Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Things I Didn't Know About Writing Before I Took the Plunge(Guest Post: Lanie Jacobs)

“Things I didn’t know about writing before I took the plunge”
My writing career began with an idea that really was as simple for me, as saying, “Hey, I want to write a book.”  So, that is exactly what I set out to do. I did some research on my characters, came up with plots and sub plots, thought about my topic and made little sticky notes in my office.  I planned out my characters and then my plot began to form along with my characters.
Then — after writing about fifteen chapters —I decided that I wanted to take a writing class.
Wow, that really opened my eyes to everything I had been doing wrong.  It took me months to correct my mistakes.  Honestly, I should have just started fresh, but I am stubborn. I was bound by the thoughts going through my mind that this was my rough draft — and it was going to be the only rough draft.
Yea, right.  Actually, no — it ended up being one of many. My stubborn ego took a few hits along the way, but today, I am still just as stubborn as ever.
The first thing I learned, is how unorganized I was. To be a writer you have to be organized and prepared, right? Well, not this girl!  I was an organized pile of hot mess. Sticky notes here, note book notes there.  Emails and rough drafts all over the place.  Like I said, I was a hot mess.
Though I am still a bit of a mess, I have learned that organization is better than frantically searching all over the room, for that one note about that one scene that you simply must have at that exact moment.
Then I was told you need to have an outline.  Wait! What?  Well, my stubborn mind said no you don’t, you got this.   And guess what — I so did not “have this.”  So, after my second rough draft, I broke down and created an outline.  Oh, my beautiful piece of work how I love you!   I will never start another book without an outline.
Every time I write, I struggle not to type like I talk.  It’s hard being Southern.   I have a tendency to type a little, let’s say, hickish.  Some may not have that problem… but I surely do.  The struggle is real.  Wait, hold on, let me get my educated hat on. There that sounds a lot better, and wow, did I actually write that?  Yes, those thoughts really go through my head.
When it is all over and you are ready for editing, polish it ‘till it shines.  And then, when you think it’s polished, polish it again.  Editing is such an important part of the process that — if you can’t edit it yourself — make sure you find someone who can.
One of my struggles in writing, other than my own head, is being an independent author, the marketing is not as easy as I thought it would be. I love the fact that I can write what I want, when I want, but sometimes it is hard to stay focused on a project.  I don’t have anyone telling me to change something that I don’t want to change, but, sometimes a second opinion is just what I really needed.  While I don’t have deadlines to meet, sometimes that lack of pressure allows me to procrastinate a little too much.  Marketing is not my forte, so I have struggled on that part a great deal.  Finally, let me just say that writing isn’t for the weak.  You must be determined, focused, and persistent to succeed.

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