Deciding to write a novel, or to become a full-time writer, is much like making the decision to get married. (Disclaimer: I’m not yet married or dating, but I’d like to be. I am however in a committed writing relationship and have been for years. I digress.)
Once a person decides that marriage err, or writing is the avenue they would like to take in life, all the warm fuzzy feelings of marital bliss begin to float around in their hearts in heads.
Things are going to be perfect, we tell ourselves. There are never going to be any arguments with our fictional characters because like in our imagined marital relationship, we’ll always agree.
Our writing will never stink just as our partner will never have any body odor. Our future wife (I hear men say this often about us ladies) will always know what she wants for dinner without any indecision same as our plots will run without getting lost and knotted…that kind of stuff.
These unrealistic expectations float right into or marriages or writing adventures and settle between husband and wife, writer and written work, like a grizzly bear fresh out of hibernation.
It just can’t be reasoned with. Thus, what was meant to be the dream of a lifetime becomes somewhat of a nightmare because of unrealistic expectations.
We unrealistically think we will never have a wordless day, that our characters will always cooperate and that our stories will flow like oil, all the time…never a drought. And least I forget, everyone is going to LOVE what we have to say and buy our every book. Obviously.
But that doesn’t mean that things can’t be an extraordinary adventure even if your writing has stinky moments like your husband’s morning breath.
How you might be asking. Simply by making your writing vows and sticking to them. A few weeks ago, we talked about the 7 untruths we tell ourselves about our writing.
These vows go hand and hand with the truths that repel the lies. That help us set realistic goals and expectations for our journies. Click HERE for that posting.
Here are 5 Vows that every writer should keep and renew with their writing til death they do part, in sickness and in health, richer and poorer…you get the picture.
Here’s the reality. There are going to be disagreements with your piece but here 5 ways to make peace with your piece and keep the relationship happy and prosperous!
And the Writer vowed to their Writing:
1. I promise I will not force your characters to be people they are not. Let’s be honest. It’s tempting to try and change those sloppy characters into paragons of perfection.
Or make them fall in love when the story has just not given them permission to. Resist the urge. Whenever you try to ‘force’ your written characters into shoes that don’t fit, there are going to be fights as well as blisters!
2. I promise I will not come up with a convoluted plot twist that makes no sense and insult your reader’s intelligence. Being talked to like you’re an idiot never feels good, nor does it encourage you to respond in a good way.
Writing is talking to others. Don’t make your writing say things you both will regret. (For more on that topic, check out this post by clicking HERE.)
3. Thus, I will be patient with your growing process and give you time to mature. Rushing always leads to mistakes. Mr. Rogers said so, and I’m inclined to believe him.
Take your time.
Allow your writing to put on her best face before she steps out into the party. Rushing her will only make her angry and not as glamours as she could have been with just five minutes more in preparation.
4. I promise I will not begrudge you excessive weight gain via word count in the first drafts, but I will encourage you to slim down for your health. I want you to be successful.
Even if it is true that your writing is a little overweight, treating it without compassion will only discourage it from attempting to slim down.
Why? Because of an emotional divide that was built between you and your piece. It’s too big, you focus on the flaw, feel discouraged because of the inability to create a quick change, and withdraw. I didn’t mean to rhyme.
Don’t muddle your writing mind by focusing on the negative of excessive words. Look at the healthy, strong parts and focus on how to make the piece accentuate those plot points.
Eventually, your tome will lesson as it gains ‘muscle’ strength, shedding the extra baggage.
5. I will love your individual voice and not expect you to sound like someone else’s story or other stories I’ve written in the past. Comparing your writing with someone else’s is always a recipe for DISASTER!
It’s like comparing your current partner to your ex, giving your ex the high points…uh? No. Don’t ever do that.
Saying or thinking things like, “Well you don’t read as smoothly as “Fill in the Blank’s” story does. They never make their author work so hard.” Is hurtful and unwise.
Always start with the positive points before dealing with the negative, but never out of comparison.
BONUS: I promise I will love you for you and find the joy of imagining with you each day that we have together…stinky drafts and all.
Writing is a commitment, like marriage, that has its ups and downs, its joys and sorrows, but if we step into both with open expectations, I am confident we will always have a successful adventure for Happily Ever After!
~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!