Monthly Archives: August 2013

Novelists Risk

Be A NovelistWe Risk

 I did not title this blog post The Novelist’s Risk as a noun. Rather I titled it Novelists Risk as a verb. That’s what we do – we risk. We risk time, money, reputation, security, sleep, peace of mind… You name it; we risk it.

We dare to put ourselves out there in our novels for all the world to see. We dare to spend months, sometimes years, pouring ourselves into a work that may eventually go absolutely nowhere. We dare to opt out of a weekly paycheck for the totally speculative occupation of writing for a living.

A person who is gainfully employed may dream of writing a novel. But! “I would have to take time off work to do so…,” they lament. It never occurs to them that most novelists never even think about going to work in the first place.

Financial Risk

Most novelists look at financial risk as an integral part of the game plan. It’s the grueling test that must be passed. (Sometimes over and over again.) TheBe A Novelsit danger of going without is often the propellant that speeds them on to completion of the work. And a steady income may serve to deter the work.

Ralph Keyes once stated:

Knowing that there’s a direct line between putting words on paper and food on the table keeps me focused: a story for a dollar. An empty bank account with the rent due can summon remarkable powers of concentration.

Few Regrets

Many people in this world are filled with regrets in later life – especially over the choice of career. Novelists seldom experience this feeling. Navigating through the stormy waters of the publishing world, and staying the course, puts steel in the backbone. Looking back on the many risks taken, experienced, and survived through, gives a great sense of pride. A great sense of accomplishment.

Regrets live in the hearts of those who were not willing to take the risks. Who talked themselves out of writing and/or finishing the novel. The ones who Be A Novelistlistened to the voices telling them to live a more practical life.

Taking the risk to be a novelist doesn’t always end in the name-in-lights kind of success. It means you recognized, listened to, and followed the call of your heart. You followed your gut. You saw the risk and did not flinch. (Well, maybe you flinched a little, but it didn’t stop you.)

Novelists risk. That’s who we are. That’s what we do.

Where do you fit in the equation?

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In the six-month writing course that I call the Be A Novelist, Six-Month, Finish-My-Novel Challenge we talk a great deal about what might stand in the way of your novel creation! It will be like looking into a mirror as you see yourself more clearly. This course offers six full months of guidance and instruction. Guaranteed to light a fire under your novel-writing attempts and to launch you into a pattern of consistent writing! Details right here!

Be A Novelist

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How to Grow a Novelist

Be A NovelistEver So Grateful

Any and all novelists can tell different stories of their childhood and how they came to love story and books. Although we had precious few books in our home as I was growing up, I was blessed to have teachers in elementary school who began the day reading aloud to us. This is where I encountered the Little House books, Uncle Wiggily, Mary Poppins, Betsy-Tacy, The Boxcar Children and on and on. Six years worth of daily reading. I look back now and celebrate the richness of that experience and never cease to be ever so grateful.

From time to time I wonder where I might be, or what might have happened differently had my love of story not be fed in such a profound manner. And then I take to wondering how much our children of this generation are missing because they are not being read aloud to. (I should say most are not being read aloud to.) So many other things to do, to see, to listen to… Jam-packed schedules for both parents and children.

Be A Novelist

Eudora Welty’s Memories

I was particularly impressed by this account of Eudora Welty’s growing up years in the then-small town of Jackson, Mississippi. (She was born in 1909.)

I learned from the age of two or three that any room in our house, at any time of day, was there to read in, or to be read to. My mother read to me. She’d read to me in the big bedroom in the mornings, when we were in her rocker together, which ticked in rhythm as we rocked as though we had a cricket accompanying the story. She’d read to me in the diningroom on winter afternoons in front of the coal fire, with our cuckoo clock ending the story with “Cuckoo,” and at night when I’d got in my own bed. I must have given her no peace. Sometimes she read to me in the kitchen while she sat churning and the churning sobbed along with any story… She was an expressive reader. When she was reading “Puss in Boots,” for instance, it was impossible not to know that she distrusted all cats. (One Writer’s Beginning by Eudora Welty)

It Takes Little Effort

I’m not foolish enough to believe that times can be like this again. I’m sure mothers will not be reading to the children and churning at the same time. But it takes little effort to turn off the electronic devices – television and iPad and iPhone included – and cuddle up with a good book. It takes little effort to make weekly trips to the library and check out an armload of books and take off on amazing adventures together.

Who knows how many little future novelists are waiting to be nurtured by hearing stories being read aloud, by hearing the fine distinction of a well-written plot, traveling to distant lands in their growing imaginations, and learning more about human nature? Who knows how many little future novelists are waiting this very minute for a lap, a book-lover, a child-lover, and an expressive voice?

Many readers through past decades owe a debt of thanks to Eudora Welty’s mother (Chestina Andrews Welty) who not only took the time to read to her daughter, but made sure she was surrounded by a robust supply of the best books.

I pray for her kind to be replicated yet today.

Be A Novelist

 

 

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In the six-month writing course that I call the Be A Novelist, Six-Month, Finish-My-Novel Challenge we talk a great deal about what might stand in the way of your novel creation! It will be like looking into a mirror as you see yourself more clearly. This course offers six full months of guidance and instruction. Guaranteed to light a fire under your novel-writing attempts and to launch you into a pattern of consistent writing! Details right here!

Be A Novelist

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