Welcome to the first Wednesday of the month. You know what that means! It's time to let our insecurities hang out. Yep, it's the Insecure Writer's Support Group blog hop. If you're a writer at any stage of career, I highly recommend this blog hop as a way to connect with other writers for support, sympathy, ideas, and networking.
If you're a reader, it's a great way to peek behind the curtain of a writing life.
Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.
August 4 question - What is your favorite writing craft book? Think of a book that every time you read it you learn something or you are inspired to write or try the new technique. And why?
The awesome co-hosts for the August 4 posting of the IWSG are PK Hrezo, Cathrina Constantine, PJ Colando, Kim Lajevardi, and Sandra Cox! Be sure to check out what they have to say, and visit other writers in the blog hop!
I don't read a lot of craft books anymore, though once I did. They are a pleasure, and can be inspiring and encouraging, as well as instructive.
But I don't read them very often anymore.
It's not that I don't still feel like there's a lot to learn about writing life. I definitely do!…it's more a matter of time management and HOW I do my learning these days.
Since my first novel was published in 2015, I've considered myself a professional writer. Currently, I stuff a full time writing life into part time hours, working 1-2 hours a day during the school year and 4-8 hours a day during summer hiatus, so that my day job (teaching middle school) can provide money, insurance, retirement plans and other staples of stability.
It's not enough time for all the work of writing, rewriting, networking, marketing, etc., but it's what I can afford (literally, in the dollars in the bank, sense of "afford"). Plus, I'm finding there's something to be said for "hands-on" learning or "on the job" training. Theoretical consideration and hypothetical situations will only take you so far.
That's not to say I'm not studying. I just tend to combine that with other tasks these days. When I get stuck, I read a few articles or posit a question to one of my writing communities to get real-time advice from others in the thick of the struggle themselves. I learn by doing and by talking to others who are doing.
For Lamott, King, Goldberg and other giants of the field, my level of struggle is a memory. They no longer worry about building an audience, navigating the shark-infested waters of publishing, or balancing quality with quantity of output to keep a career from languishing.
For others in The Writing Tribe, Works in Progress, or Area 42 (three of the writing communities I work with), that battle is being fought right now, and for that reason, the advice is very pragmatic. These groups linger less over the philosophy and ideals and concentrate more on the practice.
If I let myself wander down those philosophical paths too long, I find I just stay there. I spend a lot of time thinking ABOUT writing instead of actual writing, and that might feed my practice in the long run, but it doesn't feed my career here in the short run.
So, once again, I'm back to seeking a balance, this time between thinking and doing.
How about you? Do you fall into research rabbit holes as easily as I do, and spend too much time thinking ABOUT what you want to do instead of doing it? Or have you found a better balance of learning and doing? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!