The only credit I can take for this is being smart enough to read Beth’s blogs.
In the post about the Surrey conference, she goes into a good bit of detail about some of the workshops. I’ve visited with some other writers who have done the Donald Maass workshops and they, to a person, highly recommended him. I have some of his books and he is hard as nails, but if you’re serious about writing, the books are also worth every penny.
The list Beth made from Vicki’s workshop is priceless. I think it applies to all areas of life, not just writing. When I’m successful, I do many of these things. I get focused and make definite goals. Then I plot out the steps to achieve them.
Sometimes I succeed in spite of myself. Sometimes I succeed because I am too stupid to realize I shouldn’t be successful. Sometimes I succeed because of sheer bullheaded, do-or-die contrariness.
I also accept there are times I am not going to succeed and I’m not going to beat myself up for it when I don’t. Sometimes, you are just not meant to go down that path.
I berated myself for a long time about giving up the prison ministry. In my heart I know if I had really wanted to I could have continued it, even if it had to be on a much smaller scale.
Porchlight Prison Ministry touched thousands of lives in six years. I will always be thankful for that. Towards the end it was just a daily struggle and the joy had gone out of it.
I was faunching about it to a friend of mine who was one of the teachers and she is also a full time youth minister. She said she felt like we had been put there for a season. When God removed His hand from it, the ministry became a struggle. I don’t know the reasoning. I’ve been thinking about at least writing to some of the students again even if I can’t do the studies. I feel like I abandoned them, but I also think Myrtleann was right. Sometimes we do things for a season and we have to recognize when that season is over and a new one is beginning.
Does that mean we give up on a project just because it’s hard? Not at all. It means we have to honestly assess where we are.
When Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Toe Jam isn’t finding a market and you’ve done all in your power to improve it and change according to constructive advice you’ve received, you may need to take an honest look at your darling. The world may not be ready for it.
I don’t think any writing is wasted. Just the sheer act of doing it is bound to teach you something, even if that is just to type faster. If you’re writing, getting good feedback and then putting it to use, that’s even better.
Set your goals in writing and in life. Make them as real as possible. Bring them to life.
I cut out pictures to represent my goals. I have a metal No Parking sign on the wall above my computer. It reminds me to do something besides surf the net for ten hours. No parking my butt in the chair and not accomplishing something.
There is a Pirates Of The Caribbean poster with Jack Sparrow on the wall next to my door. Obviously, that could represent a few different goals. Some of which we won’t go into here. Mainly what it represents is Paladin’s Pride. The line in the book, which gives it the title is a pirate telling Gen, “Paladin’s pride. It will get you in more trouble than you know how to get out of.” Unfortunately, Captain is quite a bit like Jack Sparrow in many respects, and he was roaming around long before the movies came out, but I will just have to make sure I keep tweaking him enough so people realize he isn’t a copy of another character. The symbolism is there, though, and that’s enough to keep me focused.
The Captain character is a creation of a friend, so I also have to remain true to his vision, but I have faith it will all work out in the end.
I’m trying to find a poster of Ireland now. Another goal. I want to take Will and Katie to Ireland. This is a goal I’m very serious about. If life was exactly what I wanted, I would live in Ireland for at least part of the year, every year. I think. I haven’t been there yet.
I’m also looking for a picture now of a certain dancing costume. I would most likely never wear it, but just being able to means I’ve arrived at the place I want to be physically.
You get the picture, or pictures, as the case may be.
Set goals. Be specific. Make them real in your mind. Make a plan to achieve them. Put the plan into motion and don’t give up until you get there.