Thursday, September 5, 2013

Day 242 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis






The first lesson is the most pertinent. If you want to get the job done, you have to show up. That means, on the days when you feel like it, and the ones when you don't. The latter are the days you really need to be there, on the job, or in your writer's chair.
Why is being there when you just don't feel like it so damned important? Because it's awful hard to get into the habit of sitting down like this every day. There are days I would rather duff out on my job and take the Harley for a long drive in the mountains. There are days I'd like to pull the same thing on my responsibility to this art. Hey, at least the former has the incentive of a steady paycheck.
So why not just shine it on when the muse is being bitchy? In my case, it's too easy to find an excuse. With a little dressing up I might even pass it off as a reason. The next time it's a little easier, and before you know it, bingo, just like absenteeism would cost me my job, I'd be out of a writing career also.
I work days in a fairly technical trade. This means I have to constantly be learning. The machinery and equipment evolves almost too fast to keep up with and lacksity on my part  means I'm behind the rest of the industry. Like, right now!
It's the same thing in writing. If you want to stay up with what's going on in the industry, you have to stay up with the changes. I see people all the time who have thrown up their hands and given up on the constant evolution of the modern literary environment. The minute you do that, you are definitely out of the game.
Some of the things I work around have the potential to take my grizzled old butt out. I've learned to pay attention to detail and to know when it's time to walk away from something until I can get my focus back. Writing may not kill you, unless you insist on putting an ex-lover or a former enemy in a thinly veiled bit of fiction. But not knowing when to back off and go do something else for a bit can kill your style and authenticity and that's a sure way to go to the writer's bone yard.
Lastly, let go of the slights and treasure the pats on the back. The slights can come from editors, publishers, critics or the public and they definitely sting. Unless you've got the hide of a rhinoceros some of them will leave scars. Remember, scars make for good stories. Suck it up and keep trying. No never means NO. Unless your on a date, then it means back your drunken ass off or I call a cop!
On the flip side, accept the compliments when they come, in whatever form they take. Someone invites you to join their writer's group? There must have been something they liked about your stuff. Someone tells you they really liked something you wrote or read? Be gracious, numb nuts! Even if they can't verbalize what it was they liked to your overly high standards. An editor send back a piece with the suggestion they might like to see it again, rewritten and at a later date? Get over yourself, this could be the break you're looking for.
Look around you. If everything you see, hear, say, and do doesn't in someway inform what you do as a writer...Well, maybe you ought to think of a real good field to seek alternative employment in.
Just a helpful hint from your Uncle Dane.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------, love, write.
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Dane F. Baylis

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