Today I am excited to announce my first blog series, to be called…
…the Monday Reminder. (Oooooooh, aaaaah!)
For this series, I’ll be asking you to send me your to-do lists, then posting them here on Mondays so you’ll be reminded of all the things you have to do whenever you visit the blog.
…ooooor maybe not.
What I’m actually going to be writing about starts with the story of my very limited experience with writers’ conferences.
Now, when I say “very limited”, I mean I’ve been to two: the Gen Con Writer’s Symposium and… the Gen Con Writer’s Symposium a second time. 😛 I’m still in that early stage where the head-voices say I’m not good enough to go to writers’ conferences, despite the fact that half the point of such conferences is to help writers get better!
The GCWS featured panels full of advice, wisdom, and stories from the author life, as well as opportunities to have your work critiqued and to talk to the authors. Last year I spazzed out over met Michael J. Sullivan and Scott Lynch, both of whose books I happened to be reading at the time.
One thing I noticed while sitting in panels was that a lot of the advice consisted of things I’d heard before. Things I’d read, or learned in college writing courses, or just picked up. Even a few things I was already putting into practice in my own writing.
But I didn’t feel cheated, or like I’d wasted my time. On the contrary, I was bolstered. Just because an author’s published and sitting on a panel doesn’t mean s/he’s automatically right, but at the same time, there’s something immensely encouraging about hearing that someone successful has gone through the same struggles, used the same methods, and followed the same writing tips that you have. It makes it real, hearing an actual person tell you, “This works.”
I left those panels feeling that, as much as we all bend and break the rules/guidelines of writing, there really are solid foundations upon which we can build our stories, foundations which don’t limit creativity but lead to spectacular results. I was convinced that I, too, could achieve the same success if I stuck with it. I was even a little bit surer that I was on the right track—or at least in the right arena.
What I learned in those panels was that we don’t always need new wisdom. Some days we need fresh perspectives on old, “tired” advice. “No-brainers” rephrased in ways that make us want to think about them again. And sometimes we simply need to hear someone else say something we already believe, just so we don’t feel alone.
The point of this series, then, is going to be to put some of those reminders out there, in case you need to hear them. I’m not going to try for anything brilliant and inspired, nor particularly long. In fact, many of the Monday Reminders will probably be tweet-length in essence, with a bit of elaboration or an example from my own experience. While some will be specific to writers, I hope that many will be relevant to all creatives, focused less on the craft of writing than the creative life overall.
I’m not a super-successful published author sitting on a panel at a conference, but it’s my hope that these posts will leave you feeling encouraged, knowing there’s at least one other person out there who knows what it’s like and is cheering you on.
(Note that there won’t be a Monday Reminder every week, but when they appear, it will always be on Mondays. Because who doesn’t need an extra boost on Monday?)