Monday, November 15, 2010

Awesome Writers Persevere: Guest Post by Laura Diamond!

Today I'm giving a big virtual hug to a blogging buddy of mine. After reading her query on the ever-awesome QueryTracker site, I knew I'd be stupid not to follow her blog. Without further ado, I give you fellow aspiring author/blogger extraordinaire/hilarious Tweeter...

Laura Diamond!!


I BECAME A WRITER THE DAY I THREW AWAY MY MANUSCRIPT


Yeah, so I’ve been writing for over two years now. I didn’t always dream of being a writer. I literally fell into it after pulling a dusty, old, hand-written historical fairy tale out from storage and saying, “Aww, what the hell, I’ll give it a go.”

The, “Aww, what the hell,” turned into an obsession. Nights, weekends, holidays, even vacations, I spent some portion of every day writing, thinking about writing, rewriting, agonizing, revising…you know the routine.

But I never really felt like a writer. You know, a serious, this-is-who-I-am-and-nobody-can-tell-me-differently writer. I had no specific training (I’m a bio major for goodness sake!). I’d never taken writing classes. Everything I learned was either self-taught or told to me by other writers. Somehow, even though I totally saw progress and loved what I created, I still felt like a wannabe or a hack.

Why?

I only saw my mistakes. I let them wear me down and strip my confidence. I brushed away compliments because, gosh, every other writer knows this stuff, so there’s nothing special about my work. The negatives outweighed the positives (whether this was actually true or not didn’t matter, it was how I felt), so how could I call myself a writer?

This was my state of mind when, staring at my sixth novel, I thought, “This is it. It’s the best I can do and it’s still a mess. What’s keeping me invested in this? It’s not my career. I have a day job…a very demanding day job. So why keep torturing myself?”

I came *this* close to quitting. Seriously. (I know I’m not the only one who’s had this moment, but man, it sucks with a capital S!)

Times like these always demand a reaching out to friends. So I did. I sent e-mails to two trusted writerly buds: a kick-ass crit partner with fantastic skills, wonderful ideas, and super duper feedback and a writer (soon to be published author) whose work, assertive demeanor, and positive energy I greatly admire.

They pulled me off the ledge.

They also suggested I rewrite the novel, my star, my *best* work ever.

Holy. Mother.

At first I thought, “Naw, I don’t have to do that. It’s still salvageable. I can work it.” Listen, I fought really hard to convince myself of that. Like really hard. But I couldn’t delude myself.

The manuscript had to go.

So (after a sleepless night of angst and agony), I let it go.

But something positive happened then. In that moment, when I took the scary (and I think brave) step of tossing the manuscript, I fully embraced being a writer. Bashing my head against the proverbial wall to get an unfixable manuscript to “work” (when deep down I knew it couldn’t) held me back. It kept me from progressing. Trashing the novel set me free. (Kinda crazy, but metaphorically it works, so go with me on this.)

Now I can say: I. Am. A. Writer.

I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me. The road will not be easy. Writing is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But I know that being a writer doesn’t just happen one day. It’s a process. It’s a state of being. It’s a lifestyle.

And I had to throw away my manuscript to learn that lesson. But it was *so* worth it.



Laura Diamond is a board certified psychiatrist with the aspirations of becoming a published author. She writes urban fantasy, young adult urban fantasy, young adult dystopian, and middle grade adventure. Visit her blog, Diamond, Yup Like the Stone at: http://lbdiamond.wordpress.com/


Special thanks to Laura for sharing her story with us!! 

Now tell me, blogging buddies: are you up to the perseverance challenge? How are those NaNo manuscripts coming along??

7 comments:

  1. What a great story! Thanks for the link!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great story. When I first tried to be a writer, I did the same -- held on to fragments and ideas like they were gold. (They were NOT GOLD.)

    It was only when I realized that I could write more and write better that I made any progress.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Laura, you rock! Your story is inspiring for all writers.
    :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yup, that was definitely brave, Laura! I admire anybody who can trash whole portions of her work and start new. It's scary. You like little nuggets in your old work, and when you let them go, you wonder if you'll ever be able to capture something in quite the same poetic way.

    When I have to cut scenes, it hurts. Thank you for the reminder that letting go, reinventing, and creating are necessary to being a real writer.

    ReplyDelete
  5. You are so brave, Laura! You didn't just step off the cliff, you learned to fly. Keep on writing!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks so much for the support! It's a scary thing, scrapping an entire manuscript. On the other hand, it's incredibly liberating. Letting go of those treasured phrases helps me to write better ones. (I hope, LOL!)

    Write on! :D

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wonderful story, thanks for sharing! I love to hear what made people finally call themselves writers. I didn't quite dispose of my first MS, but I've buried it deep down in my desk (somewhere in the back of my head I'm convinced there's SOMETHING good in there. Maybe.) I'm about ready to toss my logline... wonder if that will set ME free? (Ha.)

    Sounds like we enjoy writing the same thing. Can't wait to check out your blog!:)

    Jessica

    ReplyDelete

Add your awesome here: