Sunday, January 2, 2011

Tips from the Tops

Oh yes - I remembered that I promised this feature. I've mostly done them on Sundays but I don't intend to make it a certain day - just to remember to do it once a week.
Today I did about two hours of revision. Felt good - back in my old office, clean desk, nice copy I've been working from and I use to keep me focussed. I only have about twenty pages to edit then I need to put it all in the computer. Whew! Then and that should be by the end of the week - I can send it out to my first readers PLUS the dear Tartlette. I'm so thrilled that she offered.
So I'm trying to figure out what besides New Years intentions and aspirations made today such a go-ahead day. This is what I thought:

Here is my tip from the top today.

Tip : Show Up! You have to be present to win!
Top: All of them from Mo Morrison (hi Dad!) to Anne Lamott to Stephen King say it in one form or another. Here's Stephen, "Don't wait for the muse. As I've said, he's a hardheaded guy who's not susceptible to a lot of creative fluttering. this isn't the Ouija board or the spirit-world we're talking about here, but just another job like laying pipe or driving long-haul trucks. Your job is to make sure the muse knows where you're going to be every day from nine 'til noon or seven 'til three. If he does know, I assure you that sooner or later he'll start showing up, chomping his cigar and making his magic." Stephen King. On Writing   p157

How it works in my life: Show up, sit down and start writing. If you believe in a muse that isn't a problem but don't believe your muse will show up and nudge you into work. No. He or she will show up if you do . If you don't believe in a muse then you oughta be showing up without this to remind you. Prime the pump by reading out of a favourite book or looking at an inspiring picture or imagining the letter from the publisher but start writing. Only writing improves writing. Only writing creates stories, poems, novels, memoirs - nothing else will do. Not thinking, not dreaming, not joining writer's groups or going to conventions. Sure, do all that - find your people, your tribe - you'll need that but only writing creates writing. Got it? Good. Let's write!

a completely gratuitious picture - my dear only grand-daughter Hannah.


Danette said...

More eyecandy! Terrific picture! I love the Stephen King book On Writing. Don't care for his writing but that book is good and agree you just have to write... and READ. HE reads a lot! Glad you had a productive day!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Yeah, sometimes I think we writers use the poor Muse as an excuse. I've always loved that Thomas Edison quote that goes something like "Most people miss opportunity when it knocks because it's dressed in overalls and looks like work."

DazyDayWriter said...

Hannah is beautiful. My great grandmother was a Hannah -- I have a picture of her on my desk. She's holding an open book, wearing a long white summer dress.

Wishing you a Happy New Year, as well!

Patricia Stoltey said...

Yes, indeed, let's write. I think that's what we're here for, Jan.

I love Hannah's photo. I'll bet she's lots of fun.

Lou Belcher said...

Yes, a great tip... Writing, always writing...


Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Such a sweet photo!

That's a great quotation from King, and I totally agree. It would be so wonderful if we could be inspired every day...but for me, it just doesn't work that way. Better to sit down and write and have inspiration come later in the editing. :)

Jan Morrison said...

Danette - I agree with you - I don't care for his novels but that is because he is too too good at scaring the pants off me!
Tricia - that is a great quote! I love it and it is so true.
Daisy Day - oh yep, that would be my Hannah - she loves to read and I love her to.
Patricia - she is a pile of fun. full of beans as my mom would say.
Lou - yes. That's it - so simple when you think about it and so hard to do!
Elizabeth - yes, first the persperation then the inspiration!

Kari Marie said...

I love the photo! I came to a conclusion recently that I need to start waking up and writing every morning. It's the only quiet time I really get in the house and it would give me a specific time to write - and a specific time for Muse to show up.

Great advice!

Glynis said...

Terrific advice. "It's a matter of putting your butt in the seat." is the way I heard it.

Clarissa Draper said...

Because of my new deadlines, I can't wait for the muse to show up. I need to write regardless. I hope somewhere along the way, the muse will take over. Even if it's in the editing process. Great advice.

Hart Johnson said...

YAY for progress! And I totally believe in this... the muse will show up about 60% of the time if you are already writing. If you are NOT writing, he may mock you from time to time, but he won't show up... he feels neglected! (And I really look forward to seeing your MS!)

Carol Kilgore said...

Nice post. So true about not waiting for your muse to show up. Oh, and a lovely granddaughter :)

Jan Morrison said...

Kari - that's just the ticket I think - the early morning hours are my favourite to write...

Glynis - exactly my dad's words!

Clarissa - I think your deadlines just point out the obvious - your muse isn't going to come before you and call you out! You show up, worker-muse shows up.

Tartlette - yep - they get quite cranky when you make them wait!

Carol - thanks - I think she is pretty swell myself!