Wednesday, March 18, 2009

writerly advice . . . that I should take

I want to thank Lindsey Leavitt for this week's advice I've heard a million times but this time I think it actually sank in.  Since I started blogging, I've discovered the bottomless pit that is the writing community online.  It's seriously huge.  Although, it's also seriously small.  (Just like the world).  I'm always finding connections between people that I previously only knew un-connected.  And, anyway, while reading about writing and attending a couple of writing conferences, I've heard a few things more than once.  The reason they get said more than once is because they are true, and because we don't listen.  For instance, at the first conference I ever attended, a lovely children's book author said, "You have to write because you love it."  Not for any other reason - like, say, getting rich.  An agent the next year said, "Write what you love."  Or in another agent's words (heck, a million other agents' words), "Don't follow trends."  

This is all super helpful, right?  I'm sitting there all stressed out about whether or not the publishing industry is ever going to notice me, and all these people are putting the stars back in my eyes by reminding me that the joy has to come from the writing itself.  Or you'll always be very, very dissatisfied.  It worked every time, but still somehow my husband and I end up in conversations in which I'm trying to decide how to write about vampires since it appears that they sell well.  (I just hope my agent isn't reading this and thinking,  Dude, I wish you would give me something with vampires.  Because that would kind of step all over this highly insightful post.)  

So we have the conversation about vampires or witchcraft or sad, literary endings and then, inevitably, I'm re-focused by some great author or agent or editor who knows how to chill and enjoy the ride.  Now, usually their journey has sort of landed on a shelf somewhere at some point, but still - I have to assume they know, I'm convinced they're right, and it works every time.  This week's benefactress, as I said:  Lindsey Leavitt.

You can click on her name to visit an interview with her.  She's - well - simply delightful, and she has a book coming out about a substitute princess (a girl who steps in for princesses around the world), and she had this advice for writers.  "Write your heart out."  She said we get so caught up in the pursuit of publication that we forget to just write, write, write.  And unless you do that, there won't be anything to publish.  

NOW, if people would just stop telling me that we're not supposed to quit the day job, I would find it so much easier to put Lindsey's awesome advice into practice.  

9 comments:

Felicity said...

Well, can you say CHARMING?! She was charming. You are absolutely correct - I feel like I need to go write something sublime now.

Felicity said...

For the pure joy of it, of course.

Rebecca Ramsey said...

She is so cool! And lovely and charming, just as Felicity says!
Thanks for introducing her to me!

serenity said...

You're welcome! I'm so excited I've gotten her some fans. :)

Kathy said...

And do we have to wait until you get a book deal to get a Vlog from you? Too cool.

Now, I'm off to write my heart out.

lindsey-leavitt said...

Thank you so much! I don't think I've ever been called a benefactress. I want to print it on a T-shirt or something.
And can I just tell you I love this blog? "Serenity now" is actually in one of my old novels thanks to my character who loves Seinfeld (OK, I love Seinfeld and it kind of bled over). I say it all the time and now my four-year-old has picked it up, except it sounds more like serenemeney, which is a rather soothing word itself.
Now off to follow my own dang writing advice...
~Lindsey

serenity said...

Wow! The woman herself. "Man, you say someone's name enough, and they eventually turn around!" (That's in case Lindsey's a Friends fan too.) Thanks for stopping by, Lindsey! I'm a new fan of your blog as well!

Anonymous said...

yay another cool blog to visit, I agree with Felic, charming charming!! thanks Seren for sharing....
luv
Tiff

Den said...

I'd read the vampire book. But I don't think it'd be worth doing just to get on the list. My bet is that in the long run, not a lot of vampire fiction will be remembered. Trends come and go but a good bit of writing puts you in touch with a person and weathers well even if it shows its age. I'm afraid genre fiction for the sake of being in the genre seldom does so (though there are perhaps exceptions). Anyway, all that to say, don't worry about the vampires.