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?