Sometimes Writers have to Settle for being Sexy

Filed under: Pondering, Writing

I know–you read the title and stopped by to see if I’d lost my ever loving mind. Perhaps you suspected that the high pressure world of publishing had gotten to me. That I decided to start being the ghost author for a couple reality TV stars from the Bachelor. Or maybe you thought I was jumping on the Fifty Shades band wagon. Nope, What I’m talking about today is how settling into your own writing makes you a more desirable person in a multitude of ways.

There’s no “right way” to write. And even though we know this, it’s hard to remember it with the plethora of advice that is available to us online. (And here I am spouting more of it. LOL!)  Now, don’t get me wrong, I can always learn a thing or two. I’ve been both unexperienced and distractible at many points in my writing journey and so much of that advice has helped me to grow as a writer. I’m very grateful it’s always been there to nudge me in the right direction. But as I try on all the different styles and approaches to crafting words, I’ve come to realize that time and practice is the best way to discover what works best for me. It’s about knowing who I am and settling into my best self.

I was just reading an article in The Writer, about YA author Chris Crutcher, where he talks about writing in his head while he’s swimming at the pool. Once the scene is clear in his mind, he then sits down for 15-20 minutes and captures it on paper. Then he’s back up and moving because brainstorming in front of a computer and it’s distractions doesn’t work for him. He’s settled into an understanding of what works best for him. He’s not forcing a square peg into a round hole. Authenticity of self not only drives his writing, but it molds how he does the writing.

Right now I’m working on two projects. Not at the same time. And they are very different kinds of projects. But I’ve never done that before. I always focused on just one thing. But this is working out very well for me. While one project is marinating, I’m trucking along on the other one. Never suspected that this might be a good way for me write, but as I’m settling into myself, I’m finding out powerful things.  Instead of beating myself up for not getting as much done as I’d hoped on a story, I now find myself feeling productive even when I’m stuck.

I’m also finding myself settling into a better rhythm with my inner brow beater. This is not to be confused with my inner editor who limits his meddling to my manuscripts. My inner brow beater is the  little monkey that sits on my shoulder and whispers sweet chaos into my ear–about everything.


And while I’m talking about writing, know he doesn’t limit himself to such a narrow field of attack. Yeah, that guy. He likes to pluck my inner compass and send it spinning. But because I’ve spent this week catching up on an epic ton of writer’s magazines. (I got a wee bit behind in my move this winter) I’ve had reason to shake him off of my shoulder for a little while at least. As I was reading lots of inspirational and motivational stories from very different writers, I started seeing a pattern…

THERE IS NO PATTERN other than trust your instincts and work hard. One writer edits meticulously as they go along. Another writes drafts by hand to slow down the thinking process. Some have strict butt-in-chair and word count demands. Another starts a new draft from the top every time something is revised. Even if it means just retyping parts as is. Some change POV several times before they settle in. Others just tear through and fix it all later. Some swear by social media and some treat it like poison. If I try to imitate all that advice, I won’t be a success, I’ll be a head case. Totally not attractive. Completely unproductive.

Which begs the question–why do we let that monkey sit there to start with? Why are we so critical of ourselves? Why do we compare ourselves to everyone else and their process? Why do we try to mimic their success? Because from where I’m standing 9 times out of 10–the people we want to mold ourselves into are the people who’ve already learned to settle into what works for THEM. They have not only adjusted to their uniqueness, but they’ve embraced the idea that who they are must be inextricable linked to what they write. In fact, I find people who have a strong sense of self very attractive. It’s down right sexy sometime.

Yup–I’m going there. Finding your voice (if you write a good book) makes you attractive to readers, agents and editors. Having an internal compass that allows you to be yourself and share that with world makes you interesting. Confidence (not to be confused with arrogance) makes you sexy. And just to be clear, it won’t make you good looking (any more than you already are) but it will make you good to look at. Seriously, I’m not monkeying around. You should never settle for not settling into who you really are. Time to get sexy, my writer friends.

What other advice do you have about settling into the best writer you can be? What do you think makes a person sexy besides the obvious?


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2 Responses | TrackBack URL | Comments Feed

  1. Totally agree Kim. I think we writers, especially us debut-ers, have tried to copy successful writers in pursuit of, well, success. But when you do that your writing is not authentic. It looks and reads forced. Getting to know who you are as a writer is part of the process, the journey. I am much more comfortable in my writing now than I’ve ever been. I don’t know if that makes me sexy but it sure makes me happy

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