Writing is like a Tootsie Pop.

Mr. OwlDo you remember the old commercial of Mr. Owl and his proverbial question? How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Tootsie Pop?

People are either lickers, or biters. Yes, I’m talking writing. Most of the time I am a licker when it comes to writing. I take my time, I dwell, thinking and doubting. I wonder which direction my characters take, which clothes they wear, which setting is suitable, what inner turmoil fuels their reactions, etc…

The only problem, at this pace, things can go stale–writing and Tootsie pops. If you sit there and hold a Tootsie Pop long enough the wind will dry it out, losing the taste, dust or bugs land on it, not to mention your hair will get tangled in the sticky mess. Yuck!

If I allow my doubt and questions to creep in my writing, I may not finish. I wonder whether this was the right flavor. I want to wrap it up in the paper, put it away, and grab another flavor.

The only problem, once it is licked and the wrapper goes back on, it sticks. It is hard to remove and go back to that same old story. Wait, we’re talking lollipops, right? It is the same with writing.

If I want to write a story, I have to take a bite. A big bite. I have to get to the core of things and quickly. Once I take that big bite, then I can stop and chew. I can savor the hard candy with the soft chewy center. The flavors mingle and something new emerges. A taste I never imagined when I chose the flavor in the beginning.

Remember, the beginning has to be fast for a great experience. Just because you took a bite, doesn’t mean you are required to swallow. Stop, savor, and experience. If you chose the pop with the gum in the center, you can chew for a long time.

As I stated at the beginning, I’m naturally a licker, but I’m trying to be a biter.

What kind of Writer,  or Pop-eater are you?

Tricks of the Trade

SK quoteAs much as I love Stephen King, I have to disagree with this statement. It may be correct for most writers, but the fear of publishing a poorly written story motivates me to keep working on a story long after I have gotten the story line down.

I hate labels, because many times it is an incorrect way to look at something. At the same time, I am quick to relabel something if it will help motivate me.

I never say, “I’m writing, or I’m editing.” Both words sound like work to me. I imagine myself confined to my chair, forcing myself to get words down, or constantly autocritting those words. Yuck!

I love to “Storytell”, and “Perfect”.

Both those words create a picture of a finished product of what I want. I aim for a well crafted story that readers will love. I just happen to be the one there to dictate the story.

Are there any silly tricks you use to accomplish your goals?

Third time is a Charm

determinationIt seems that everything I do, I have to do it three times before I get it right. I used to get frustrated, irritated, and want to pull my hair out. Who has time to do everything three times?

When it comes to writing, I don’t mind. If anything the first time I learn about my characters and the setting. The second time I work out the plot holes and problems. By the time I write the scene the third time, I’m excited. I’ve improved everything at least three-fold.

Lately, I wrote a scene and thought, Wow! I don’t need to rewrite that. But, I did. And, I improved it.

Sure, I’d love to be the writer that can crank out the stories at a rate of 10,000 perfect words a week, but after a bit of thought, I’d rather be the writer that “Wows with every Tale Told!”, even if it takes me four tries.