Tiffany A. White

Plowing Through the Writing Weeds by Tiffany A. White

Many of us participating in this ROW80 challenge hope to write for a living one day – if we don’t already.  Writing isn’t easy.  We don’t become New York Times Bestsellers overnight, or in a year for that matter.

But that’s okay – not many careers can be defined as easy.

Is accounting easy?  No.  Is architecture easy?  No.  How about teaching?  Absolutely not.  Engineering, practicing law, and working construction?  Not easy.

As if the process of writing wasn’t difficult enough, we unfortunately also find ourselves lost in a maze known as the writing weeds more times than we can count.  Our fingers become paralyzed, locked into place above the keyboard while we shake our heads from left to right.  If we’re old-school and draft with a pen and notebook, we might thrust the pen deep into the paper and slash back and forth until we’ve destroyed the little white page.

Obstacles exist in writing and every other facet of life; there’s no way around that.  We can, however, find what works best for us to plow through the weeds.

Reading a great book oftentimes opens a writer’s imagination and helps our own words flow onto the page.

If we write mystery, we can pick up a James Patterson novel and follow his protagonist, Alex Cross, as he captures the serial killers haunting the DC police and FBI.  The series is a great weed-eater because Patterson has provided readers with over fifteen Cross books we can use to familiarize ourselves with the detective and his many antagonists.

When we need a complete break from the written word, we can watch a movie.  While visual, movies still allow us to learn character development and follow the plot, or story arc, from start to finish while curled up on the sofa with a bowl of popcorn.

If we write romance, we can watch Romancing the Stone and The Jewel of the Nile and witness Joan (a romance novelist, by the way) and Jack’s love/hate relationship to discover the give and take of what a strong romantic relationship entails.

We can also watch a favorite television program to clear a path through the weeds.

Pretend we’re working on a character biography for a strong female protagonist.  Why not click over to TNT and watch an episode of The Closer?  As writers, we can learn a lot by watching Brenda Lee balance her professional life with her personal relationships while working through each and every one of her character quirks and flaws.

Books, movies, and TV programs are just a few examples of fantastic writing weed-eaters.  Of course, we can always pick up a great style guide along the way too, like Save the Cat by Blake Snyder or Story Engineering by Larry Brooks.  Learning the craft of writing is an excellent weed-eater when we’re lost in the maze of writing woes.

So tell me, what’s your favorite writing weed-eater? 

On a personal note, Row80 keeps me on my toes.  Would you believe that I never once set writing goals prior to joining Round 2 earlier this year?  Now, the Row can’t get rid of me!  I’ve learned the importance of finding the perfect weed-eater to plow through my writing weeds and learning to balance whatever obstacles my manuscript throws my way.

I wish you continued success and hope to see you in future ROWing rounds.

 ~*~

Tiffany A. White

It Doesn’t Matter Why We Write by Tiffany A White

We all write for different reasons.  Maybe we write to tell a story, or to stop the voices bickering in our heads (writers understand that phrase; non-writers want to admit us to the mental hospital).

But guess what?

It doesn’t matter why we write.

Yes, I really said it.  I’ll say it again to hammer my point across: It doesn’t matter why we write.

Okay then, crazy Tiffany, what does matter?

All that matters is that we simply write.

That’s it – just write.

So, now we’re writing, but what inspires us to write? What lit that spark underneath our derrieres and continues to provide us with the gasoline to sit down every day, or however often, and put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard?

As writers, we all have a story to tell.  That’s obvious.  But, let’s be honest now – most of us want to be the next bestseller with dreams of huge royalty checks rolling in.

That’s never going to happen.

Wait, let me finish: That’s never going to happen if we don’t write; if we don’t make writing a habit, a regular routine, a part of our daily lives.

It all started for me in high school English class.  Everyone remembers reading the literary greats, and then writing papers discussing the works, being sure to include the rising action, critical plot points, climax, and denouement.  Right?

Well, I actually liked writing papers – so much so, that I helped write quite a few of my friends’ papers.  Shhhh, don’t tell my teachers!

Also in high school, and already addicted to television, I recall waiting anxiously for those made-for-TV two-hour movies to premier on Sunday nights.  Remember those?

Next began my obsession with true crime cases.  Most of the two-hour television movies were inspired by or based on actual events.  So naturally, feeding my television addiction, I began watching forensics programs, real-life mysteries, cold cases, etc.  The A&E channel was my pseudo-best friend in college – you know, the friend that didn’t get me in trouble by taking me out to the bars instead of studying (love you, girls!).

Finally, I discovered Lifetime Movie Network.  Gold Mine!  LMN televised so many of those two-hour movies I relished in high school, and even more that I’d never even heard of before – some adapted from novels, some completely fictional, and others inspired by or based on actual events.

I’d sit and watch the movies, solving the crimes along the way, and think to myself: I can do this!

I still do, by the way.

So, here I am today, doing exactly that.  I’m telling my crime story by way of a Young Adult novel, with ideas and characters bouncing around in my head for my next book, and then the next.

And do you know what? Writing makes me feel good.  I had a friend say that creating something makes her feel good inside.  She says there’s a strength that comes from creating something, and no one can take that away from her.

I think she’s on to something here.  When we create something good, don’t we want to keep doing whatever it was that made us feel good about ourselves?

The point of the Round of Words in 80 days is to set goal-driven writing, reading, and editing goals. It doesn’t matter what our goals are, just that we’re striving for greatness – making us feel good about ourselves.

Many of us participating in Round 3 also stop by the #MyWana group on twitter.  Our number one goal in #MyWana is to express to one another that We Are Not Alone.  We are not alone; we’re all on this writing journey together.  And guess what?

Even bestselling authors have been in our shoes.  Every author starts writing with the fear that no one will want to read their work or that their work won’t be good enough for publishing.  Every writer gets stuck with writer’s block and needs encouragement to keep going.

Remember to encourage each other.  Cheer each other on. Wave your pom poms (red and black preferred).

Another good friend once said, “There’s something uplifting about knowing there’s nothing magic to being published – it’s just “butt-in-the-chair-‘ness’.”

It doesn’t matter why we write; all that matters is that we just write.

 Butt-in-the-chair + Fingers-on-the-keyboard = Imagination Greatness.

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. –Calvin Coolidge

Do what you love and follow your passion. — Ray Bradbury

Why do you write? What inspires you? Do you have any quotes that you’d like to share?

~*~

Tiffany A. White