Anticipa……tion

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Anticipation.  It’s hard to wait.  I submitted my book, An Eye for An Eye, to a publisher and had some good feedback about it.  I’ve made it past the first few hoops, and am eagerly awaiting the thumbs up or the thumbs down.

Like any writer, I’ve had my share of rejections.  When I first started writing features, I had some rejected.  Bummer.  But what did I do?  I wrote another feature.  And then another.  And yet another.  Now, most stories I write are picked up by one publication or another.  Some I even sell the same story to more than one publication.

So what does this mean for my book?  Well, if I am lucky enough to land a book deal, I’ll celebrate and continue to write my next book.  If I acquire another rejection to put on my spindle, I’ll know that I’m a real writer because I had the courage to send the book off for consideration–and continue to write my next book.

Writing is a craft.  You can’t get better at writing if you don’t write.

Letters form words.  Words form sentences.  Sentences form paragraphs.  Learn to put them all together well, then practice, practice, practice and a writer will emerge.

Meanwhile, while I write, I wait.

 

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Say Yes

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Sometimes in life you have to leap and let the net appear. The same is true with writing.

For instance, recently the Toyota trial about cars speeding up without warning was going on in the metro are where I live. I heard that Bloomberg News needed a correspondent to cover the verdict. I was all over it! This great opportunity to write for a major news outlet seemed to be perking along until I was asked the question, “How many trials have you covered?”

There’s no use in being dishonest in life, so I said, “Zero.”  Sadly, Bloomberg wanted someone who had covered trials before.  I understand that.  Even though I knew I could handle whatever they threw at me, to them, I am an unknown quantity.  They passed.

I felt the Big Break pass before my eyes.

What did I do?  I seized an opportunity.

It just so happens that very same day The Norman Transcript, for whom I am a regular freelance contributor, approached me about covering a different, high-profile trial.

I said yes.

And guess what? I made page A1 above the fold.  I shared the coveted space with the editor who covered the other half of the day’s events.  So, the next time Bloomberg or someone else calls and asks if I have trial experience, I can say, “You bet!”

As for me, when opportunity knocks, it’s about saying yes and more. It’s about saying, “Welcome!”

I’ve worked hard to get my name out there.  The break will come again and I’ll be ready.

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Starting to Write

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Stephen King is on to something.

Sometimes just staring at the blank screen is daunting.  But it doesn’t have to be.  Let your characters float around your head and talk to each other–and you–for a while. They’ll help you figure out what you’re going say before you sit to write. That’s the good part.  The <em>best</em> part is that they won’t likely tell you everything and they’ll take you on a journey as you write.

This method works for me as a feature writer, too.  I go and do my interviews.  I take notes and pictures. Then I drive home to write. During the drive, I mull over what I’ve learned. What I saw, heard, smelled, tasted, felt. I go into my mental fitting room and try on different leads. Some don’t fit. Others do, but they look better on the hanger than they do in real life.  So I ditch them.

Sometimes, before I even reach my computer, I end up with a terrific idea for a lead! And when inspiration doesn’t hit me while I’m on the road, at least I’ve eliminated various ideas that won’t work. I accept progress in whatever form it takes.

So, as I embark on my second novel, I’m letting my characters talk to me. They ping around my brain and when they hit the wall, they bounce off and another idea forms. Through this process, I’m getting to know them and they’re getting to know me.

So the scary part of writing will be in the plot, not staring at the screen.

Write on!

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