Missy here. I recently attended the Moonlight & Magnolias conference in Atlanta, held by my local RWA chapter, Georgia Romance Writers. Two of the best workshops I attended were taught by author Stephanie Bond. One was called Write Well, Write Fast. The other, 5 Things About Your Career to Obsess Over. I thought I’d share a couple of the things she said that really spoke to me.
First off, I took the Write Well, Write Fast because, well, I don’t write fast, and when I do try to write anywhere close to fast, it doesn’t turn out very well. LOL
What I learned is that to write fast you have to spend the time to write a good synopsis. You have to plan ahead! (I know the pantsters out there are now throwing rotten tomatoes and are saying “boo hiss.”) Of course, I’ve always planned my characters and had at least scene ideas before starting to write. I usually work through Alicia Rasley’s The Story Within workbook and also fill out Carolyn Greene’s Magic Conflict Chart beforehand. But Stephanie’s workshop reinforced what I’ve been learning (selling on proposal, now), that I have to come up with a good synopsis beforehand, too. Key word: GOOD.
Bleck! I hate writing a synopsis!! I’m terrible at doing it before the book is written. (NO COMMENTS, RUTHY!)
[As a side note, to illustrate how close we Seekers are, I wish you should see the email Ruthy sent telling me, very tactfully, how awful my synopsis was—the one I had just sent to my editor! :)]
Okay, back on topic…Stephanie’s other workshop. 5 Things About Your Career To Obsess Over. (As opposed to all the things you can't control so should not obsess over.) I won’t share all the things she talked about, but I want to mention two that I think are related. 1. You can control who’s in your support system. 2. You can control your attitude.
I think positivity (It’s a word. I looked it up! :)) is important in both. Our support systems should be positive—not full of toxic, draining relationships. And we have to keep positive attitudes. Be the eternal optimist!
A Dietrich Bonhoeffer quote I love is:
In its essence, optimism is not an outlook on the present situation. Rather, it is a life-force, the power of hope when others give up, the power to hold one’s head high when everything appears to be falling apart, the power to endure setbacks, the power that never gives the future over to one’s opponent but lays claim to it.
Of course, we’re not faced with imprisonment and execution like Bonhoeffer. But we are faced with rejection and setbacks in our writing. We're faced with difficult times in our life that affect our writing. And I hope we can be optimists in the way we live our lives and run our writing careers.
Are you an optimist? What do you obsess over? Do you write fast? Do you write a synopsis beforehand?? :)
Stephanie is one of the most generous, business-savvy writers I know. And she's been a huge help to me. Here’s a link to her website page for writers: http://stephaniebond.com/writers'_articles.htm