We are Cups

What a wonderful metaphor! The first sentence appealed to me just as much as the second. It’s important to ensure that we are ‘constantly and quietly being filled’. Otherwise, there’s no ‘beautiful stuff’ to be let out.

Workplace burnout is becoming so common that it was recently reclassified by the World Health Organization as an occupational syndrome. Well, we’ve all known about it for a long time. So, how do we ensure that we don’t get to that stage? By constantly and quietly filling our ‘cup’.

Read regularly. Read what you wish you had written. Read the kind of books you want to write when you are as wildly succesful as in your dreams. Read about subjects that make you passionate, the passions that drive your writing. Read for the joy of it, read for the words, read for the love of it.

Keep learning. Go through those writing books in your bookcase or ereader. No matter how many times I’ve read mine, I always learn something new. Book into webinars, seminars, conferences. Get together with other writers. Learning something new feeds my passion.

Make a regular date with yourself to do what makes you happy. Whether it’s going out to the movies, art gallery, markets, dinner, coffee with friends, find things that make you happy and fill that cup.

Just as importantly, let all that beautiful stuff come pouring out. Every writer has their own unique writing system and style. Try the suggestions that work for others, take what works for you and discard the rest. Don’t give up. Keep going until you find what works for you.

Are You Funny Yet?

Funny

Life happens to all of us. For writers, all of it is grist for the mill: the good the bad and the downright ugly. Don’t you love Marian Keye’s attitude?

I have a beloved aunt who has one of the funniest people I know. I asked her about it once and she said that, for her, it’s a nervous reaction. I sometimes wish I and certain others would develop that reaction. It would be a lot more socially acceptable!

Sometimes the funny side of a situation takes a while for us to see, but writing about it helps. I think I’m going to try seeing the funny side a lot sooner.

The Power of Empathy

In my humble opinion, empathy is very important for a writer. Being able to put yourself in the shoes of each of your characters. The ability to ‘be’ them, one after the other, is a definite advantage when it comes to writing down convincing descriptions of the internal workings of those characters and eliciting the emotions you want from readers.

Readers love well rounded characters, realistically flawed, motivated and human. We love to see them overcome impossible odds and get their well deserved just deserts. It gives us hope that we too can fine our happily ever after.

Imbue Words With Power

In all aspects of my life I firmly believe I can always learn something from everybody if I keep my eyes open and my mind receptive to learning. Nowhere it this more true than when it comes to writing and editing. Writing is an art which must be learned and practiced.

How do we imbue our words with power? By knowing what we want to say and using the most powerful words in our vocabulary to say it. Pare your prose down to the bare minimum required to convey your message. Read, read, read and analyse what you read, whether to learn how to write powerfully, or how to avoid weakening your words. Strengthen your vocabulary and your writing skills.

Learn from other writers, join local writer’s groups, state, national or international associations, research whatever you need to in reputable books, do courses, attend seminars and conferences. Invest in yourself and your art, then put it all into practice.

A Truly Great Ending

Writing “The end” is so satisfying for a writer. However, the pity of it is that it’s just the start of the rewriting, revising, editing and polishing. Crafting an ending which is as Susan Wiggs describes is not easy for the writer. But what a way to go! That really is the kind of ending which sells your next book.

When the reader gets to this page, we hope that they feel ready to read it again. That really is the kind of ending which not only sells this book when readers talk about how great it is to their friends, it also sells your next book. Well worth the effort.