Thursday, November 20, 2008

On Writing and Sanity

So, at the last several talks I've given I've found myself repeating something that I don't know that I've said here. It's about how you balance your mental attitude and stay sane in a fundamentally irrational business.

First, the way you should feel about whatever book or story you are writing this very minute, is that it is absolutely your best work ever and will be irresistable to readers.

Second, whatever book or story you are revising or getting critiqued at this very moment, is a solid piece of work that can and will be improved if you work at it and learn from comments.

Third, whatever work you have just finished, is ready to go out to agents or editors and you're excited to get it in the mail.

Fourth, whatever work has been bought or is being shopped around, no longer exists until and unless a decision is called for on your part.

Fifth, whatever work has been published or set aside is complete and an example of your work at the time, not something that reflects the writer you are now.

Sixth, whatever work you are going to embark on next will be made better by what you will learn from the completion of what you are working on now. So much so that once you have finished the current work, this new project will be the best thing you have ever written, bar non.

Repeat as often as possible.

7 comments:

Rob Vagle said...

I love this! Well put. This is the exact same frame of mind that I've been cultivating for myself over the years.

This deserves to be printed and posted on the wall.

Beth said...

Yep, definitely will put this on the wall. I needed this now, Kelly - thanks!!

Kelly Swails said...

Yep, this just about sums it up. :)

Kelly McCullough said...

Glad it's useful. Staying sane in this biz is a lot of work.

Erik Buchanan said...

Thanks, Kelly.

It's been a rough few months, and this was exactly what I needed to read right now.

MariAdkins said...

Kelly! Thank you! I needed this right now! {hugs} This is such a keeper, too.

Greg Laden said...

You are home writing a book but you have not proven yourself.

"First, the way you should feel about whatever book or story you are writing this very minute, is that it is absolutely your best work ever and will be irresistable to readers." Call to adventure!

"Second, whatever book or story you are revising or getting critiqued at this very moment, is a solid piece of work that can and will be improved if you work at it and learn from comments." Initiation and trial!

"Third, whatever work you have just finished, is ready to go out to agents or editors and you’re excited to get it in the mail." Return home!

"Fourth, whatever work has been bought or is being shopped around, no longer exists until and unless a decision is called for on your part." The Magic Fight!

"Fifth, whatever work has been published or set aside is complete and an example of your work at the time, not something that reflects the writer you are now." Rescue!

"Sixth, whatever work you are going to embark on next will be made better by what you will learn from the completion of what you are working on now. So much so that once you have finished the current work, this new project will be the best thing you have ever written, bar non." The return threshold, you are the master of two worlds, you have the freedom to live!

Funny how these things work.