Sunday, January 30, 2011


As my favorite TV personality, Tim Gunn, often says “Make it work.” It’s become a sort of mantra for me as a writer. Obviously as any aspiring author I think I have something to give to the world. I think to want to be a writer there is a certain amount of self-love that must be involved before you can jump from just writing for yourself and deciding “The world has to read my thoughts! I’m amazing!” (Like wise with Blogging too I feel.) But even the best writers have thing they struggle with, things that they turn to their support group for. And that’s what I want to know, what are your flaws? When do you have your “Make it Work” moment?

I’ll make it easy, I’ll go first.

I know right? An aspiring author who counts spelling and grammar among her biggest flaws? Why not just give up now? Well let me tell you it’s something I struggle with every day, and for a long time kept me from even wanting to attempt sharing my story with the world. This is one thing I can point to and know with out of doubt in my mind that bad schooling led to this. I don’t know what it was but I could never spell. Each week we had a new list of words we had to learn and at the end of the week we had a spelling test, and I would write out the words (what felt like) hundreds of times, be quizzed by my parents, nothing helped. And I remember ever so clearly my teacher passing back yet another test I did poorly on and patting me on the shoulder as I held back tears (failing never suited me well) and telling me “Don’t worry, it’s not the end of the world, now they have computer that fix that sort of thing for you.” And went on her merry way. But in my 8-9 year old mind it was like a cloud had been lifted, there where blue sky’s ahead! I never had a thought to work at it ever again, and somehow the teachers in my life just let it slide and it wasn’t until late in high school when I figured out how much I was held back by my self-made handicap.

But I think knowing the problem is half the battle. I know that when I finish my WIP that I will have to have some very patient friends comb over it and help me out before I send off my quarry letters.

Now I can speak at length in real life, I can hold hours of conversation without blinking an eye. Why is it so hard for me to make my characters talk to each other? Hell even their inner monologues are fine, but their outer ones? They always feel flat to me. Cheesy.  Very much:
“I like cheese.”
“Cheese is good.”
“Swiss is my favorite.”
I mean what the hell? My characters can think coherent thoughts but the moment the words need to come out of their mouths? Nothing.  It is super frustrating.  But luckily I have my writer’s night girls who help me through the major kinks.

I have a few other minor ones (like fight scenes, how in the hell am I supposed to make my MC move naturally? Why can't I just have her punch everyone in the face and light everyone on fire and win? If I got punched in the face and lit on fire I would just give up.) but those are the big two. The two that I truly have to put my nose to the grind stone and not matter what just “make it work.” Because if I want to be published then I have no other choice.


  1. One word: Overwriting.
    I know I'm guilty of it, but I ascribe to a similar "make it work" attitude. I can either drive myself nuts censoring my imagination right from the off, or I can let it all spill out on the page and then go back later an edit. Editing's a pain, but it's better than trying to stem my creative flow.

  2. Good thoughts expressed here. Thank word programs for Spell Check. Reading aloud can help identify many grammar errors. The more we write and pay attention to suggestions of those who read us, the better we should become.

    Since you are relatively new to blogging I'd like to recommend a blog event that should be very helpful to honing your writing craft and increasing your blog presence. In April we are doing the 2nd annual Blogging from A to Z Challenge. You can read about it in the link below. Hope you'll join us.

    Tossing It Out and the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2011

  3. Great tips here!

    Welcome to the blogosphere. :)) Thanks for the follow, and I look forward to reading your answers in the Bernard Pivot Blogfest!

  4. I sometimes feel like my writing is good, but not great, and I don't know how to make it better. So I just push through and edit like crazy and hope I'm being overly critical.

  5. I am so with you on the grammar thing. I feel like it was just missed from my schooling. Like every English teacher I had assumed I already knew it. Now I'm going back to uni this year to do a graduate diploma in publishing and editing and I'm having a mild panic attack because of my lack of grammar knowledge. I've started looking up online courses to increase my skills but I feel like I'm starting from scratch.

    You're so lucky to have a group of writers you can turn to. I've got online crit partners but I'd love to have a face to face group.