The Road Less Traveled

recovery-1221737__340.jpgIt has been awhile. The thought of writing my blog has haunted me. Not that I don’t love it. I just have been working on my novels. And boy do they need work! I’ve come to learn, I am not a great writer.

Hmmmm, I am not sure I had proclaimed I was…but all the same, I do need to hone my craft. I think I always knew that in the back of my head. I just was so excited to get the story out of my head, I didn’t stop to make sure my writing was up to standards. I need to learn to write well. Write beautifully…not just beautiful stories.

So, in my pursuit to be ‘the best that I can be,’ I have been working on writing. I have been writing non-stop for months. It is endless, but I think I am making progress. I took a two day course with an amazing coach, Margie Lawson, and have now purchased a few more courses from her. SHE IS AMAZING…did I already say that? As I told her, it was like she cleaned my windshield and now I can see the road more clearly. My writing is better…much better because of her. I also realized how little I really know about being a writer. With craft books purchased, writing seminars planned, and even a writing class in the future maybe I will not only create beauty for the mind, but write beautiful words for the eyes.

Which leads me to my real reason to write today. I am in a quandary: Write the way I want, or write what the publishing world is asking?

Of course, you would say, do research and find out what others are doing. Well, that is just the problem. EVERYONE HAS AN OPINION. Every writer, every agent, every publisher.  The advise is wide and splintered.

“Write to the genre standards.”

Haven’t big books, successful books, talked about books been out of the box?” Certainly Harry Potter’s magical world was not so common when written. It wasn’t even meant for children. There were horror books before, but Stephen King’s psychological terror meshed with superstitions and the supernatural brought on a whole dimension people had never really imagined. He didn’t make you imagine…he made it reality!

“Write for you.”

Everyone…and I mean EVERYONE has a story. Not necessarily a story most people want to hear let alone read 300 pages. Writers are as diverse as civilizations. Different things appeal to different people. That is the beauty of writing, and the importance of finding your market/readers. Now, getting published when your readers/market is not “popular” (Wicked’s song is now playing in my head) is the battleground writers must overcome. The publishing world is definitely a popularity contest. And there is an inner circle. (That is a whole other blog.) But writers must also admit, there are many stories that people may never want to read…so not every story that you want to write is going to be appealing. Not every story you write needs to be published.

“Write for the reader.”

Readers do know what they like…until you give them something new and then they like that too! Readers are the greatest fans. They enjoy reading and will read what is given to them. But…the publishing world is losing sight of something that isn’t really being monitored. Readers aren’t always enjoying what they are reading. What is being published isn’t always what readers are craving, nor exciting them. They will read what the New York Times tells them too. They read because they want to read. They read because they can’t not read…give them a book, any book, and they will read it. But that doesn’t necessarily equate to what they seek, want, or are looking for.

And the final advise is invariably, “Write what is in your heart.” (Can you hear my breathy voice oozing with sarcasm??????) Can we say, “Bullshit!”

Isn’t the whole point of creating to bring something new, open minds, and offer refreshing perspectives? Giving readers more than they could ever imagine or think? Isn’t that why we write? Doesn’t that have value?

Okay, I get it. Give them what they want and that should equate to success. (Or so I am told.) Creating isn’t always about breaking the mold. Sometimes…no a lot of times…it is about painting the same mold different colors, or dressing it in new outfits, or even doing nothing at all but presenting it on a different shelf, or in a different city. I get it. Not all creative venture is life changing.

My writing isn’t life changing. And according to my editor who, and I quote, “Wanted to throw the first twelve chapters of my latest novel against the wall,” my writing isn’t all that great either. But I do have a distinctive purpose for my writing, making my style unique, and out of the box. In other words, I am not in the popular group!

Do I quit? Do I just give up and say, “Writing is not my destiny.”

As pathetic as this may all sound, I am an ass kicker! I have lived my whole life walking outside the line. Not in a rebellious way. I am as prim and proper as they come. Thrill seeking is not my forte. But, I have always been an outsider…followed my own path. And I do what I do with conviction and strength. It is the only way I have survived the knock down punches, rejections, scoffing, finger pointing, teasing, and judgments.

I am a stand alone woman.

Have I been successful? I guess it is how you look at it. Successful at being me? Absolutely. Successful with fame and fortune….not so much!

Is it hard? DAMN SURE! I may be a stand alone woman, but I still break. I still succumb to self doubt. I am human.

So, here I am. My quandary to write the way I started…write in a style that is all mine? The reason I started writing? Or, do I succumb to the masses and just put a personal shade of lipstick on the mold?

I am not good enough to be blazing new roads. Not yet. I need to be able to travel where others have gone, to get where I am going. But, it is at a sacrifice to my creativity. I am trying to balance both…and in the meantime, work on my craft so that maybe…I will be able to pull aside and take an unknown route that has my name on it.

2 thoughts on “The Road Less Traveled

  1. Ultimately, only you can know when a line or a phrase says EXACTLY what you intend. That’s what you work for…and then you write another, and another. Don’t even think about what anyone else says. That only dissipates your inspiration. Later…much later is the time to think about what an agent or publisher might say.

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