Writing it down and weighing it up

If you want to write anything for publication or pleasure may as well get yourself a notebook or exercise book depending on how mobile you are during the day.

Using a notebook, Dictaphone, or mobile phone somehow, may be good for people on the move. For writer’s in one place most of the time, all of those ways are good, but a writer in one place may use an exercise book effectively.

The idea is to write, jot, or note down what comes to mind, your inspirations, your thoughts, that may become stories, poems, articles, and so on.

But not every idea is worth its weight in gold.

When I’m in a critical frame of mind, there are ideas I see in my external environment, or whatever ideas I’m engaging with, that I may dismiss.

But if I reviewed the product I would give it a chance.

At the end of engaging in the product I may ask myself if the idea stacked up. Even asking that question is slanted on the negative. If one has to ask it, what does that say about the product?

The lesson of that is some ideas are always going to be poor and some are going to be good.

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Opportunity knocks

When I did a writing course, the tutor said to the class to ask the publisher for writer’s guidelines before one sent them a story. Don’t write the story and send it without reading the guidelines first, in other words. So, that’s what I did this week.

There are no online guidelines to access with the publisher I am interested in writing for so I sent them an email. An editor came back to me by email a few days later with some positive feedback. He would be interested in seeing some samples of my devotional writing. Opportunity knocks.

Looking closer

On the writing journey, there is at least one thing a writer can do to improve their work. It is to look closer at how they are putting something. Instinct to write is compelling, and then excitedly submit the work. The piece sounds okay or good, but look closer. Thinking twice can improve the piece no ends. Looking for ways to make the piece more interesting and compelling.

A time to cast away

A few months ago I wrote several devotions. They were intended for a publication I had in mind. After I wrote them, I waited. One may wait. How the writing sounds one moment may sound completely different two months later. Which means in two or three months (or a matter of weeks in other cases) that writing may be taken to the cleaners or it’s perfect as it is.

A good thing about waiting is that one can see the writing with fresh eyes later on. I hadn’t rushed ahead and submitted the writing straight away. And I realized, after letting the writing “marinate” for months later, that these devotions should be cast aside, put almost in the recycle bin, but not quite, because that would be disrespectful. So, I placed the devotions in another folder, to never see the light of day again.

 

Research can get done, but before it does, read for leisure as well as research

If your too focussed on your research, it can drain rather than sustain.

Research may start off promising and enthusiastically especially if one likes the subject.

If one is interested and engrossed in research at work, it’s a bonus, rather than researching something you don’t care about but it pays the bills. However, if one can apply their brains to something then researching any subject may at least be interesting…yet some subjects are just boring depending on who you are.

Personal research or research done on one’s esteem rather than a boring subject done for work is done with a lot of enthusiasm.

But if you start focussing on your purpose for this fun research, like I do, it can drain the life out of the research and it starts bogging you down. It is no longer fun.

A solution is to take a break for a while and read for leisure like one would normally do. Reading for leisure is important as it relaxes the brain.

If your fun research becomes a trudge through mud, get back to basics and read something for leisure rather than concentrating on your purpose. Focusing on your purpose can drain the life out of your research, so take five. Even start reading the same thing but for leisure.

It sounds funny to research for fun, but one’s interests can take one there like learning about your family history.

In terms of personal or fun research, it is also important to stick with your original research plan and not give up – done in stages rather than in one bout. It can get done.

A writer’s state of mind on a grey day

Bad days are gone, grey days instead. In the grey days there’s a sliver of hope.

The day may be grey. A rejection letter that sounded like a gentle let down. A letter from the editor that while the piece hasn’t been accepted, it’s on the short list. Tiny bits of encouragement woven in.

With that little bit of encouragement, one is encouraged to do more. There may be encouragement in a letter from the editor. The letter may be a rejection, but although this sounds funny, there’s the bit in the letter that says try again, send another one, and see how it goes.

The letter may say your piece is on the short list and the bit of encouragement is to feel free to submit something else in the meantime. That could be two pieces that get published or more.

So, with this encouragement one starts to conceive fanciful ideas. What will my next piece be about? How should I write it? Better be careful in writing it properly. It gives one a bit of hope that the next time the editor sends you an email, it may be good news. It gives you the steam to write something else.

Not easy

It is not an easy road getting published, but I had some good news about a month ago that a meditation I submitted to a journal is being seriously considered. It has passed the “first round” or phase one and is on the short list as it was. The outcome, I’ve been told, will take quite a while, which goes to show how rigorous getting selected for publication can be. Not easy. Many other devotional pieces are in the same boat, but only a few survive.

What one can deliver

Little things I pick up along the way…as I was reading a book, I stumbled onto a nugget of wisdom. The book appraised films for this or that reason and a reason a critic gave was personally illuminating. The critic said a certain director wasn’t prepared to go the places a subject or premise would naturally go. It clicked. If I am to write stories, write stories I am prepared to deliver on. Go to the places the subject demands. If I can’t go there, don’t write it.