In honor of the date, I'd like to share 9 random thoughts about writing that have come to me recently.
1. All showing and no telling is as bad as all telling and no showing. The best writers have discovered how to find the right amount of each for the story they are telling. I am not one of them.
2. I used to be terrified before my critique groups met because I was afraid of what they were going to say about my work. I am now terrified before my critique groups meet because I'm afraid of what I am going to say about theirs. Am I being too critical? Could something I say destroy someone's writing dream. Yes, it's all about me.
3. That doesn't mean that my crit group doesn't have the power to make me cry. Or rant. Or both. But once I'm over the initial gut reaction, I love them for their honesty. I'd rather hear about the warts from them than not hear about the problems from agents and editors.
4. Mysteries may have a "formula" but that doesn’t make them easy to write.
5. Sometimes ideas do come to me while I'm playing spider solitaire, reading email, surfing the web. And a few of those are even pretty good. Sometimes the work has to percolate a bit before the problems can be ironed out.
6. I can't see the flaws in my own work. This is nothing new. It just amazes me that no matter how much I study, how hard I work to improve my craft, this one thing remains constant, steadfastly refusing to budge. Of course this is why I need to make sure I don't alienate the people in my crit groups! I need them!
7. No matter how much I think I've gotten a character figured out, he or she still has the power to surprise me. When does a character finally gel? After the first draft? The tenth? Or is it just me—can I only write chameleons?
8. I used to consider myself pretty tech savvy. Now, I feel like technology has left me in the dust. As Denis Leary puts it in the Hulu commercials, it all "bliggety blogs, facey-spaces, and tweety pages." I know an internet presence is necessary for a writer. But how much is enough?
9. I really like being part of a community of writers—I could discuss writing for hours and never get bored.
Right now I'm supposed to be packing for a visit to my daughter followed by a writing retreat in CT. I'm ecstatic about both! But I've wasted several hours because I can't decide what writing books I'll want (all the while knowing I probably won't have time to look at any of them!). So, no more procrastinating.
In the meantime, I'd love it if you shared 9 things about writing and the writing life!
Happy 9 Day!