking to help you.  Let me say this again, not helpful.

When you ask for help with a writing project, ask the appropriate person.  Someone who knows the genre, by virtue of being a long-term avid reader.  Or someone with a proven track record, preferably someone publishing– and publishing well, in the same genre. This is the type of author who can give you valuable advice about readers of the genre. This is they type of help you need, and you should always be specific about the type of reader you’re looking for on a project.

Do you want a line edit?  Ask for help from someone who does line edits, or purchase the service.

Do you want someone to read for content?  Then ask some one who reads for pleasure, hopefully an avid reader, to just read and please tell me where and when you put the book down and why.  If the baby was crying, they needed to put the book down.  If it became slow or boring, you need to examine the portion of the manuscript in the next editing pass. These readers will also tell you “I just didn’t believe he/she would do that, it didn’t seem realistic.”  Now that is a motivation problem, and also is easily fixed.

Just plain beta readers, those who are not aspiring authors, are sometimes they people who help you to correct the worst of the manuscript mistakes.  They will tell you the important things, like “Not believable”, or ask the ever important question of “How could she?”   These readers also better with pin pointing POV problems that new and aspiring writers don’t see.

Most often when we ask for help, we get exactly what we ask for, but it is also unpleasant to know you’ve made a mistake.  The wrong thinking in having your mistakes pointed out is the inability to just fix what’s wrong and move on.  Fixing is learning, and we don’t usually repeat the mistakes we correct.  Sometimes, but not always.

In the end, only you can decide.  Who will be your beta readers, those who can and do help you?  Or those who just want you to know how much they know. You decide.

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Keeping it creative

A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.

― Colin Powell

Recently, I took a class about keeping your muse satisfied, keeping your creativity in tip-top shape, and trying new things to keep the good ideas front and center.

There is a lot that goes into the care and feeding of a reliable muse, and for those of us who pursue the writers life, we want to at the top of our game when it comes to keeping creativity fresh.  After all, it’s our lifeblood, right?

This course was all too brief, and very reasonable in terms of cost, as are most courses offer by the savvyauthors.com.  The ability to improve any aspect of craft is available there and for those of you who aren’t sure about the craft, this is a wonderful venue for learning craft.

We talked about a number of ways to keep yourself active, positive and successful in the long-term writing life.  For some, this is never a problem.  There are many authors who write in multiple genres for multiple publishers and have no difficulty, providing they are allowed to have input to deadlines.

Of course, there are others who cannot sit down and produce a viable page during designated writing time.  No creativity on demand.  Because they feel creativity doesn’t work like that.

Wrong.

Writing is a job.  Ask anyone with any other type of job about the loss of enthusiasm for the job they hold other than writing.  It happens.  Some days no one wants to go to the hospital and deal with sick people.  But MD’s and Nurses don’t call in sick themselves with Medical Block.

So there you have it, writers block, not real.  You’re just too lazy to do your job.

But if you’re not writing due to a lack of creativity, that’s another thing entirely.  What can you do to improve your situation?

Enhance your creativity.  First, try doing something else.  Have some fun, try another art form, read for pleasure, take a walk, have lunch with a friend.

Energy sapped so low you need a real jump-start to get back to writing?  Try rearranging your furniture.  Maybe the energy flow is negative, how about some Feng Shui?

How about inspiring quotes?   You know, I really like them.

I have more than one positive reinforcement on the walls of my office.  Some I chose for myself, and some were gifts from others, writers who know how long and hard I’ve worked to call myself a writer.  I’m going to share a few with you, in hopes that you will respond by sharing with me, too.

In no particular order,

“Home is where your story begins”

“Create something everyday”

“Don’t judge a book by it’s movie”

“Now is your happily ever after”

But I did save my favorite for last.  It’s a little girl pointing to her left and the sign reads, “Complaint Department– 200 miles that way”

Share with me what makes you smile, gets you going, or gets you back to work.  And Thanks for stopping by.

You are what you write. . .

Whatever we expect with confidence becomes our own self-fulfilling prophecy.

― Brian Tracy

No, no, no!

I’m not saying if you write Romance you’ll be magically transformed into a romantic couple, but it could happen.  I’m not saying if you write children’s stories you’re childish, but maybe you are –in a good way.  I’m not saying if you write horror, you’re a horrible person, Oh God, I hope that’s not what I’m saying!

What I am saying is sometimes we need to change our attitudes and expectations in order to make positive changes in our lives.

Sounds simple doesn’t it?  Think that’s going to be easy?

No, it is not.

Simple does not equal easy.  If you’re expecting to do one little thing and have your life change without the attendant difficulty, you are so wrong.

Change– real change– takes work, commitment, focus and the right attitude.

You have to want the change.

And you must be willing to work for it.  But changing your attitude first is the right way to tackle big life changes.

Start with a positive environment, and add hopeful, positive encouragement from yourself and those around you.  In fact, I’d go so far as to tell you you need to lose the negativity around you as a good first step.

I am serious when I say, anyone who brings a “you can’t do that or shouldn’t even try” attitude with them is quickly deprived of my company.  Often, we doubt our ability to try new things, and new ventures, while often exciting are also difficult.  Why would you make these things more difficult by dragging a naysayer along on your personal journey?

Seriously, I’m not suggesting that you won’t get things wrong, or require the help of others, but a gentle push in the right direction or a correction with intent to improve are far different than those who are quick to jump in and tell you to “let change go.  It’s just not good for you.”

So, tell me why you find it hard to make changes.  Tell me what works best for you. Please share a story which shows us why things that are difficult are often worth the effort.

What really works best for aspiring writers. . .

The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.

― Leo Tolstoy

I’ve been writing a lot lately about the hopes, dreams, aspirations and desires of the aspiring writer.  We all know who we are and how hard we work to make those dreams come true.  But Leo Tolstoy–a writer himself– had it exactly right.

Most of us believe we are patient people.  I don’t even attempt to kid anybody about what I’m not, which is patient.  Anyone who’s ever met me will tell you I have the patience of a gnat in heat.  Not good.

I have good intentions though, and we all know how those are used.  Oh, and I do have time.  As the old song says, “Time is on my side. .  .yes it is.”

That’s because I’ve been writing, and consequently learning to write for the last ten years.  I’ve studied craft in every aspect.  I’ve learned from masters in the field, experts in every genre, and mentors as well as writing coaches.

All that’s left is to just do it.  After another round of editing, professional this time.  If I learned nothing else, I learned you always need a pair of professional eyes on the final manuscript.  So that’s where we are now.

The blog will continue and I will continue to share what I learn each and every day.  I do know truly successful writers never stop learning.  They work on improving their craft every day.  So that’s the plan.

I will continue to blog on Mondays about all things writing and reading.  About storytelling of every kind.  Occasionally I will do a movie review, because to me it’s simply a different sort of storytelling.  I will be happy to share some serial stories throughout the year along with my blog mates, and even on occasion a little flash fiction.

Now all I need to know is, what interests you?

Leave a comment and tell me what you’d like to hear about.