I saw the link to 12 Truths I’ve Learned from Life by Anne Lamott in one of my Facebook Groups. I found it interesting and thought I’d share the link for you guys. It’s a TED talk, so you can listen or read it. I read it myself, and am going to go back to listen to it after I set up this blog.
A couple of my favorite lines:
- Every writer you know writes really terrible first drafts, but they keep their butt in the chair. That’s the secret of life. That’s probably the main difference between you and them. They just do it. They do it by prearrangement with themselves. They do it as a debt of honor. They tell stories that come through them one day at a time, little by little. Yes, this! It’s exactly what I’m doing now. It’s a messy, ugly thing, but I’m giving it my commitment every day I can, even if I’m only actually writing an hour or two at a time. And slowly, I’m hearing the whispers my characters again. Each day, each hour, each minute I put in the time to listen and type, the voices will get louder.
- Publication and temporary creative successes are something you have to recover from. She goes on to say MUCH more about it, and I don’t necessarily agree with all of it, for instance when she says, The most degraded and evil people I’ve ever known are male writers who’ve had huge best sellers. That is not my experience. However I do relate to many of the other things she said. One of my biggest surprise successes was The Plus One Chronicles trilogy. I woke up one day, and out of nowhere, it was taking off on the charts. I thought I was seeing things. I had to have someone else look to tell me if it was really happening. And even then, I couldn’t fully grasp what it meant. Eventually, I understood the full implications, and then, it became a frantic race to replicate it, when in all truth, it’s not something we actually can predictably replicate. That kind of sudden, out of the blue, success is as elusive as fog–we can see it, we can almost touch it, and then it shifts and sways and vanishes, only to reappear a mile down the street. A book that is a success in the moment today, may go unnoticed and unappreciated if it came out one year later, or earlier. Chasing success can be crazy-making. What created more havoc for me was the internal pressure of expectation. Both real pressures (have to make money, pay the bills, worry about making more money if someone in the family is sick–Real Life happens to all of us) and the perceived pressures of not letting anyone down; fans, family relying on me, people telling me if I did it once, I could do it again. All that pressure fills and fills until it’s an oversized balloon ready to burst. Anne is right that creative success is temporary and it can be destructive. Writers do better, in my opinion, when we can keep all that outside of our writing space. I think someone who does that well is Nora Roberts. I don’t know her, but my impression of her is that she can separate her author/businesswoman persona from the writer who sits down at that keyboard and writes a story.
Wow I had a lot to say today, LOL! Anyhow, I think this is worth a read or listen if you’re interested.
Happy Wednesday, my friends!