Round 1 Check-in 2/17/19

It’s been a busy week this week here in Upstate NY.  How has it been in your part of the world, RoWers?  Have you been reaching toward your aspirations comfortably or are you finding each step a struggle?

Hopefully it’s the former, not the later.  But if it is…  your fellow RoWer, Mike Young has an excellent Flash Fiction Friday prompt for you this week.

Testing Your Character

Blizzard at Cape Denison: State Library of South Wales, Cred Frank Hurley

Life often sends us challenges that test our character, and patience. I’ve found that in writing, if I have a character I can’t seem to flesh out enough, it can help to throw something at them, to test them and see how they cope with it. Such as a job loss, a new child, a twisted ankle, or a blizzard.  —Mike Young

In fiction it’s good to push your characters.  Readers like to know your characters are struggling again “all odds” to achieve their goals.  What is/are YOUR characters’ greatest obstacles?  What challenges can you offer them to bring our their fullest potential?

As always, let us know in the comments or via our FB thread.  And if you have a project or event you’d like for us to share, let us know.  We’d love to support you.  That is what the ROW80 is about too, after all.  🙂

Inspiration from Ursula K. Le Guin

So much of the writing world, these days, is about author rankings and sales and marketing. And there’s nothing wrong with wanting to get our work out there and into the hands of readers who might be moved and inspired by our words.

But if you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by the focus on sales over craft, I suggest turning to the words of Ursula K. Le Guin. I’m sharing her 2014 acceptance speech for the National Book Foundation Medal:

To the givers of this beautiful reward, my thanks, from the heart. My family, my agents, my editors, know that my being here is their doing as well as my own, and that the beautiful reward is theirs as much as mine. And I rejoice in accepting it for, and sharing it with, all the writers who’ve been excluded from literature for so long — my fellow authors of fantasy and science fiction, writers of the imagination, who for fifty years have watched the beautiful rewards go to the so-called realists.

Hard times are coming, when we’ll be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine real grounds for hope. We’ll need writers who can remember freedom — poets, visionaries — realists of a larger reality.

Right now, we need writers who know the difference between production of a market commodity and the practice of an art. Developing written material to suit sales strategies in order to maximise corporate profit and advertising revenue is not the same thing as responsible book publishing or authorship.

Yet I see sales departments given control over editorial. I see my own publishers, in a silly panic of ignorance and greed, charging public libraries for an e-book 6 or 7 times more than they charge customers. We just saw a profiteer try to punish a publisher for disobedience, and writers threatened by corporate fatwa. And I see a lot of us, the producers, who write the books and make the books, accepting this — letting commodity profiteers sell us like deodorant, and tell us what to publish, what to write.

Books aren’t just commodities; the profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art. We live in capitalism, its power seems inescapable — but then, so did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art. Very often in our art, the art of words.

I’ve had a long career as a writer, and a good one, in good company. Here at the end of it, I don’t want to watch American literature get sold down the river. We who live by writing and publishing want and should demand our fair share of the proceeds; but the name of our beautiful reward isn’t profit. Its name is freedom.

Thank you.

Ursula K. Le Guin

November 19, 2014

Copyright 2014, Ursula K. Le Guin.

I hope you found inspiration in Le Guin’s words of wisdom. Please share your thoughts, or your Sunday check-in link below. And remember to visit other bloggers and show support. We could all use it!

Round 2 Wednesday 4

Writing wisdom is a mutable thing.  It depends on the person, on the type of writing needed…  sometimes it even depends on the time of the year.  For example, Sunday I was talking about a Writer’s Digest article I’d read on writing with a “buddy”; today I read opposing advice in The Writer’s Book of Wisdom by Steven Taylor Goldsberry:

Writers prefer this (solitude) arrangement.  We are, in fact, like Hobbits, about whom, Tolkien said, “Their elusiveness is due solely to a professional skill.”  We perform better that way.  Our greatest work for human is accomplished as far from humans as we can get. (p 11)

It does go to show how very personal the writing process can be.  So if you’ve ever wondered why the words aren’t coming, if bouts of writer’s block suggested you “just weren’t meant to be a writer”, or myriad other “Writer’s Worries” fill your head…  fear not.  You don’t have to look far to find some thoughts on the process or the craft or even the business that will be able to help you personally.

The only thing you need to do as a writer is…

WRITE.

And a great way to get started on that is by posting you check-in.  We’re already a quarter of a way into this Round of Words.  Hope it’s going absolutely smashing for you all.  🙂

Round 3 Sunday Check-in 4

Lately, as I’ve plotted and planning some changes to the ROW80 site, I’ve been looking over our large archive of inspirational posts.  A common thread or two has shown up—the need to “just write” even when the words don’t seem to want to come out right (or sometimes at all).  And of course, the “how do we find ideas”, but that’s a topic for another post.

The thing is, we do tend to cripple ourselves from the first with ideas of how we should be instead of how we plan to be.  This may seem like I’m splitting hairs here, but it’s pretty simple really.  If we feel we ‘should’ be able to write great stories, then that crappy first draft will be a heartbreaking experience.  But if we plan to write great stories, we can set goals to get us there, step by step..

And of course, this works for so many things we do, not just writing.

As for the quote…  think of it combined with this one:

I could, of course, add a hundred others, all threading together.  The point is… write, made wonderful-terrible words, then write some more.  And somewhere in there, those great stories will happen.  For you, for someone you care about…  perhaps even for a complete stranger.

BTW here’s your check-in linky for the day:

Round 2 5th Sunday Check-in

Now that we’re in the middle of the round, it might be a great time to look over our progress and see if what we’re doing is working for us.  If you’re like me, pure pantser, yet struggling to keep track of it all… maybe you might want to take a page from Fallon Brown and try corralling that chaos.

You have to do what works best for you. Some may say so much organization will wreck creativity. But without it, I can’t even focus enough to tap into that creativity.  — When Chaos Descends

Be true to what works and doesn’t…  you can’t fix problems you don’t see.  Be “who you are” not what you want to be, as Elizabeth Mitchell says:

…let your voice ring true through all your writing, both on the blog during Row80 check-ins and in your longer creative writing efforts. A passion for a subject lights up the core of the writing done about it, and is mesmerizingly attractive.Be Who You Are

You can do this.  Just let us know at the linky: