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~ Kathy M.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

She Writes

I recently became a member of She Writes, a free online community for women who write.  All aspects of writing are covered on there, from getting published to webinars, blogging, and everything in between.  I am still learning about the site, which is huge and has a lot to offer. I have to admit that it kind of confusing to me, though valuable.

Being a member of She Writes has kind of effected my writing self-confidence, and not for the better.   Before I joined, I was just going along happily posting on my blog, planning on writing a novel, a resource book, and my husband's memoir.   Then I saw how many people out there were doing the very same thing!  Now, somehow, I am all of a sudden up against humongous competition.   I guess.  Because I am so new to this, I didn't even know enough to know that.

And then there are discussions of how hard it is to get into the mood to write.  About getting stuck.  About how to get re-inspired when you get writers block.  I hadn't even thought about having nothing to say.  I am usually a very chatty Kathy unless I am sick.  Plus, everybody else is busy entering contests, feeling the pain of rejection slips (maybe nowadays they are rejection emails), and being discouraged overall.  Or, sometimes they are elated because they have gotten a book deal or some of their other work published.

I am following Stephen King's suggestions of writing every single day, and reading, reading, reading.  Lucky for me, I was already doing those two things anyway.  I didn't have to build that into my schedule by carving out time.  Yesterday I began reading a new book, and I had to put it down.  The writing was irritating.  Though it did get published, and it was book #5 for that author.  Steve says to read the badly written books, because they can teach you even more than the really good ones can.  I'll keep that in mind, and get back to it someday when I am very bored.  

Instead, I picked up an old favorite, Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver.  That book is way too good; and I think, well, I know that I will never be able to write like her.  I am no Barbara Kingslover.  Then again, neither are most writers.  Barbara is so observant and remembers all the feelings and details that go along with her characters.  She packs more into one sentence than others do into a whole paragraph.  I am Kathy Matthews, though I am not sure yet what that means in fiction writing yet.  In the 1000 words on my novel that I have written so far, I don't think I did that bad though.  I got inside that little 13 year old good girl's head pretty well, at least for a couple of pages.

One of the women on She Writes did write to me and said that she wrote her novel, and she was a newbie, and that it is getting published.  She told me that, "If I can do it, you can do it too!"  That was nice of her, to be encouraging to somebody she doesn't even know.  I guess that is what She Writes is really about, when you get down to it.  Sharing ideas and learning from other people's experiences.  I'll keep trying!


Lisa Ricard Claro said...

Hi Kathy - I joined She Writes also (not long ago...maybe two weeks) although I haven't had a chance to really sink into the site and see what it is all about. All my big plans went out the window this week when my temperature went up! Starting to feel better now, so I'm back online. I'll get back to that site and learn some more. Thanks!

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Hi Lisa, I am happy to hear that you are feeling better!

I think that She Writes is a wonderful thing, but maybe I should just concentrate on doing my work and then when I actually have something done or am well on the way with a project revisit their site.

I like the group of writing bloggers that you and Becky are in, and I learn more about how to do things by visiting your blogs. It is not overwhelming like the huge group of She Writes.


Kathy A. Johnson said...

She Writes can be great, but I agree that it can also be overwhelming. I think you're wise to continue what you're doing: reading and writing everyday. No one else is you, so no one else has the same thing to say (though I admit you and I are pretty similar in our approach to life and blogging!).

I love Barbara Kingsolver--my favorite of her books is Prodigal Summer. She is such a "poetic" writer. And Stephen King is absolutely phenomenal. Something to work towards for us less experienced writers!

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Kathy, I love Prodigal Summer too. I love how she intertwines so many threads and teaches us about coyotes, pheromones, family and raising goats!

The only book I had a hard time with was The Poisonwood Bible. It was heavy.

I love Stephen King too, though for years I stopped reading him because of the scary stories. I have started up again this year after reading The Green Mile. A few weeks ago I read his book on writing, which encouraged me a lot.


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