How to be a Writer

by Brenda on September 12, 2014

WRITER WANTEDCreative Brain

JOB DESCRIPTION

Previous Experience

  • None is required except a burning desire to weave a tale, confess a secret, and live forever on the page (even if that page is a diary you leave behind for your children).  A pinch of madness and determination goes a hell of a long way.

Desired Skills

Possess excellent communication skills and be able to address delicate subjects, such as:

  • Plot
  • Internal and external conflict
  • Writing engaging dialogue that reveals character and moves the story forward
  • Show and not tell at the right time
  • Tell and not show as needed
  • Have strong organizational skills and be a magical problem solver
  • Keep the facts straight: ages, times of day, places, etc.
  • ]Create scenes out of thin air
  • Name the characters correctly…i.e., Gladys could never have pulled off Scarlett
  • Change the tense and point of view after typing THE END
  • Be willing to work variable hours including:
  • The middle of the day, before coffee (but not recommend), and even at 3 AM
  • Evenings and weekends
  • During dinner parties (might include running to the facilities to make a note on a phone app, back of hand, or paper towel)
  • Daydream when it hits, including mid conversation with your significant other and when the police officer is writing you a ticket for talking to yourself in a public setting
  • Be on standby if the muse visits, an idea settles in, or you wake up with a story pulsing through your veins
  • Write—DAILY (This may include work on a Works in Progress, Dear Diary, memoir entries, morning pages, raw writing, love letters, or notes on the back of napkins.)
  • Write when you’d rather meet your lover (OK, exceptions are allowed. Lovers should come first; same applies to children—the small ones. Over 13s can be taught to respect a crazed writer in the thralls of a creative frenzy.)

Desired Traits

  • Extreme quirkiness
  • Willingness to take risks and try new ideas
  • Having a whimsical attitude is a huge plus, as well as the ability to laugh when tears are more appropriate.
  • Deeply passionate
  • Exceptionally forgiving
  • Gritty resolve
  • Gumption

Requirements:

  • Love words
  • Accept writing is a lifetime commitment
  • Respond to the voices in your head in a timely manner
  • Be capable of industrial strength clean-up during editing phases—must be fearless with the DELETE key
  • There is no get out of jail free card (Once you don the writer persona you are labeled forever more. Even if you have plastic surgery, change your name, or try to enter the Witness Protection Program, your voices and your muse will follow you all the way to Timbuktu.)
  • Xena/Hulk-like body and emotional armor REQUIRED to withstand rejection after rejection
  • Have unlimited faith in yourself (You’ll need it.)
  • Ability to take constructive criticism without reverting to a fetal position
  • Same Xena/Hulk-like strength required to push past the criticism and self-doubt
  • Comfortable being alone for extended periods of time
  • Strong support network
  • Must assume accountability for quality of the final output
  • Must have a surplus of medical supplies, chocolate chip cookies, and wine
  • Commitment to continuously feed the creative beast—entails long walks, daydreaming, leafing through the magazines, reading the National Enquirer, reading books (all kinds), going to museums, listening to music, making lists, taking pictures, breathing, allowing life to flow freely through you…

Benefits and Compensation

  • There is no compensation unless you pen the next big thing. Think outside of Bella and Edward, or sex in chains. Dance with the wind.
  • Perks—there are none, but if you are still reading, then you’re mad as a hatter and deserve to know the rest)
  • There is no advancement—NONE AT ALL. Fame and fortune are not the end game. Writing is a calling, not a choice. Even the famous and very rich writers accept this about the job.
  • Other than sparse to non-existent opportunities for personal growth there isn’t any. If, however, you are fearless and don’t care about benefits, you might find a passion that will weather all the seasons of your life.

Only apply if you are prepared to go the distance.

Do You Have What it Takes?

{ 21 comments }

22 Things You Don’t Know About Yourself

by Brenda on September 5, 2014

  1. You prefer it when life works out the way you perfectly planned it.Body and Soul
  2. You are surprised when the detour from your perfectly planned life turns out better than you could have ever imagined.
  3. You are overwhelmed when life goes astray, especially when it’s worse than you thought humanly possible.
  4. You are shocked—yes shocked—to discover how miraculously you manage to overcome life’s obstacles.
  5. You continuously forget to acknowledge your achievements.
  6. You do not understand why your feelings are so easily hurt when your best friend and/or partner forget what matters the most to you, especially since you know what is most important to them.
  7. You don’t understand how your favorite pair of jeans can fit so perfectly but how a new pair—the same style, brand, and size—cuts off the oxygen flow to your brain.
  8. You don’t know why you can jump tall buildings, juggle chain saws, and never break a sweat, but how the smallest things can bring you to your knees and have you howling to the moon in despair.
  9. You forget to appreciate yourself.
  10. You don’t understand why or how easy it is for you to push yourself and your personal goals to the bottom of the to-do list, or later when the sun is setting why you feel deflated that everything you wanted to accomplish is still on the list.
  11. You don’t know why you continually forget it’s ordinary things, like walking barefoot on the edge of the shore, finishing a good book, or receiving letter or an email, will fill your soul and leave a smile on your face.
  12. You don’t understand why you make every effort humanly possible to control those you love, when you absolutely know control and love are combustible; even now after all these years it can still surprise you.
  13. You have a nasty habit of wishing your were inside of another’s body or life, rather than appreciating what you were gifted, forgetting that your drama and imperfections are what make you special.
  14. You put your dreams on hold for others. In fact, you put everyone else ahead of yourself.
  15. You let other’s opinions influence your life choices.
  16. You often give doubt carte blanche over your dreams.
  17. You don’t always say what you feel and later regret that you didn’t.
  18. You occasionally lose your temper, say exactly what is on your mind, and then spend days or longer regretting the words that flew through your lips in anger.
  19. You work too hard on maintaining the status quo, which stifles the growth that comes with letting go of the predictable.
  20. You love deeply.
  21. You avoid being vulnerable.
  22. You forget to take down your fears and give life a wide birth.

Give yourself a moment of appreciation today and give way to a secret passion.

What else don’t I know about you?

{ 26 comments }

Dreaming Dreams

by Brenda on August 13, 2014

A Writer's DreamsI wonder as I always do about living my dreams in Technicolor. I fret about the possibility of my dreams being overwritten by fate’s ruthless pen. Even considering the likelihood of not seeing the fantasy of living out my days penning stories for others rocks me to my core. My lower lip quivers, my heart quickens—not in the way it does when I see tall, dark, and come-hither—and requires a handful of tropical fruit flavored Tums to beat down the panic.

It’s the sort of feeling that tears at the fabric of the rose-colored sheets lining the imaginary room where I create my magical realities. Having an outlet keeps me in harmony, but it also reminds me dreams are only dreams unless I force myself to see them outside of my head. It’s takes a strong heart muscle (strong enough to withstand disappointment), reckless abandonment (enough to push and challenge the status quo), and dedication (the relentless, industrial, gritty resolve kind that weathers doubt and rejection). Every dream deserves at least this much.

 

And even then…

 

It might not be enough. Or it may mean the dreamer (me) has to double down and keep at it. Being a flawed human I sometimes complain to the Universe when it takes more than it gives. I have been known to wallow in a deep cup of pity me for the length of a breath or the time it takes for me to finish a glass of wine or shot of espresso. Over coffee this morning was one of those moments. I received two of my least favorite kinds of emails,

Dear Applicant….

Thank you for applying …

Dear Brenda Moguez

Thank you for allowing us to consider your book, however….

It’s probably crazy to do engage in two activities that I have no control over simultaneously, but what kind of life would I be living if I didn’t reach for what is outside of my reach? You’re thinking, safe, secure, free of rocky roads, and heartache, right?

Nah, you’re saying what I tell myself after I’ve finished rolling about in the emotional debris left behind after a hearty kick to my ego, BORING. The truth of the matter is this…

 

A dream is just a dream until it’s not…

 

But it is also the one thing in my (your) jurisdiction. I (you) can double-down, keep painting on my (your) imaginary canvas waiting for magic, and driving forward, rolling over the obstacles, or I (you) can have a second cup of pity me and give up.

I had my doubts this morning when I opened my email. Maybe it’s not your destiny to be a writer, the sultry voice in my head suggested. I seriously considered the words my alter ego whispered while sipping espresso. She might be right, but then again I’ve heard similar words before and proved her wrong. I took another sip of coffee and reviewed a few of the highlights of my past:

  • I’ve finished school, and broke through the glass ceilings Latin women occasionally bump up against
  • Reinvented myself in four industries and mastered their respective disciplines
  • Found the courage to declare myself a writer
  • I gave my heart away, not once, but three times
  • Forced myself to be less of an introvert (a continuous work in progress)
  • Submitted, published, and survived numerous rejections
  • Completed two novels, a few novellas, and have a third novel in motion

Not too shabby of a list to show for myself, but not exactly my own private Idaho—seeing the two novels and others published is in the original blueprints for happiness.

I swallowed the last of my java lingered a moment longer before moving on. The truth is I have to make allowances for the reality that I may never see my dreams play out exactly I as originally imaged them, but then again a dream is a dream until it isn’t.

Mine’s still playing out, how about yours?

 

{ 11 comments }

Love Bites on Fridays

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