Monday, March 14, 2011
If I could Do It All Over Again... Part II
This is a continuation of last week's blog, which are my notes from this year's LTUE symposium panel discussion, "What would I do differently if I could do it all over again?" Panel members were Kathlene Dalton-Woodbury, Brad R. Torgersen, Dave Wolverton/Farland and Lisa Mangum. You can go back to last week's post (March 7, 2011) to read the first part of the discussion.
Brad said he wished he had started seeking out events like this (LTUE). He said he was pretty isolated, just reading and writing. He didn't talk to anybody and he thinks that hurt him as a writer. He recommends getting out and talking to people. He said to get different feedback.
Kathlene believes writers groups can make a big difference. She recommended two that she's involved with: the Hatrack and Nauvoo writers groups. She said when receiving feedback, you should look for consensus. She said if three people are telling you the same thing, you may want to pay attention to what they say, If only one person is saying something and it doesn't sound right to you, feel free to ignore it. Kathlene believes that one of the benefits of a critique group is that you have to give feedback to other people, so you get to see how stories work and why they sometimes don't work. Your feedback to other people helps you learn and perceive. The things you learn can be applied to your own writing.
Brad said, "I think it's easy to look at those who are successful and try to duplicate that. Don't look at a book or anthology or magazine and just look for big names. Look for what you like. Let those stories resonate and figure out what you can apply to your writing.
Dave said he always tells new writers that they have to invest in themselves. He said we all have the same number of hours in a day. He often hears writers say they wish they could find more time to write. He never has found time to write. He has to make time to write. He likes to use TiVo for viewing television because he can cut out the commercials and watch it on his own schedule. He said he doesn't have time for TV. He also recommends reading widely. He said it's important to find out what the competition is up to. He also recommends reading books on writing and attending workshops. These are the ways writers can invest in themselves and they need to do it over and over again. It pays off if you're really serious. Dave said he knows some very good writers who simply haven't invested enough in themselves to be successful. you have to make it a priority.
Lisa said she finds it helpful for other people to give her deadlines. She said you have to recognize where you can snatch time to write, or when you can take a whole day. If someone else is controlling your deadline, you are more likely to actually finish on time. You are less likely to fudge on your time and give yourself a break if you're accountable to someone else.
Brad agreed. "Discipline was a big thing for me," he said, "I spent a lot of time thinking about being a writer and reading about being a writer. My wife finally said, 'If you keep going like this, it's never going to happen.'" Brad says you need to get off your rear and get busy. Get a regimen; get some discipline; get over the hobbyist mentality. Even the stuff you write when you think it's sludge is golden, just like what you write when you feel like it's golden.
For next week, watch for the third and final post from this panel discussion, where the panel members will answer audience questions and make their final statements.