It’s the best of times; it’s the worst of times. What are your writer highs (the good times)? And what are your writer lows (the blues)? Hey, IWSG members – are you willing to share?
Last week embodied the worst of times for an active blogger like me. Sigh. Due to a confluence of three consecutive updates, my website, with my blog embedded, was out of commission for three days. Because I prefer a high-on-life mode of living, I’ll share more about good writing times.
I’ve had the great privilege to attend a plethora of author events in the dozen years since I embarked on my elegant hobby. Southern California, where I am privileged to live, attracts famed and highly-skilled writers who wish to sign and sell books. Being in the sphere of the revered is better than great.
Here’s a list of greats who spontaneously shared their truth, unbidden. Some of these writers have become personal friends. I feel privileged.
- Robert Crais, whose was the first author event this fan girl attended. He posited that writers might not deserve their laureates, saying “We’re just making shit up.” When I queried he nodded yes, he did yoga, showing his main character’s life resembled elements of his own.
- My idol, Fannie Flagg, shared that she used her own, sarcastic and blasphemous inner thoughts for her character’s use, too. After all, in the polite company of Southern/Midwestern women, one never shared such publicly. If done, “Bless her heart” must immediately follow to soften unseemly snark.
- Jeff Parker described writers as ‘secretaries of life’ who are constantly on duty. Gosh, is retirement never an option in the writing life?
- Jess Walter whispered, “A writer can write about any topic or theme. It’s the emotion that carries the tale.”
- Thomas Perry, “While the common advice is to write what you know, I think it’s better to write about what you don’t know.”
- Joe Ide said, “Empathy is the core skill from which I write.” I nodded because I do, too. He also professed to liberal use of a thesaurus.
- Baron R. Birtcher rhapsodised about song lyrics and shared that he shamelessly stole snippets of conversation around him, especially words uttered in anger..
- Matt Coyle, Michael Connelly, and Joe Ide all confessed that they do not pre-plot their award-winning novels. I felt vindicated for my un-plotted tales, on which writers group peeps had pounced. My writing style is Plodder.
- Maddie Margarita, who writes ‘funny’ like me, shared that when something she’s written makes her laugh, she cuts it. What?! Kill my darlings, those easily crafted word plays and puns?
- Barbara DeMarco-Barrett scolded me, and her writing group participants, to read their work aloud. However, I find it impossible to analyze and read aloud simultaneously, so I use the Speech-to-Text feature on my Mac. The computerized voices sound almost human, like the imaginary friends – my characters – who gallivant inside my head.
Location location location! Lucky you! I miss attending those regional events where writers can mix and mingle with their idols. Time to get reinspired!!
To be clear, dear Nancy, the writerly advice listed was accumulated in events across many years. The two years of lockdown were damned, though we still had zoom.
You’ve met a lot of authors!
Lucky for me and my writing – yes!
That’s awesome that you live in an area that attracts a lot of great writers and that you’ve taken advantage of the opportunity to meet them.
Good fortune smiles along with the sunshine – and me – as I listen and absorb the earned wisdom of well-known authors
“Bless her heart”… Ha!
I had a grandmother who said that to me all the time. I wonder what she was really thinking.
Hmm – I doubt if she was ‘brain bitching'(my term for the snark of one’s thoughts about another)
I haven’t been to a live writer’s conference since the pandemic. I really miss interacting with authors at those events. As Midwestern born and bred, I’m a big fan of Fannie Flagg, as well.
Hi, Lee! I’m originally from Indiana!
And, I attended bookstore signings for the writers from which I accrued advice – not just one event!
I agree that reading out loud makes one see, or hear? one’s writing differently. The idea of using one’s inner snarkiness in a character appealed to me too.
Happy IWSG day.
Isn’t it wonderful to ‘meet’ and share ideas about writing via the IWSG blog hop? See you next month!