Three Tips for a Successful Writing Career

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Coming up with original posts each week is a challenge. On Monday’s, I write a “To Do List”. On this long list are the words, “Post a blog on Saturday”.

I take a deep breath and then exhale. “Great, I still have five days to come up with something half intelligent.”

At the beginning of the week, I’m surfing the net hoping something will inspire me. By Friday, I’m scouring the net, desperate for an epiphany to strike. Then I stumble across a quote. I have an “ah ha” moment. I’ve discovered a gem.

Raymond Chandler wrote:

I’m further inspired because he was an author who didn’t start writing until he was forty-five-years-old. There’s hope for me yet.

Below are my thoughts on what this quote means to me:

Ability

I believe I’m capable of writing. And I believe we all possess the ability to become great writers. But it takes hard work.

Yes, I said hard work.

For me, writing doesn’t come easy. Even though I’ve read a trunk load of “How to Write” books, it’s a struggle. I digest what I’ve read by highlighting passages with a blue marker, and when that marker dries up, I pick up a pink one, and then a yellow one…you get the point. I read novels and short stories in an attempt to figure out how writers weave their sentences together. They make it appear effortless, but that’s the sign of a great writer.

Then a light bulb switches on in my brain and I say, “By George, I think I’ve got it.”

Ah, but when I try to carry out what I’ve learned—poof it vanishes. So I try again, and again, and again.

Case in point—I’m reading a book by Randy Ingermanson and Peter Economy, “Writing Fiction for Dummies.” (Now that’s an appropriate title.) They say, “A scene has two levels of structure, and only two. They are: the large-scale structure and the small-scale structure.”

They continue to say, “The large-scale structure of a scene is extremely simple. A scene has the following three-part pattern: goal, conflict and disaster. A sequel has the following three-part pattern: reaction, dilemma and decision.” Sounds simple enough. So now I’m trying to ensure my large and small-scale structure works in my novel. It’s a painful process. But with tenacity and hard work, I’ll figure it out.

Motivation

Where does my motivation come from?

It comes from within. It’s a desire planted in me by God. It’s the drive to accomplish something worthwhile. My motivation also comes from having a great support system in place. I’m blessed because I network with other writers and I belong to two amazing writing groups. They (and you know who you are) consistently provide encouragement. It gets me through those days when I think, “Is this really what I’m supposed to do with my life?”

Attitude

Truthfully, some days my attitude sucks. I wrinkle my nose and grit my teeth, certain I look like I’ve just sucked on a sour lemon. On those days, I’m ready to chuck my laptop out the window. Then I come to my senses, bow my head, and pray, “Lord, I need an attitude adjustment.”

Today, my attitude is positive. It may take years before I’m proficient enough to write a book, but with help from above, encouragement from my writing buddies, hard work, and of course, possessing the right attitude…

“By George, I’ll get a novel published.”

Until next week, remember…

“Life is a series of great opportunities, brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.”

If you can relate, leave a comment or two.

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About Tracy Campbell

Tracy Campbell is a published artist of calendars, wrapping paper, and gift cards, and as an author of how-to-paint magazine articles, her happy heart sings again sharing the work of her hands through "Calm Coloring: Faith, Hope & Love (Art and Soul Therapy for Kids-At-Heart)". When Tracy's not writing, she loves to sharpen pencils, flip open paint lids, and yank off marker caps to create whimsical works of art just for ewe. Customers say her art is sweet and so warm the designs might leap off the page and land right in your heart. She lives with her hubby and fur baby in Wasaga Beach (the Canadian tourist town known for having the longest freshwater beach in the world). Tracy is also a rare breed dog owner, chocoholic, motorcycle mamma, antique lover, and a collector of roosters and sheep (thankfully, not live ones).

6 responses »

  1. hey Tracy I enjoyed this one immensely. It was a good reminder of how we should be with everything we do. Ps
    Sounds a lot like sermon writing:)

    • Thank you also for leaving your encouraging comments.
      I agree, attitude plays a huge part in how we approach life.
      I read your bio and glad to see you are helping others.
      I’ve been there.

  2. Great advice and well shared….I think that this can be applied to everything from planning family meals to house cleaning right up the ladder to corporate decision making. My mom used to have a phrase she often shared with us as kids………Tomorrow never comes

    There really is no tomorrow because it becomes today……..confusing, perhaps but clever and true.

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