Friday, January 25, 2019

Kicking It Old School-Back To Basics By Nancy Gideon

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

How’s an ‘80s Lady author who wrote her first six books long hand and typed them up on a Smith Corolla supposed to keep up with this ever-spinning world of technology? It took me three years to break down and buy a word processor (and only because I had wrist surgery) then five more to sit down to that first computer (anyone remember the Framework program that went obsolete in about ten days and left me with tons of words trapped on 5” disks I couldn’t open?). I finally tried the internet at verbal gunpoint (remember Pandora?) I still have no idea how chatrooms and online classes work! And don’t get me started on the social media frenzy.

Now, instead of having five years to sneak up on the idea of change, I have about five minutes to learn PowerPoint, to tackle Excel spreadsheets, to master Instragram when I don’t even know how to put my phone on airplane mode! There’s always some new miracle for unlocking creative genius – NaNo, Deep POV, the Hero’s Journey to journaling. There are groups and classes and webinars, programs like Scrivener, sprint timers. Sometimes I feel like I’m in the perfume aisle with Barbies squirting unpleasant smells on me, coaxing, “You’ve got to try this!” No, really, I don’t when all I come away with is a headache.

I confess, some new things I really enjoy, like Canva and Quotes Cover for creating promo graphics. I loved Joomla, my old website managing program which was fun to tinker with behind the scenes, but was forced into Wordpress, which I loathe. Though resistant for decades, I found a Write In with noise canceling headphones a great tool. I use Post-Its to set up my plotlines. I’ve jumped on the group FB event bandwagon with some moderate success (but my follow through stinks!). But with all the trials and errors and frustrations, I’ve never found any recipe for success that compares to the famous Nora Roberts quote “Butt in Chair, Hands on Keyboard” for getting the job done. Just show up on time and do the work. It all comes down to this: All the knowledge and tricks and classes in the world can’t sell an empty page. You have to write the d--- book! Don’t let all the busyness of what we do distract from that simple truth. 

Should we improve our craft? Yes! Should we promote it? Yes! Should we hang with a like tribe? Definitely! But the most important hours of your day need to be dedicated to one basic rule, best said by another of my idols:

2018 was a year of struggle personally, professionally and emotionally (remember, I don’t play well with changes!). Creativity seemed to have deserted me and the joy of words lay silent. I’ve got only one focus in 2019 - getting back to basics. To that 4:30 a.m. date with characters I adore, and a purse filled with dialog scribbled on Post Its. If I don’t love what I’m doing, readers won’t love what I’m writing. Passion transfers onto the page. 

Last year was labor. This year is love. 

Where are you in your writer’s journey?
Nancy Gideon on the Web


Francesca Quarto said...

No labor is in vain if it produces sought outcomes. You are a good example for all of us who might falter in our resolve. Just like getting old, writing isn't for sissies! Stay the course and all of that! Time to set your world on fire again!

Francesca Q.

Diane Burton said...

You're singing my song, Nancy. At least, it was back in 2011. This old dog had to learn new tricks to keep up. Thanks to many, many caring, supportive writers, I learned FB, Twitter, & Triberr. I haven't tackled Instagram, but Daughter tells me I need to for my MG book coming out this spring. I used to be scared to try anything. What if I fail? What if I break something? When I worked in an office, I found the most helpful guys in IT (Windows) and accounting (Excel). I learned to "play" with programs, even though Canva isn't as easy for me as it is for others. Now I know if it breaks there's always customer support and the Geek Squad. Don't be afraid of new things. 2019 is going to be so good for you, Nancy.

Maureen said...

It does seem as if technology changes with warp speed, and that it's almost impossible to keep up. But getting the words on the page is the important thing, that never changes. Here's to an awesome 2019!

Ornery Owl of Naughty Netherworld Press and Readers Roost (Not Charlotte) said...

I have an Instagram, but most of the time I forget it's there. I don't know how to use Pinterest as anything but a cataloging system. I don't have a Snapchat or whatever of the newest of these sorts of things is. I must confess, when it comes to Twitter, I mostly use it to poke the bear, aka call out that critter in the White House on his multitude of hypocritical and mean-spirited blatherings.
I'm kind of forced to know the workings of a smartphone for my job.
I have to admit, I like technology. But I'm far from "up to the minute" in my knowledge. My computer is going on four years old, my smartphone is so two years ago, and half the time I don't even know what the latest thing people are prattling on about is. I couldn't afford it anyway.

Lisa said...

I admit I love all the internet stuff, including the IWSG postings! But you are so very right, and so is Nora, butt in chair, fingers on keyboard is the best thing to do any time. This morning, each month, is dedicated to blogging, but this afternoon I will be doing just that, writing. Thanks for dropping by my blog and commenting!