Writers: We Rise

Nothing ever said could be truer, at least in my mind, than the quote by Robert Ingersoll:

“We Rise by Lifting Others”

I think most writers will agree that this statement not only sounds like the good, nice, or right thing to do, but it exemplifies the very foundation upon which the writing community is built. We help to lift our fellow writers. We rejoice in their success, because every success of a writer (whether they are seasoned or little known) is a new stone that helps add to one of many paths for us all.

The most interesting part about this doing and lifting of other writers is that we are very aware of the fact that we are often in a bit of competition with each other, at the same time. Especially if we are writing in the same genre.

Of course, we are human beings and will experience some pangs of jealousy with the ability of others to go shooting like rockets over head (requiring no lifting, at all). But deep down…taking a step back and watching them fly – we must cheer. For it is from our peers that we can take inspiration for success in our own goals. We can learn and emulate the right ways to begin a path of personal writing successes.

Most writers today are more than happy to share their story and even give a complete breakdown of how they went from a zero to a writing hero. They are enthusiastic in helping to lift other writers who are still learning the ropes beginning anywhere in their writing career journey. 

From:

  • Basic writing structure, plotting, characterization, etc
  • Self-editing, Beta readers, professional editors
  • Querying publishers, learning the self-publishing ropes
  • Finding book cover designers, or how to create your own
  • Marketing and promoting

The writing community is chock-full of every level of writer these days. And my greatest experience has been seeing each level above reaching out to help another writer up. It is a beautiful thing and something I am so proud to be a part of.

Being a writer can look so easy to an outsider, but the struggles are very real. There is a lot of work involved to take a story idea through the many phases of development on the page, editing and rewriting over and over again. Then eventually doing all the additional work to get your work through the publishing and marketing stages. It doesn’t matter if you are publishing via traditional or self-publish methods. It’s a hustle!

Unfortunately, much of the time, writers are also faced with their critics, who are often all too close. Family, friends, and other acquaintances whom attempt to thwart a writer’s passion and dreams with their ridicule, doubts and negativity.

Hmm – this could be why we often use pen names and pursue our passion – hiding under a blanket with our notebook, pen and flashlight, or our illuminated laptop – working secretly at all odd hours of the night.

It seems the critics play a big part in driving writers closer together, into a tighter community of camaraderie – lifting each other up and over each hurdle as we go.

Are we Stephen King or Diana Gabaldon, yet? No. We don’t need to be them. Every writer is different and a new voice. It would be terrible if the only people who ever succeeded were just the same as the previous successes.

Keep writing and becoming your own unique voice in the writing community.

Much love,

Joan

Novel Ideas: How I Conceive Them

There have been those who have asked me “How do you do it? Where do you get the ideas for your stories?”

Some have assumed that my stories are based upon real events, taken directly from my life or that of others. Or  that I am using writing as the method for working out some sort of pent up frustrations and dark fantasies. 😳

Hmmm. I just want to say:

“No, Margo. Some people actually have an imagination.”😁

But seriously, I do think that for some people the “how” of writing fiction is a genuine mystery. Perhaps the writer’s mind does not function the same way as others – the normals. The whole left-brain vs. right-brain theory, with the right-brain being creative and artistic, and the left being logical.

Or mayhap, I simply conjure stories into being by waving my magic wand over a bubbling cauldron. 💀

Or, even better – as Gnarls Barkley sang: “Maybe, I’m crazy!”

The process of story conception really could be considered a kind of magic. Let me explain how the hoodoo works in my world:

1. Strands of Intriguing Concepts – Generally, these are oneliners that arise from a conversation, a news story, or something I see in public, or a picture, a daydream, or as my brain unwinds when I’m falling asleep. These notions spin around in my head as my imagination considers and chases after the possibilities and what if’s of a story. In this process, which does not require any strain of the brain – my mind is simply wandering in the land of ideas.

2. What is in a Name: On occasion, I have simply, and inexplicably had the name of a character drift into my head. The name often brings to mind a certain appearance of the character, too. When this happens I start to work out the details. Who are they? What is their story? Some of these insistant, pop-up characters have helped to create my favorite stories.

3. The Title Wave: Lastly, there have been a few times when a story title has jumped into my mind out of nowhere. And once again, my mind starts turning it, playing with it, and envisioning the story behind it. In fact, my newest post-apocalyptic romance, which I am currently writing, began just this way!

If you are a writer, you may understand the strange ways by which my stories are conceived. I would be very interested to hear about your unique techniques (or sorcery), as well!

Joan