Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Look Out!

How Writing is So Similar to Trail Running...

"Writing is like a marathon, not a sprint!"

We writers have heard this before. Writing takes time, discipline, training, patience, endurance, and on and on...

I run and have blogged about it here, but one thing I noticed about this crazy writing life is how writing is not just a marathon, run on a smooth surface, but more like TRAIL running!

Look Out!

One thing I love about distance running is how I get to "zone out" and not think about anything while I run. Because of this, I tend to run along the Arizona Canal. This path is smooth asphalt and the occasional gravel path. It's a predictable path that I have memorized over the last twenty years of running. So, very little thought goes into where I place my foot and I like that! I can listen to my music, think about things or just zone out and not think about anything at all. What a pleasure!

Trail running, on the other hand...



Because the path is unpredictable, loaded with rocks of all sizes, twists and turns, inclines and declines...a wise runner would never consider zoning out or they could find themselves flat on the ground eating dirt. 

Or worse! Falling off a cliff. 

And that, my friends, is the writing journey: Not a sprint, that is true. Requires time, discipline, training, endurance, and patience, but also FOCUS! 

Writing is hard! It requires complete focus, especially today with all the social media tempting us to stop and read a post or see how many "likes" a photo received. It's the same with trail running because the scenery can be so beautiful. You'll want to stop and take some photos of your surroundings.

DON'T DO IT! Keep going. Keep writing. Stay focused or you'll end up flat on your face or over that "cliff" of not completing your manuscript. 

There are so many tools out there for writers to help us stay organized and focused, but it all comes down to staying the course, doing our best to predict the obstacles on the path, and endure the emotional or psychological inclines and declines that come out way. 

See? Writing, like trail running, is hard! But as with everything worthwhile, it is a race worth running. I highly advise a trail run now and then. If you ever get the chance, do it.

Make this the year you FINISH that manuscript! Make this the year you type "The End." You can do it! You can finally accomplish that goal. It isn't easy...but it is so worth it. 

Your turn: What is keeping you from crossing the finish line of your project? How can you overcome the obstacles in your writing path? 

Happy writing!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

What's New in Publishing?

This was the question a fellow author and I answered the other day when we met to discuss trends in publishing. 

Our answer was most definitely Memoirs. 

As we thought more about memoirs, we realized a new style of memoir is currently taking over publishing: 

Memoirs written in a narrative style. 

This style seems to be appealing to authors because it can be easier to write about a painful time in one's life if names, places, and circumstances are slightly changed. But even if the author's selected time period isn't traumatic, writing it as a narrative can make the memoir more marketable and appealing. 

For me, my novella, "First Christmas in Paris," was written in narrative style because I wanted to change the names, setting, and be creative with the plot. For instance, this book is based on a true story from my marriage. We live in a large city, but I wanted the story to begin in a quaint small town. At the time, I worked in a large office with some wonderful people, but wanted to have my protagonist work in a small office with closer, more intimate relationships with her co-workers. Lastly, I had to add some conflict to the story to make it more interesting for the reader, because the true story didn't have much conflict. 

I have no regrets writing our true story this way. I thoroughly enjoyed it and have received wonderful reviews from readers. 

I believe the memoir is so popular with publishers today because people want to read fascinating true life stories about overcoming obstacles or about fun and exciting adventures. Hope and adventure seem to be the themes people are drawn to most, whether in memoirs about beloved pets or children. I'm told horse memoirs are very popular right now. Maybe write a memoir about a horse-loving child!

I'm not suggesting all writers abandon their current projects to write a memoir, but I think we all should consider it. Each of us has a unique life experience that readers could benefit from. If it's a traumatic experience, consider writing it in narrative style. If it's an adventure story, be sure to include photographs so we can travel vicariously through your story. 

So, what's popular in publishing today? Memoirs seem to be hot right now. After reading a few and writing one in narrative style, I can see why!

Happy writing!