Friday, August 31, 2012

The Most Interesting Thing: Is Your Book a Green Triangle or a Yellow Square?

Last week I suffered a bit of a shock. Normally my books are yellow squares, but for fun, I wrote a green triangle and I LOVE LOVE LOVE MY GREEN TRIANGLE! If you've read my green triangle, you know it's like nothing I've written before. All of my beta readers enjoyed the green triangle, but then I received what I perceived as a very negative reaction to the green triangle. I was shocked, crushed, needing to be peeled off the floor (where I'd melted in anguish.)

That's when I read this quote by Kristin Cashore:

"In the end -- and I mean this 100% -- what matters is what you think of your book. Don't get me wrong, this can change based on the intelligent commentary of others. Speaking personally, criticism by others has absolutely helped me to see my own books more clearly, in all their flaws. But don't forget that some of the people who express reactions to your books will actually be judging a green triangle as if it is a failed attempt at a yellow square. Those criticisms hurt, but they're not actually relevant to your process. It's safe to let them go."
--From Kristin Cashore's Blog (Advice to New Writers)

Even if you're not a new writer, I strongly recommend reading the entire article.

These wise words by an author I deeply respect helped me decide to fight for my green triangle.

Have you ever felt like your green triangle was judged as though it were a yellow square? What did you do?

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Most Interesting Thing: Ignorance and Confidence

"All you need is ignorance and confidence; then success is sure."
--Mark Twain
Would you bike down this?
When I set out to write my first novel, I knew nothing about the business of publishing. Ignorance was bliss. I had confidence that I would write a great story and then my book would be published. Simple.

My ignorance and confidence did not mean sure success in my case. So what exactly was Mr. Twain talking about?

What I understand now is that the more knowledge I gain about writing and publishing, the harder it is to maintain that blissful feeling of confidence. 

What does Mr. Twain's quote mean to you?

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Most Interesting Thing: The Need for Affirmation

While visiting the Casa Malpais Museum in Springerville, Arizona I had the opportunity to give an impromptu concert on a 100-year-old Steinway piano. The small audience was thrilled and gushed with appreciation as I shared a few of my favorite compositions. It had been years since I'd performed my own work in public. The zealous applause gave me a glow that lasted all day, an affirmation that my music could still give others pleasure.

From New Oxford American Dictionary:

affirmation |ˌafərˈmāSHən|

1 the action or process of affirming something or being affirmed

2 emotional support or encouragement

When it comes to our creative endeavors, it seems most of us have an inherent need for affirmation.  We want to share our work and we thrive when our audience offers emotional support and encouragement. It energizes us, helps keep the creativity flowing, right?

What about when the external affirmations aren't there? When we're all alone with our work, playing for an empty room, and it doesn't seem to be going well. No one's applauding our efforts. How do we keep going?

I like to create an imaginary audience in my head. The people who are gonna LOVE this book. I write to entertain myself, but I also write for them. I listen for their applause.

How about you? Do you need affirmation? What do you do when it's not there?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Arizona Motorcycle Madness: A Photographic Journal

“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it within us or we will find it not.”--Ralph Waldo Emerson

Our motorcycle has a first name

View over DH's shoulder

Nothing like the open road

Mormon Lake near Flagstaff

Canyon near Payson

Outside Kingman

Self-Portrait at 75 MPH

Near Chloride

116 degrees near Hoover Dam
The sun was not my friend

But we are
So happy together
***All photos taking from my iPod as the scenery rushed by

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Most Interesting Thing: Something I Thought I'd Never Do

"You see, I don't know how to ride a motorcycle, actually."  --Henry Winkler
Looks fun, right?

For twenty years my motorcycle enthusiast husband dreamed of getting me out on the open road. I never shared that dream. Sounded more like a nightmare to me. But sometimes circumstances lead us to do things we thought we’d  never do.

So we flew to Vegas and picked up a bike. I got up at five Wednesday morning and we rode into the red sunrise, wind on my face, arms wrapped around the happiest man alive. Over the next seven hours I experienced the pungent smells of the Arizona desert while taking in the familiar sights through rose-colored goggles. I never knew you could taste the air at 75 mph.

The southwest is having an unusually powerful monsoon season, so while I enjoyed the scenery, I kept a weary eye on the massive white puffs building in the dark blue skies. Would we make it to the New Mexico border before those clouds burst open?

Seventeen miles outside of Springerville with no shelter in sight, droplets  began to pelt my face like sharp rocks. I ducked my head and gritted my teeth. Then the fuel light came on and the battery on the GPS died. We’d come all this way to be drenched at the finish line. . . if we made it to the finish line. How cruel!

But then the rain stopped and the skies brightened. The gas fumes got us into town and the time I’d spent on google street view got us to my father-in-law's summer retreat. Sore butts aside, we’d made it in one piece, well, two pieces. Two of us. And it wasn't horrible. 

Now I’m up early and wrestling with the revision of my historical again. It feels a lot like those last seventeen miles. Close to the end, loads of trouble. So I’m ducking my head and gritting my teeth and hoping for the best.

Ever dream of taking a motorcycle road trip? Ever experience obstacles at the novel-writing finish line?