Attending conferences helps me realize that I am not alone in my craft or my thinking. This past weekend at the NJ SCBWI conference in Princeton, NJ was no different.
Kate DiCamillo gave the Closing Address and perhaps resonated the most with me.
"My favorite quote about writing comes from Dorothy Parker:
'I hate writing. I love having written.'Every morning I wake up and think, 'the last thing I want to do today is write.'
And then I turn on the computer and write.
I write two pages a day. Usually, those two pages stink pretty bad.
And each time I rewrite, the pages get a little better."
If I am going to call myself a writer, it needs to be more than in just name! Its time to prepare...which is today's habit!
How can I practice the habit of preparing? Jeff Goins shares the following 4 steps on his blog today.
- Ship something. Basically, just get anything "out there". Not necessarily through the postal service. For example, this past weekend I had the opportunity to pitch my story ideas to others in the community (although only through informal conversation, never formally to an agent or editor). It was so gratifying and helpful to see someone's initial reaction to my pursuits. I need to remember to practice this more often.
- Get feedback. I do this through Critique Groups. I have a monthly Crit Group in my city. I also participate in manuscript swaps with friends off and on. It is so important to get feedback and to have fresh eyes look at the work.
- Make it better. Revision is a HUGE part of writing. I take all of the critiques I receive on a particular manuscript and then sit down and rewrite. However, I am very careful to weigh every suggestion against my own gut and instinct. Never compromise the story YOU want to write for someone else!
- Repeat until the project is finished.