Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Come on! Kick My Hornet's Nest Already!

"A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others."-Ayn Rand



What was dormant in me is reawakened when I was hit by lightning and metaphorical lightning struck twice yesterday and today.

So, the synergy of it all is great, starting yesterday with my awakening to a Samoan writer, Lani Wendt Young. I haven’t read her work (yet), just the freebie on Amazon and I'm ready for more. I did read her blog, liked her on Facebook page and checked out her list of works. Her books are in my shopping cart and after my move to Washington State this fall, I will add her to my library. Lani self-published a trilogy Telesa and When Water Burns so far, among other works.

I identify with her struggles as a writer, mom and Islander Goddess. Her young adult novels center on a Samoan heroine, which in itself is needed. Check out her blog SleeplessinSamoa here.




So, I hopped on (that's a dainty description-let's say attacked) my manuscripts yesterday. One, in its third draft has found itself being passed around friends and family for critique. I describe this novel as my “ugly baby” which is terrible, but when a writer thinks their first draft is gorgeous and perfect and can do no wrong—well, then he/she is setting themselves up for disappointment. I learned this the hard way when I sent out first drafts to about 10 agents…FIRST DRAFT! Rookie mistake in 2009. Several agents gave me useful feedback, but now I realize that time, review, a thick skin and openness to honest criticism were necessary (oh, and chocolate). I couldn’t learn this quickly. It takes time, for a mom and wife, years even.

So, almost three years later, I’ve given the full manuscript to one friend and boldly asked a cousin I admire to read and slaughter as necessary yesterday--again, because of Lani. And, I'm further pushed because my cousin/beta reader/literary soul sister has given me back gold--criticism, suggestions and praise I can be fueled by. So, I’m eager to start anew. Looking at my project with fresh eyes. Living and breathing and loving the characters and world I created again. I don’t like to call myself a romantic writer, but I am. My depiction of love is humorous, warped and with flaws, but it’s my universe and I’m glad I can create and share. After another few drafts, I think I’ll be ready to get back in line to cha cha with real world agents.

It’s easy for me to shelf my writing projects. Of course, motherhood-wifehood-domestic goddesshood take precedence. But, once I feel unbalanced and the other “children” cry for me…I have to attend to them. I don’t garden or bake or sew or do music, I write. So, the flood gates have opened with new inspiration, new purpose and new direction. I’m buzzing with excitement, so much so that I’ve done more in two days than I have in the last month-writing wise. I’m coming down from a Comic Con high from a few weeks ago, so that experience is weaving into a new book idea I drafted today. It could change. One thing I know for sure, that my first draft won’t be perfect, but it will get done. Happy writing or sewing or gardening or whatever you love to you all.

Esta later!

8 comments:

  1. Showing people the baby that you THINK "might be ugly" is a big, important step. I never showed my work to people for years. Then, an old professor pretty much verbally pounded me, grabbing it for critique. He sent me home with three pages of unemotional criticism. I died. I cried. And I didn't cry because everything he wrote was bad: I cried because not all of it was good. I was upset that he didn't look at my baby and say "OH MY GOD. She is the most beautiful baby I've ever seen." Instead, he said, "What's that on your baby's face?" I decided my work was worthless and kept it hidden in my little notebooks and on a password protected desktop folder. It wasn't until graduate school that I realized sharing my work, accepting the ideas and questions others presented, and keeping an open mind about revision was crucial. I still struggle with this. When we write, it's the product of our inner most capabilities, our creativity, of us... so when people poke at it, it can sometimes feel like their poking US. I've enjoyed having your short stories on my book shelf. I've enjoyed sharing them with students and discussing things with them and I hope you forever remain inspired to keep pushing your work forward. I hope you keep making babies (metaphorically speaking). :)

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    1. Yes, metaphorically speaking. Hubby might say otherwise, but I'm the boss. :) Kidding. Thank you so much. Trying to get the kids to bed, do laundry and maybe have dinner for myself--but, computer is humming...ready to work on my "babies" tonight. Off to read a book to my real neni now. Thank you, thank you!

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  2. Love this blogpost. I can relate to so much of the thoughts expressed here. This is what i value the most about blogging. It provides the opportunity to connect with others on their writing and creating journeys, enabling us to strengthen and inspire one another. I am grateful for those who 'fanned' the sparks of my writing dreams and made my publishing 'fantasies' - a reality. Others believd in me long before I did and if not for them, I would never have finished writing my books.Its not easy to write and parent and write some more - but the struggle is worth it. Its terrifying to put our work 'out there' for others to read and critique - but that is how we learn and grow. Now that Ive discovered your blog, Im enjoying reading thru yr posts and I look forward to reading your books. Soon. Very soon.

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    1. Thank you so much/Fa'fatei/Si Yu'os Ma'ase, Lani. I'm so glad you are able to stop by my little blog. I've enjoyed reading about your journey and success and I was up until 3AM working through my manuscript. I seem to be unable to post my comment on your blog's latest post on being GRATEFUL, so I'll add this here. It sums up how I'm feeling. I would also love to send you a copy of my collection of short stories I self-published (Attitude 13)...just show me the way!

      HERE'S MY GRATEFUL COMMENT:

      "Talofa, Hafa Adai and Hello, Lani! The single thing I'm grateful for today is finding the FIRE to dust off my writing. I thank you and your work. Coming from the tiny island of Guam, there isn't enough validation in characters in the novels on our shelves...mainstream shelves, that is. Like you, I hope to infuse the literary world with strong Pacific Islander characters. Aside from being an awesome mom, wife and domestic goddess, let's not talk about the baby weight I have to lose, I'm grateful to work on finding my voice, on crafting my novel. Fa'afetai, Si Yu'os Ma'ase and thank you for all you do!"

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  3. Wow tanya! Up late after a full day at sea world I allowed myself a "quick read" of your latest blog post... I should have known you would instead inspire me to want to get out of bed and WRITE! So happy for your recent inspiration...I keep meaning to get your manuscript back to you...have trouble giving feedback cuz I know you better than the semi-autobiographical character...and I of course can relate with how personal the writing is for you...love how you take risks and challenge yourself to push forward...I can't wait to read the latest!

    Love how your readers write so much in the comment section! You are inspiring to so many and I feel blessed both to read your work and that we are friends :)

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    1. No stress on the manuscript! Really...glad for your perspective when you can. I was buzzing for two days and really raking through S.S. again. I was up until 3AM last night editing. I'm a big girl and will take any feedback. I especially want yours, someone I would like to "enlighten" about Chamorro culture, without force feeding facts. So, please...critique away. Just took a bold step to make a Facebook page for this blog. If I'm serious about a career in writing, I need to brand myself. Initially, I wanted this realm to be less personal, so I never attached my name, but really, I think I have to. I want to have a larger following, so when I do seek an agent, I've established a little bit of something to build on. Thank you too for the friendship! Dedicating another hour to editing...we SAHM's have back up batteries or something!

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    2. Can i make a comment here - yes, i think you absolutely must put your name on this. On yr blog, Facebook author page and everything else. It can be scary I know, but you are building a writer's platform and its about YOU and your name. And it starts with naming yr blog and everything else. If ever u want to chat abt writing/publishing stuff, I'd love to hear from you - LaniWendtYoung@hotmail.com

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    3. I am putting a ring on it... so to speak. Thanks so much again, Lani! I have just e-mailed you.

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