On stiff drinks, stiff upper lips, and stiffs.

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Danimal98367
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On stiff drinks, stiff upper lips, and stiffs.

Post by Danimal98367 » October 4th, 2010, 4:55 pm

On stiff drinks, stiff upper lips, and stiffs.
By DanG Hill

Being an unpublished writer is hard work. It might be hard work than being an actual published writer (I would love to be punished with the opportunity to compare). Rather than commiserating on that point I’ll focus on 3 thought for all struggling writers-to-be:

1. Stiff Drinks

Full disclosure – I don’t drink. My ‘stiff drink’ is a Diet Coke. Still, everyone needs a coping drink – something to wash away the struggles of writing and editing and developing an actual plot (Do you have a plot? No really, do you?). Something to relax you into a writer’s frame of mind. Something to cry into when times are tough (and friendly advice pedantic).

I don’t advocate becoming an alcoholic and really do not advise taking up drinking even for the anti-oxidants (Welch’s Grape Juice anyone?). What I am really suggesting is for everyone to find their writing place. It’s like a ‘happy place’ but with a keyboard. For me it is a Diet Coke while I lounge on the back deck listening to hippie music. When I’m there my mind becomes clear and I write my best stuff.

Find yours – drink or no drink.


2. Stiff Upper Lips

Curveball! I don’t mean grow a spine and be tough through adversity as J. M. Cavaness would say (though you absolutely need that too). A million blog posts by writers, agents, and editors have covered that and seventeen million will again.

The stiff upper lip I’m tooting about (that’s what the brass section did before Twitter) is bullheadedness.

There is no writer in the history of putting pen to paper (or papyrus or chisel to stone or keyboard to motherboard) with zero critics. Shakespeare, you say? I criticize. Jane Austin? Yawn. (That should rile a feather or two, you Nancy.)

You may be the worst writer in history but that doesn’t mean you don’t have amazing stories to tell. Do not believe anyone who says otherwise. You have a great story or two to tell but they’re stuck behind terrible writing. Separate the story from the telling. You have a great story in there somewhere – now hone your craft.

Naysayers be damned!


3. Stiffs

The road to publication is littered with dead writers. No, not Tolstoy. I mean the would-be writers who gave up. The site is unnerving and discouraging. Or encouraging.

Seeing how many have failed and given up is your opportunity to think “good, less competition!” It means less crap filling the slush piles you hope to be plucked from!

No, I’m not really advocating celebrating others’ failures. I am simply suggesting that instead of letting the give-up-spirit of those who turned in their “I Wanna be a Writer When I Grow Up” membership cards bring you down, you can look through rose-color glasses at the trail they’ve blazed and learn how not to fail like they did.

Read blogs like this magnificent one. Take every piece of advice and apply it. Attend conferences and workshops. Find a critique partner and give them the best darn advice you can (and let me know if you’re looking for one, ‘cause I am). Read books and find the elements that appeal to you.

And ignore the bodies of the fallen.

Danimal98367
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Joined: June 10th, 2010, 12:41 pm
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Re: On stiff drinks, stiff upper lips, and stiffs.

Post by Danimal98367 » October 4th, 2010, 6:42 pm

Hmm. That (Do you have a plot? No really, do you?). should have been hyperlinked to Nathan's article on plot inwhich he asks that very question.

Possibly the best article on the subject ever!

http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2008/06 ... -plot.html

m.a.leslie
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Joined: October 4th, 2010, 5:29 pm
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Re: On stiff drinks, stiff upper lips, and stiffs.

Post by m.a.leslie » October 7th, 2010, 9:10 pm

Just wanted to simply say, I love this post.

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