Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Random Thoughts (Or Message to My Younger Self)

By Amy MacKinnon

Some of the best writing is done waiting in line.

Writing isn't brain surgery, no one will die if you don't do it. Well, some of us might.

"I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which are true." -- Mark Twain.

Sometimes the only thing that gets me through the day is chocolate.

There's a difference between being a writer and being an author. Most days I prefer being a writer.

Labels belong on bookstore shelves. Not books.

A story is only as engaging as it characters.

Even Shakespeare had a plot. Yes, I'm talking to you.

We are writers, we avoid cliches like the plague, but, really, this writing life is a rollercoaster complete with highs and lows.

No one cares about your excuses, nor should you.

Be flexible.

When it comes to bringing your work into the world, you need to feel everything for it to come alive.

When it comes to sending your work out into the world, you need to feel nothing so as to survive.

It's not your baby. Really.

Virginia Woolf was right about a room of one's own.

Thomas Edison was right too.


Try again.

And again.

Harder this time.

You'll do it.

Some days, the words won't come, but the doubt cozies up, beds right down, and stays awhile.

This too shall pass.

Each day I try to be a better writer. Some days I succeed.

It's important to remember Lynne's sage advice: We each have our own journey. For better of worse, another's is not mine.

Bitterness is ugly. Jealousy too. Especially when it's staring you down in the mirror.

Be grateful.

Don't settle.

Have goals. Always.


Yeah, it's hard. But it's not life or death.

Sometimes, though, it really does feel that way.


Judy Merrill Larsen said...

Such good advice and reminders, Amy. I think I'll post it above my desk so I can refer to it regularly!

Larramie said...

Clever, visual and memorable advice, Amy, for a writer's life and life in general!

Lynne Griffin and Amy MacKinnon said...

Hi, Judy! I'd love to hear your list of things you've learned so far.

Larramie, as always, thanks so much. I think my favorite link is to the B&N audio interview with Julia Glass, that and Ann Patchett's interview. Each has a lot of wisdom to share.

Ello - Ellen Oh said...

Great post Amy. I think I am going to print this out and keep it in my file, too bad I can't print all the links with it easily! These links are great! Your one post helped get me up to speed with lots of going ons! I'm glad I don't write memoir! And I love that picture of your dog Babe! What an absolute cutiepie!

Anonymous said...

Ha! Oh, Amy, what a wonderful thing for me to have read today. You made me tear up, thank for this, I needed it.

And I'm so glad you enjoyed them. More to come, I'm sure, but for good reasons next time.

Therese Fowler said...

"Most days I prefer being a writer."


It has been my great pleasure this week to dig back into book 2, to reengage with the characters, to admire a decent turn of phrase or two.

Being an author is sometimes the thing we do so that we can continue to be writers.

Lynne Griffin and Amy MacKinnon said...

Ello, thank you, but I suggest printing out that Patchett interview for when your editor is asking for your second novel.

Kristy, oh yes, more to come for sure.

Therese (or should we call you #1 Borders Girl?!), you're absolutely right that's why we do it. That and the charming notes and the right to be addressed as the #1 Borders Girl. I'm stunned on your behalf. How fantastic.

Therese said...

Why not? I'm getting the t-shirts printed up now.

Therese said...

Seriously, though, the best part is not the sales results, it's those charming notes I'm getting. Those are stunning.

Lynne Griffin and Amy MacKinnon said...

Hey, you deserve it, make those t-shirts! The charming notes must be the absolute best part. Good for you.


Lisa said...

What a wonderful post. I'll have to follow all the links later on, but I'll sleep tonight with the thought that:

"Each day I try to be a better writer. Some days I succeed."

Thank you Amy.

Lynne Griffin and Amy MacKinnon said...

Lisa, just as long as doubt isn't going to bed with you tonight. Course how can he, he's bedding down with me these days!


Jess Riley said...

Thank you for the reminders....this was really inspiring! (I also feel like printing it and taping it above my monitor.) :)

Lynne Griffin and Amy MacKinnon said...

Jess, you tape this one and I'll tape your post about reviews. Wow, what a post!


Shauna Roberts said...

A post worth reading every morning to get the day started with the right mindset.

Lynne Griffin and Amy MacKinnon said...

Hi, Shauna. I'm in the cozy doubt stage right now and looking forward to the this too shall pass. How about you?


Shauna Roberts said...

Amy, I'm in the "Sometimes the only thing that gets me through the day is chocolate" stage. It's lasting a lo-o-o-ong time.

"Cozy doubt" does lead eventually to "this too shall pass." I'm not so sure that "...chocolate" does.

Lynne Griffin and Amy MacKinnon said...

Had a cheesecake Godiva truffle today; I recommend Lindt, though.