Tuesday’s Tutor: The Good Word(s) from LUW

Easy as A, B, C . . . from BB

On September 14, Sophie Littlefieldbad-day-romance-200, who wrote A Bad Day for Romance and Garden of Stones, among others, was the keynote speaker at Saturday’s opening session of the League of Utah Writers annual convention. She had some wise, some difficult, and some encouraging words to offer. In case you weren’t there, I’d like to share.

Sophie admitted that “Writing is HARD!” We all suffer from the solitary, self‑directed and uncertain life this plunges us into. We can be plagued by rejection, unkind reviews and self doubt. In fact, some days we just want to quit. Sophie said that “It’s OK to quit. But then you have to start again . . . because we’re not quitters…we are Un‑Quitters!” I loved that newly coined word.

The Key to Success, she claimed, is to be DOGGED. And then she illustrated that comment with a fun, funny and wonderful set of slides for each point she made: slides of her beloved dog. And she shared great, and leveling, idea from her agent, who says “If you write 2,000 words, read 2,000 words—within your genre.”

Now for the set of Everyday Rules for Un‑Quitters:

Build your community (think “platform,” if that term holds greater meaning for you. YOU need to pay attention to industry heavyweights: Whose blogs do you follow

Who do you read? After all, you can learn something from EVERYONE

Then keep up with the chores, like social media, finishing what you start, whether it’s the dishes or the fifth chapter; do your work daily; here’s one I came up with that I need to do: EDIT right after I’ve been critiqued. Update websites, social media sites you like and/or belong to.

This one was easy for me: take on ALMOST more than you can chew. It’s a little like if you need something done, ask a busy person.

Sophie urges Un‑Quitters to use the right tools: read the manual (for whatever tools you use), create a healthy, ergonomically helpful environment; don’t forget to get up and MOVE every hour or two; invest in quality supplies when you can; embrace technology from Scrivener and other special programs to the iPhone. When it comes to social media, do more with less.

And this may be the greatest part of all‑‑‑the way to STOP being a quitter: Un‑quitters shake things up. I loved her suggestions on various ways to accomplish that shake up: Digest the unfamiliar, from reading outside your genre to trying on new identities. Read what’s selling, then try writing something similar yourself. Pay attention to Good Reads: it will widen your circle. When the steam runs out, stretch yourself, rewrite using something innovative, weird, or Brilliant.

Now, let your “freak flag fly high”‑‑‑don’t let others judge you for being “weird” or “different”‑‑‑it’s all good. And, of course, don’t judge them either.

Un‑Quitters know how to change course. They don’t go around with blinders on. They pay attention to what’s selling NOW, who’s making $$$, who’s succeeding, who’s failing. They don’t covet what other people have, they go make their own success.

If you make a mistake, get over it: ‘fess up when you mess up, and move on.

Finally, remember who loves you best: your partner, your child, your parakeet. And when you’re feeling low, give yourself a day off!

Her final thought was ALWAYS remember what few things matter the most.

See you day‑after‑tomorrow for Thursday’s 13!

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