Friday, April 17, 2009

Stop driving in circles

With spring finally on its way (making its true arrival with temps reaching 70 today) I have been taking my son outside a lot more. He begs to go out. Literally. He will stand at the door and point outside while yelling out names of objects he knows like "car, bubbles, kite, bike..." It's hard to resist even if Mommy would like to stay in and write her blogs or wait for query replies. Joking of course.

There is this little red and yellow car that my niece and nephew used when they were little (they are now 7 and 9!). Well, Nathan loves it. He only just started to want to ride inside of it rather than pushing it like before and beeping the horn. So he got in there, mind you there are no pedals or floor, its sorta like a Flintstones car, and started going crazy backwards in circles. It was hilarious to see him moving like crazy and not getting anywhere. He was super excited with a big smile on his face at first then the inevitable toddler frustration began. His brow furrowed and he said his signature phrase "OH NO!" Of course like a good Mama I tried to help him do it right. I pushed the car forward and did my best to teach him how to go straight and use his own feet to move ahead instead of backwards - the source of his irritation. It seemed like he got it.

Nah. He got all geared up and started moving those little legs only to go backwards again. Poor kid.

As I stood there watching him it occurred to me how often I do that sort of thing. You know, think I'm ready to try something, get started and end up driving in circles - backwards. Part of childhood is being taught and helped along the way. Sure, some stuff they pick up all on their own but you most of it is through observation and education. Kids learn to speak by hearing older kids and adults talk, not always the right words but still this is the way it works. But kids aren't the only ones who learn this way, we could be doing the very same thing and actually we should be!

This is all comes back to writing. I am a new writer and I sure as hell find myself spinning in circles backwards. I want to be going ahead in a straight line but I need help. Of course I could allow myself to keep going round and round and round and learn the super hard and long way but there is so much help out there just waiting to be called upon.

Things like...
reading books in every range from best sellers to flops - there is something to learn from success and failure, you can see what to work towards and what to avoid. Joining writing circles and getting FREE critiques from people living what you live as a writer, they need help, you need help - bingo - help each other! I just started this and already I can see the tremendous benefits it can have in one chapter alone. Doing research daily by reading industry blogs that range from editors and agents to published and aspiring authors and reading articles and books about writing, querying, editing, etc. Reaching out to other writers. In doing this I have "met" some incredible people through blog comments and forums. Who says writers are solitary beings that shy away from the world? No way, well not the ones I am meeting! These connections are amazing and super helpful.

Take minute and look at what you're doing. Are you driving in circles? Backwards? Stop and think about what you can do to fix that and take advantage of what's out there. Unless of course you are trying to go backwards...

5 comments:

Eric said...

This is a great post and so true. When I first started writing my WIP, I did it in a vaccuum. I let my muse speak to me, and I cranked out tons of work. But the "good" writing began after I jumped online and learned from my peers. I have advanced my skill incredibly since learning from all of you.

JennM said...

Great post, it's fun to think of both of you moving 'forward' together.

Nova said...

Aw, such a a great post and soooo true! I've been learning so much lately and its due to all the blogs, research, books, and yes of course our little writing circle. Keep moving forward and pull yourself out of the circle! I love it!

Lady Glamis said...

My daughter begs to go outside too. I like it when it's actually nice out there... which has not been lately!

Great advice. Thank you!

beth said...

What a great analogy! Thanks for sharing...and here's hoping we can all start going forward more!