Monday, May 9, 2011

Creating: Writing Attitude

Own it.

Two little words.

Joanne at Whole Latte Life often talks about owning your passion. Go visit her if you haven't. If you have, go visit again. You'll have fun.

I want to talk about showing that you own the fire that burns inside. Strut your stuff.

When I was a little girl, my mother signed me up for ballet almost as soon as I could walk. Actually she enrolled me because I had such trouble walking - I was a klutz. Or to hear her tell it ... a KLUTZ! Still am, but not quite so bad. Magic happened on the dance floor, and all my klutziness went away. I even showed a little promise. I wanted to be a ballerina, but life had better plans.

I still love dance in all its forms. I even love watching Dancing with the Stars. At the beginning of each season, especially, you can spot the Stars who don't own their performances. They're hesitant. Their faces are stiff, their movements wooden. They are not having fun. The best dancers are not always the most technically perfect. The best dancers are the ones whose movement touches your heart. They own it.

We're writers. We may, from time to time, write in our jammies. With pillow hair. Not caring that dust bunnies have taken control. Just saying this is possible :)

But when we sit down to write, all of our perfectly groomed self needs to go bye-bye. We must open our writing hearts and let the contents flow through our fingers to the screen or the paper. We have to own our words, our characters, our stories. It's our job to make them touch the reader's heart. When we do that, we own it.

Saying and doing live in two different worlds. We can begin by creating a positive attitude within ourselves. And by lots of hard work. We must know every word is the best we can make it. Every character is as fully formed as we can make her. Every story is the right story for that particular character.

We must be willing to share all the feelings and emotions stored away in the nooks and crannies of our hearts and souls. The good, the bad, the ugly. The sad, the funny. The inspired and the bizarre. All of them - without scrimping. For letting the reader empathize with our characters is the movement we create to make our stories touch their hearts. No matter that if doing so scares us silly. It's what shows our readers that we do, indeed, Own It.

How do you show that you own your work?

30 comments:

Joanne said...

Thanks so much for the shout-out, Carol! I've found that owning our passion often has a lot to do with attitude, and confidence in our decision. It makes the craft an undeniable part of our lives, and becomes a part of who we are. I talk about my Coffee-With interviews on my post today, and part of my intent with them is to find people really living what they love, and get at the heart of the way they own it.

Lydia K said...

Man, Carol. I think you said it as I would have. It's taken me a while to strip off all the layers and just get down to the writing, pure and simple.

notesfromnadir said...

Carol,
Glad to meet another person who was enrolled in ballet very early in life!

I sometimes watch DWTS & it's fun to watch the people who are having fun w/ it & those who are so uptight they make me cringe. Kendra had problems w/ that uptightedness [is that a word?] early on but she got better.

You're right, writing & all art forms have so many similarities. But w/ writing we can wear what we want! :)

Thanks for the blog recommendation.

Talei said...

Definitely, I derive a lot of the feelings and emotions from my own experience and I give them to my characters as needed. I feel like we breath life into our characters and writing that way.

Happy Monday!

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Good point, Carol--so much of our writing depends on our attitude and approach to the project. Thanks for the reminder!

Colette said...

Carol, what a great post. How we approach life, work, our writing... it's all better when it's positive!

Elspeth Antonelli said...

Great points here, Carol. We have to be honest even if we're writing fiction.

Talli Roland said...

Very well said. It's something I've learned over the course of writing a few novels, and you've expressed it here so well!

Jennifer Shirk said...

Saying and doing are two different things. I think as a writer if you're not "feeling" your story it shows in your writing.
Great post!

Carol Kilgore said...

Joanne - My pleasure. I've learned a lot from your posts.

Lydia - It's taken me a while, too. Some days I think I'm still stripping.

Lisa - Those were the days-LOL. I love dressing for my job :)

Talei - Exactly.

Elizabeth - I think so, too. We all need reminders about a lot of things from time to time.

Carol Kilgore said...

Colette - When we look for the positive, we find it. Likewise the other way around. I choose positive.

Elspeth - Yes. Honest feelings resonate with the reader more than a lot of other things, no matter the genre.

Talli - And it's SO hard.

Jennifer - I think so, too.

Clarissa Draper said...

What a great post! YOu're so right, the passion for writing should be like a dancer's passion for dance. I haven't watched Dancing with the Stars but I think it would bother me if they didn't express their joy. Slowly over the years I've learned to love words more and more. They are like my little babies.

J.L. Campbell said...

If I can get my story down so that it flows and my readers relate to the story in such a way that they remember the characters a while after, it means that I have a handle on things.

Holly Ruggiero said...

You're right, you can't hold back when you're writing or readers will sense it just like a dancer whose not committed to his or her dance.

I've close my eyes and "live" the moment then write it and try to capture the sensation.

Miss Good on Paper said...

I was a clumsy ballet kid, too! I agree that we can't hold back in our writing. That honesty that you mentioned is so important. I know if I can feel it, there's a better chance the reader will feel it, too.

Carol Kilgore said...

Clarissa - On DWTS, those who do show their passion more than make up for those who don't. And those who don't usually don't last too long.

J.L. - I love when that happens :)

Holly - I've closed my eyes and lived the moment, too.

Miss Good on Paper - I still have strong leg muscles. It's all about the reader.

Janet, said...

Great post. All my stories have come to me in a moment of inspiration. When I am inspired, the words flow and I get excited and fall in love with my stories.

lbdiamond said...

This is an EXCELLENT post. LOVELY!

BECKY said...

Carol, another thing we have in common....I am a huge klutz!! I bump into furniture, break my nails, get bruises, stumble...you name it!! :)
And I agree, We should strut our stuff....but, you and I?....maybe we should do it VERY carefully!!

Carol Kilgore said...

Janet - I've had two short stories come fully formed. And some novel premises. But I always have to work on character and plot.

lbdiamond - Thank you.

Becky - I have a quarter-size bruise on my arm now. Not a clue.

Julie said...

What an inspiring post! And I so agree about Joanne's site, it's wonderful.

Another klutz here, I always have mystery bruises. I spent my entire childhood with skinned knees!

Glynis Jolly said...

This is one of my problems. It was instilled in me to be CORRECT when I write. Letting go is difficult for me. I really should use the voice-activated equipment for my PC but I hesitate.

LR said...

I tried to comment yesterday but it failed (my fault, slow substitute-Internet stick thing).

But this was a great post! And something I've been thinking about lately too. That I need to work a little harder with the writing. Dig a little deeper.

Medeia Sharif said...

I've stopped working on a wip if it doesn't feel real to me. I don't want to wear any masks, even if I'm writing fiction.

Carol Kilgore said...

Julie - Same here.

Glynis - I've never used a voice-activated software. I understand some are better than others.

Medeia - I hear you. Real is good.

Carol Kilgore said...

LR - Duh. I got interrupted in my responses and missed yours. Sorry. And about your not being able to post, too. FREAKY! I continue to try to dig deep. Sometimes I'm happy with the results, sometimes not. I continue to try.

Conda V. Douglas said...

Carol, I know I'm owning my writing if I cry, laugh or curse while doing it! Love this post!

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

I took ballet, too. But life got in the way of that dream so I turned to writing. I still admire those who can dance on point.

Jayne said...

Oh, Carol, I loved this! I'm working on that positive attitude. But boy do I need discipline! (Not to mention a little confidence.)
And I danced, too! Hmmm, just realized how much I miss it. ;)

Carol Kilgore said...

Conda - Yes, that's a pretty good indicator :)

Kathi - I still remember the excitement when I got my pointe shoes.

Jayne - I miss dance, too. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Don't stop your search :)