Welcome back to Life List Club Friday! I’m thrilled to host the hilarious Jenny Hansen visiting from her blog More Cowbell. She has some great advice for getting through parenting, a writing career and your daily life a lot happier.
When you’ve enjoyed Jenny’s post, please hop over to Pam Hawley’s Hawleyville, where I’ve got something really important to share with you.
Take it away, Jenny!
Happy Life List Friday! I’m sooo excited to be here at “Marcia’s place” today. It’s so sexy and classy over here, it made me stand up straighter and stick my chest out this morning before I answered comments. I even changed out of my jammies for y’all.
If you haven’t been over to see me at More Cowbell, I hope you’ll come take a peek. Like Marcia, we like to get our belly laugh on and have a great time.
When I’m not writing or teaching computer classes, I spend my time raising Baby Girl who is streaming toward her Terrible Two’s at a rapid clip. My husband and I looked at each other the other day, after a particularly trying moment of babyhood, and agreed that we needed better rules.
The exact words we used were, “She’s gonna wipe the floor with us if we don’t define some easy-to-remember rules and get them in place EARLY.” We each ran off and scribbled our ideas and compared them.
His list continued on well past Toddler-hood and contained gems like, “No dating until she’s of legal age.” My list was a little more practical and got his vote because it was “short and easy to generalize.”
In my experience, kids can only keep track of a few rules when adrenaline and mischief get mixed together. With that in mind, I revised until I’d whittled my list down to three things. And my husband is right, they’re easy to generalize.
The second thing my hubby said when he looked at my little list was: this would transfer great to all your writing pals. So here I am, at Marcia’s sassy blog, sharing my 3 Simple Rules For Writing and Life.
Enjoy! Be prepared…I’ll ask you to share some of your “rules” in the comments. J
Rule #1: Be Safe
Hundreds of thousands of writers have thrown themselves into the chaotic pool of NaNoWriMo, myself included. As we push our lives aside, writing like demons and mainlining caffeine, it’s really easy to forget to take care of our bodies and our minds.
Taking walks, getting sleep, and drinking enough water are all important parts of keeping a writer healthy and yes, safe. I’m guilty of forgetting to take care of myself so I put this rule first to help me remember its importance.
The best post I’ve ever seen on the subject titled Tips for Being a Healthy Writer was written by Kristen Lamb and it’s definitely worth a read.
Rule #2: Respect Yourself and Others
It’s very easy to get wrapped up in the solitary confinement of your manuscript and forget about all the people who help you make it happen. Your co-workers who pull their weight, your family, your friends…all these people contribute to your dream. And don’t forget your writing posse, which often consists of your critique group or members of your writing chapter. All these people are an integral part of your success.
Note: If you aren’t sure how to build a writing team, click here.
A writer under deadline is often a snarly jagged beast (or at least we feel that way inside). Even though it’s hard, remember to take a breath each day and consciously relax. Don’t forget to treat your support team with care.
It’s easy to rage when you want them to hurry through the draft they promised to read, or babysit on your writing day or cook dinner that night. But life happens and you need to chill. The best post I’ve found on this was written by our own Marcia Richards during the last Life List Club blog hop, called Change Your Mind.
Rule #3: Do Your Best
I had the best mom in the world. Truly. If I do half as good a job as she did, my daughter will be blessed. My mom had a way of listening with her heart even while she drew a strict line in the sand.
Case in point:
Why am I talking about old report cards in a writing post? Don’t we all try to do our best?
Yes and no. Most writers continue to do their best if they feel assured that their best is pretty dang good. But what about the sucky days? I read a post earlier this week by a wonderful mystery writer, K.B. Owen, that really resonated with me. Here’s what she said about those days of “sucky writing”:
Consider it time well spent: you are merely flushing the suck-y-ness out of your writing system. Ever prime a well-water pump? Are you going to drink what comes out first? Heck no – it’s brown and yucky. But you can’t get the clear, drinkable stuff until you’ve flushed out the yuck. (Click here for the full post.)
There are so many writers that stop writing because they compare their developing prose to the writing of experienced novelists. I listened to the sage advice of a New York Times bestselling author last month who said:
The only way to give up your dream of being a published author is to stop writing. The reality is that only one manuscript in a thousand is picked up by the publishing houses and less than 50% of those authors will sell another book.
So what? Getting published isn’t magic. It’s about showing up and doing the work.
No matter what you do, don’t give up. It’s all about the willingness to sit down and do the work and to reach out to help other writing friends along the way.
In other words, it’s all about doing your best. Though your best might be different from day to day, you still have to bring it to the page.
What life rules do you live by, both as a writer and a parent? What would you tell the “young you” if you could go back and give them some “sage writing advice?”
Jenny fills her nights with humor: writing memoir, women’s fiction, chick lit, short stories (and chasing after the newly walking Baby Girl). By day, she provides training and social media marketing for an accounting firm. After 15 years as a corporate software trainer, she’s digging this sit down and write thing. When she’s not at her blog, More Cowbell, Jenny can be found on Twitter at jhansenwrites and at her group blog, Writers In The Storm.
You know I love hearing from you! Please chime in and give Jenny some comment luv! Then come visit me over at Hawleyville!