Friday, December 21, 2012

Thank FSM for editors

I almost feel like I should repeat part of the first paragraph of my previous post here, but I think I'm just going to ignore the mole hill people have made into Everest. It's not like many are actually reading my posts, despite the record number of hits on my blog yesterday, thanks to my article on Suzy Favor Hamilton that came out months ago at I'm in shock, more over the childish behaviors people have displayed than anything that was dragged into the spotlight. The only things I will say are the following: I have known Suzy since high school. She is a friend and has been nothing but kind and supportive ever since we met. I know some of her struggles, and she knows mine. It's not my place to pass judgement, and I wouldn't over something like this anyway. Her recent actions do not diminish her outstanding achievements as a runner, nor do they erase all her kind and charitable actions throughout her life. She's human, and I wish people wouldn't forget that as the snarky and degrading comments fly. I wish her nothing but the best. Considering all that goes on in the world, it's absurd the amount of energy and attention the nameless have put into creating nasty comments about something that should be private. I really hope things die down soon.

Moving on ...

I discovered that writing is rewriting, rewriting with a critical eye, rewriting a third time with a creative eye and then hiring a good editor to fix it.

Someone once told me that anyone who continues to write will naturally get better. That's not entirely true. Work has to be thrown in the mix. Simply writing without critique doesn't automatically lead to improvement. I will admit that I'm not a great writer. Sometimes I'm not even all that competent. Still, I keep aiming for good. By reading the work of others, listening to critiques of my writing and working at it, I believe I have made improvements. What's frustrating is knowing I will never be at that genius level, and may not even break into the great category. It's a little bit like running though. I know I don't have to be great in order to enjoy it and touch others in some way. Just like I used to dream of being something outstanding in running (with far more talent than I will ever have in writing) I dream of being able to toss words together in the crazy and unique ways that some of my literary heroes do.

What I lack:

1. Confidence. I constantly get in my own way.
2. A large vocabulary. I'm working on it.
3. A powerful command of the English language. I'm working on that too.

Other stumbling blocks:

1. Lack of time and/or motivation. Sometimes having to work, do laundry, focus on health or survive takes precedence over writing. Often just getting to the end of the day leaves me too drained to write.
2. Dyslexia. Yes, it's a bitch to write having dyslexia. It also explains why I need a good editor, though my blog posts are unedited. Hopefully it doesn't show too mcuh.  ;)

Things that help me along in my writing:

1. Even though I'm not as creative as some, there's creativity brewing somewhere in me.
2. I have a reasonable understanding of grammar and sentence structure, though I often feel the need to double and even triple check myself, and even then I sometimes get it wrong.
3. Having the desire to express myself through writing is a definite asset.

Blogging can be a little bit like doing the scales in music or putting in those slow miles as part of training. Right now I'm working on a few writing projects including some fiction pieces, and my blog posts keep me in the writing mode. I found out that I'm not very good at writing horror, but I'm struggling through it, freaking myself out in the process and realizing that even when it doesn't come naturally or easily, good material can be produced.

My brain is in a bit of a fog at the moment, so I'm going to cut this short. I'm struggling with foot issues and winter depression. Because of this, I'm giving myself credit for making it through each day without imploding too terribly lately. Despite longing to spend a month or three doing nothing but eat chocolate ice cream with peanut butter on top and nap, I'm forcing myself to be in the world.


  1. Concerning your first paragraph: well said. I have never met Suzy, but in general, it's shocking (and very sad) how judgmental people can be.

    I think it was Kevin Beck's review of your book that said you don't give yourself enough credit for your running accomplishments (and he has a point...I'm not sure you realize how impressive your running credentials are), and it's a similar situation with your writing, where you can't see how good it actually is (Type A personality much?). You bring a lot of passion and sincerity to your writing, and that alone makes it interesting and engaging. I hope that you eventually decide to share your fiction with the public, because I think you have a lot of potential as a writer.

    1. Thank you so much, Becki.

      I'm working on getting out of my own way. I struggle with writing, but reading Stephen King's book called "On Writing" is helping me understand that many writers struggle, even the good ones. That helps, because I hear about so many authors who turn out book after book in no time. I start thinking I should be doing the same.

      When I do complete some of my fiction, I will definitely let people know, as long as my editor is willing to work his magic on it first. ;)

    2. The good part about writing not being your primary source of income is that you have the luxury of taking your time on books, and not churning out book after book. I feel like sometimes authors who do that sometimes have quality issues (not all, but some). Even Stephen King...he's probably one of my favorite authors, and he's written several absolute masterpieces (The Stand, Pet Sematary, and Christine are among the best horror/sci-fi books that I've read), but he's also written a lot of stuff that's of a noticeably lower quality, especially some of his newer stuff (there were a few I couldn't even get through). That's my opinion, of course, and I'm sure The Regulators has its fans too, but I guess what I'm trying to say is don't give up your muse in order to do what you "think" you should do.

    3. That's a really good point! The few times I have written with a deadline, I have gotten this weird deadline paralysis. It's too stressful.

      I need to read the Stand. Funny, I'm a Stephen King fan, but I haven't read all that many book by him.

      Thank you, Becki. I'm going to try to keep plugging away at this writing thing. I do love it!

  2. I feel the same way about the SFH news as I came to feel about the Tiger Woods flap, it is a private matter between that person and his or her loved ones. The woman has not raced in nearly a decade, this lacks even relevance in the sport. Whenever I see someone publicly injecting or inviting opinionated commentary on this topic, I just have to shake my head in wonder that people get so easily -- if not eagerly -- swept up in slack-jawed gawking at celebrity and scandal.