The cans and cant's of writing

photo credit: Βethan via photopin cc

Just a little post about writing that I came up with while doing the dishes (isn't that where all our best ideas come from?). I hope you enjoy it.

What you can control--How often you write, and the genre and style you choose to write in.

What you can't control--That any of it will turn out to be good.

What you can control--That you will, over time, grow as a writer. There's no way a person can't learn through time and process. You may not like the speed in which your skills grow as a writer, but they will grow, and you should be proud of your hard work.

What you can't control--Success. No matter how good you are and how much time you spend, there are no guarantees.

What you can control--That eventually you will have more than one reader for your work. Sometimes all it takes is asking a friend or family member to read your manuscript or short story. With their help you might get published, which could provide a larger audience over time.

What you can't control--Who those readers will be and what their opinion of your work is. And since you can't control it, don't react to it. The worst thing is an author chastising a reviewer. Once your work is out there, it is no longer yours alone. Respect your readers, no matter who they may be.

What you can control--The enjoyment you feel when writing.

What you can't control--That an agent, publisher or editor will share a similar enthusiasm.

What you can control--How much of yourself you devote to the craft. Be it small or large, a writer should have passion for their work no matter the pay, no matter the hours spent.

What you can't control--Ever seeing a dime in reward.

So the point I'm trying to make is that if you decide to write, then do it will full knowledge of the above. There are no cheerleaders in writing, in fact most of the time you are completely alone and must find a way to self-motivate. Writing has a long internship with low to no monetary reward, so do it because you want to. If you ever do make it big, you'll still have to be grounded enough to sit in a chair and write every day all alone. But there's so much to love about writing. The world needs more books, more stories, more beautiful phrases and characters who they can root for and fall in love with. It's wonderful to think that little old you is capable of providing that! And it is possible. It is. Hang in there, and remember to have fun no matter the cans and can'ts.


Comments

  1. So true. The day more than one person read my work, I almost sent them chocolate and flowers. Great list!

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    1. It is a nice feeling finally getting read. Glad you had that first moment, and may there be many more to come!

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  2. Amy, I enjoyed reading that - really good advice and so true.

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  3. What you can/can't control - everything, actually. What shouldn't you control? Your enthusiasm for the whole business. What shouldn't you talk about? The whole business. How's your gorgeous kid?

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    1. Hi Tom! Yes, I try not to talk about it, but sometimes it's nice to put things in perspective.

      Well, that Julia will be home any minute. She always walks in the door and throws *almost * all her clothes into a heap before getting a snack. She's such a funny, beautiful girl, that's for sure. Thanks for asking!

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  4. Excellent list, Amy. I can only add, after long experience, that control got easier once I realized what a simple mechanism I am. Part of art, even more of retirement, is admitting what one is just no good at. By 40 or 50, I learned I was lousy at writing stories but love reading them, and was freed to write articles, essays, poetry. Now well into my 60s, I'm simpler to control than a can opener.

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    1. That's some good insight, Geo. If we could all be so wise!

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  5. As Tom said, nothing in Life can be controlled. However, we can try to get out ducks in a row and then hope for the best.

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  6. I really like this! You sure nailed it with the what we can control and what we can't. The frustration comes with getting those two mixed up.

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  7. So many people believe they are in control. It usually takes something big to convince them that they are not.
    Good post.

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  8. Give us an A, give us an M, give us a Y. Amy, Amy, Amy! Who said there were no cheerleaders for writing!

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  9. "Success. No matter how good you are and how much time you spend, there are no guarantees." You can say that again. I've recently come into a bit of bad news that has set me back. I keep getting set back. I feel defeated ...

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    1. I'm so sorry, Jessica. I hope this is all leading up to something great for you!!

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  10. I often think how good writers have it now in the computer age. It's difficult to imagine all the great early writers from the age of quill pens to manual typewriters. I'm pretty sure I would have taken writing more seriously in my younger days had computers been available. As it is, I am still trying to become a writer, just not a published one. And I'm loving it. I can also see, as you mentioned above, a steady improvement, away from my technical writing skill, to better story telling skills slowly developing.

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    1. Inger, I love your reply. Writing through blogging is such an excellent way to grow as a writer. It's like writing an article every day, one that must be self-edited.

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  11. I love Inger's comment above. That says so much about what many bloggers understand. Oh, I still hope that someday my writing will be read with appreciation by an agent or publisher. But, I know that for now, the joy is in the writing.

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