Monday, May 23, 2011

To Get Into the Ice Capades

*Last week I blogged about Possession by Elana Johnson. This week, I shared more thoughts on the Star Crossed Book Reviews blog. Come see what I thought!* 

There’s a line in the movie Pretty Woman, it’s toward the end, but a supporting character says, “You gotta have a goal. Do ya have a goal?” to which the other woman replies, “Well. I always wanted to be in the Ice Capades.”

And okay, in the context of the movie and the way it’s said, the line gives you a good chuckle. But it’s also one of the movie’s most identifiable, universal truths. It boils down to this. If you don’t start out with at least one goal—say, to learn how to ice skate—you will most certainly never reach the end result—aka make it to Ice Capades.

When I first started writing (and by “first started” I mean, right after I made a conscious decision to make a career attempt at it) someone said to me, “The most important thing you can do is to finish.”(And by finish, he meant the rough draft of a manuscript.) To a non-writer, that might sound kind of lame. I mean, duh, right? But the truth is finishing a manuscript is one of the hardest parts of writing. And at the time, it was exactly the direction I needed in order to set my first big goal. FINISH. It didn’t have to be perfect. In fact, it didn’t even have to be good. It just had to have a beginning, middle, and end.

And so I did. I finished a terrible, indescribably awful story that will never, ever, ever see the light of a publishing press, because I won’t torture the world in that way. But I finished. I reached my first big goal. Then it was time to set other goals: Edit, revise, query, scrap it, start over, finish another book, edit, revise, query, submit, start a new book, edit, revise, query, query, query…and on goes the process of setting milestones.

Six years later, I’ve learned a LOT more about writing, and my plans and ambitions have grown in size and space and height.

Finish.

No matter what we’re trying to do, that original truth will always remain. You must first learn how to skate before you can perform. You must first learn how to write before you can publish. You must first SET a goal before you can reach it.

What are your goals this year and how will you go about reaching them?

*Be sure to come by on Wednesday and enter my next frawesome giveaway!

4 comments:

Rebecca said...

You are so right. Before I finished my first book draft, it felt like a mystical, insurmountable goal. I did NaNoWriMo last year so that I'd have to finish and stop reworking the first 20,0000 words.

And I did.

The feeling was indescribable. And now that I've done it once, I've done it again, albeit with a far shorter story. I have no plans to stop there. :)

Jeff King said...

Finishing the first draft was easy (for me at least) but making it shine, making it flow, making it something I could be proud of is an ongoing struggle. After 4 months of writing my second draft I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel yet… but it’s my goal and I’ll get there. And of course 4 to 5 more revision are looming over me.

It sure is an eye opener, and make one realize how much hard work goes into a publishable piece of work.

Danyelle said...

100% agree with you. Finishing is what makes writers writers. Because none of the other steps can happen if you don't finish the story first.

I have a spreadsheet and daily goals I need to meet, but I'm planning on having five and a half more books written this year and a number of them revised. *crosses fingers and gets to work*

Donea Lee said...

I went through a phase of too many novel starts, too many lists of ideas, but no "finished" product. Once I got it in my head to focus and hammer out 1 story at a time? Well...it's still hard. But, I've got a few finished drafts now. Yay!! :)