enjoying Betsy Lerner

I’ve been reading¬†The Forest for the Trees, An editor’s Advice to Writers¬†by Betsy Lerner and thoroughly enjoying it. Bits of wisdom including the following: “Being a writer or wanting to write is to live in a perpetual state of anxiety, where the chances of failing far outweigh the rate of success.”

Writers need reminders that they are all in the same boat – novice novelists and published authors alike.


Nano no more

Well, I didn’t make the 50k work count. I was sitting at my desk on Monday, with seven thousand words per day in front of me and I was overwhelmed with the thought that I would be writing six, seven hours a day to meet that goal.

Writing is supposed to be fun, I told myself. Then announced to my nano group that I wasn’t going to do it.

Angela said, “We do not write our best stuff under pressure.” So true. Whatever I would have tapped onto the screen would have been deleted during revision, so why waste my time.

Huge weight off my shoulders. Will, of course, try again next year.

Dropbox-a terrible mistake

Any writer fears losing a manuscript he or she has spent months on. So we are always on the lookout for the perfect storage device. Thumb drives are nice, but can get misplaced and one needs to continuously update it if you make changes to your work. In fact, any removable device would have the same drawback.

But dropbox promised a solution. It can store and share your documents from several sources – laptop, tablet, etc.

I downloaded the app and dropped my hard work that was on my old computer into the little square box. It showed up on my new computer. When I opened my manuscript it was formatted in something called writer 10- pages of hieroglyphs. My work was ruined. Because it had not copied my work from my old computer but had taken the entire document, everything was lost.

Oh I could, for a fee, download the upgrade.

Hate dropbox. Removed it from my system. Now I’m routinely emailing my stuff to myself.

Nano again

fired up for National Novel Writing Month. Have write-ins scheduled for at least three different times. Wish me luck!

Writerly Advice

Am currently reading The Forest for the Trees-An Editor’s Advice to Writers by Betsy Lerner.

I’m reading it slowly, absorbing her years of experience.

Several gems jump out at me, in particular, the fact that many writers do not tap into the emotions of growing up with cold, abusive, mentally ill, distant, etc. parents until said parents are dead. It’s like we are still the child having to project to the world, “All is well here.”

The best writers tap into those emotions and use them to create flawed characters. She quotes John Updike who said, “The writer’s life is too short to be in any way polite.”

Revenge Query

My critique partner tells me that, for every rejection letter I get from an agent, I should send out five revenge queries. So now I have an additional reason to fear rejection. smilyfaceemoji

Conflicted about the protagonist

Been binge-watching Nurse Jackie on Netflix. Now on season three.

Here is a woman who has all the behaviors you hate-she’s selfish, a liar, stubborn, manipulative, is having an affair with a co-worker, and is a drug-addict, even going so far as to steal painkillers from cancer patients.

Yet you find yourself rooting for her because she has two admirable qualities: she defends the defenseless, including her two children, and is an amazing nurse.

But you also dislike her because she’s not even trying to truly change.

If my characters could only be so complicated.