Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday! 

As most of us attend to our New Year's resolutions (which I rarely make, but yes, I joined Weight Watchers online last week), writing resolutions are probably tops on many of our lists.

Today is also the day that many of us go back to work/school.  My kids are actually excited!  As for me, while I enjoy my day job (the politics, not so much), the thing keeping me going this week is the prospect of a paycheck -- and a good one, at that.

However, when it comes to writing on spec (as they call it in LA), the paycheck is not really a motivating factor.  We write, and we hope that someday our work will be read, that someday we may even receive some remuneration for our efforts.

Whenever I sit down to write a novel, the first question I ask is: WHAT DO MY CHARACTERS WANT?

Periodically, when it comes time to reevaluate the state of my career, I have to ask myself, "WHAT DO I WANT?"  Or, more directly, why do I make time in my crazy-busy schedule to write?  Of course the answer any writer will give (and know she is expected to give is), "I write because I have to."  This is true.  But we all write because we have to -- letters, emails, facebook posts, whatever our milieu of choice (or necessity). 

I am not interested in writing a diary to stick it in a drawer.  I am interested in sharing my thoughts, in being heard.   As I tell my students, you can speak and be heard by a few people.  You can write an article or a novel or a TV show and share your thoughts (carefully edited first -- a major bonus!) with hundreds or thousands or maybe millions or people.   How cool is that?

For a long time, I used the technique of calculated low expectations to keep me motivated.  If I don't expect to get published, I won't be disappointed.  This tactic worked well for me for awhile.  Now, the explosion of the Internet has given me a happier position.  If I don't get it published through traditional means and have worked really hard to make my novel the best it can be and feel really strongly that it should be published... I can publish it myself if I so desire.  I have yet to write anything that quite meets those criteria, but hope springs eternal. :)

Happy writing to all! --Jeanne Marie


Carmela Martino said...

Happy New Year to you, too, JM. I agree about not wanting to write something that will just go into a drawer. I wish you much writing success in this new year.

B. A. Binns said...

I find it so much easier to write about what my characters (ie someone else) wants that deal with my own secret wishes. Maybe that's the real reason I write, to see someone else get their desires even if i never quite manage to get my own.

Anyway, best of luck to you this 2011, and may you get most of what you want (we have to leave something to reach for in the future.)