Keli Gwyn
One Adjective Writers Ought to Avoid

What adjective do writers use that gets my hackles up?

Aspiring.

Really? you might ask.

What’s her problem? you might think.

The word itself is a fine one, meaning to direct one’s hopes or ambitions toward achieving something. I’m all for that.

What saddens me is when I hear someone refer to herself an aspiring writer.

That’s a strong statement I know, but allow me to explain.

I’ve been organizing my writing room recently and ran across an old return address label that read: Keli Gwyn, Aspiring Writer. At the time I was using those labels, that title fit. I dreamed of being a writer, but I’d not declared myself one and had not begun writing my stories. Sure, I wrote personal letters, grocery lists, and even an occasional article for our church newsletter, but I wasn’t writing with a goal of publication.

When I decided to turn my longtime dream of being a writer into reality five years ago, I stopped using those labels. Why? Because I was a writer.

The day I wrote the first words of my first story, I’d achieved my goal. I was no longer aspiring to be a writer. I was writing stories with a new goal, that of seeing them published so others could enjoy my efforts. I was aspiring to be published, but that’s different from aspiring to be a writer.

Why is this so important to me? Because I feel those who are actively writing but use the term aspiring before their title aren’t acknowledging what they’ve achieved. Those who have embarked on their writing journeys have overcome many things: inertia, fear, doubt, procrastination, and lack of confidence to name a few.

They’ve embraced their creativity, unleashed it, and are nurturing it. They’ve exhibited courage. They’ve done something many aspiring writers only dream of doing.

Taking the step of declaring ourselves writers can be a difficult for some of us, but one that can boost our confidence and bring us joy. We’re no longer wanna-be’s. We’re writers, and we’re a talented, generous, fun bunch of people who can wear our title with honor.

• • •

Have you aspired to write, knit, scrapbook? How did it feel when you took the step and went from aspiring to doing? Was it scary, or did you forge boldly ahead?

If you’re writing, have your declared yourself a writer? Do you agree or disagree with my take on the word aspiring?

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Keli Gwyn
A Simple Solution to Writer’s Block

“There’s no such thing as writer’s block. That was invented by people in California who couldn’t write.” ~Terry Pratchett

Amy J. Romine (@IWrite) shared this quotation on Twitter recently. I read it and cracked up.

Why?

I’m a native Californian who recently blasted her way through Second Book Syndrome.

What is that? It’s an affliction that affects many first-time authors who are contracted or have a debut novel out and are working on (or attempting to work on) their next books. Basically it’s an advanced case of Writer’s Block.

What are the symptoms?

The primary symptom is a blank look while sitting in front of a blank screen.

What are the underlying causes?

Fear. Doubt. Uncertainty.

What is the solution?

Write.

Write, you say? Even though the creative well is dry? Why?

Since one of the causes of writers block is fear, forcing ourselves to produce words when we’re feeling parched is akin to a rider getting back on a horse after she’s been thrown off. Splash some words on the page. Even if the outcome is dreck, we’re writing.

Gradually the subconscious will take over, ousting the overactive conscious, and the words will begin to flow. They might come slowly at first, but don’t be surprised if a trickle turns into a torrent.

Does this technique work?

Yup! I sat at my computer and eeked out 250 words one day last week—slow, painfully wrought words. I worked my way up to 1,000 a day and maintained that pace for several days running, restoring my confidence. Just this week I had a 2,500 word day, and boy did that feel good! I proved Writer’s Block can be overcome—even by a Californian.

Do you ever suffer from Writer’s Block?

How do you work your way through it?

Or do you think Writer’s Block is a myth?

Image from Wikimedia Commons
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Keli Gwyn
Downton Abbey: My Latest Addiction

Tweets about Downton Abbey flooded Twitter this past year, and I felt like I was missing out on something awesome. So, when my hubby and I finished watching every episode of Bones, Castle, and The Mentalist that Netflix has at this time, I suggested switching genres.

Gwynly loves mysteries, adventure, and action. Me? I’m all about romance, especially period pieces.

I convinced my guy to give Downton Abbey a go by casually mentioning that it’s set in England. With his love of classic British sports cars (he owns one) and his interest in the country’s history, he was willing to give the show a try, thereby scoring major understanding hubby points.

Guess what? We’re enjoying Downton Abbey because it has elements we both like.

We’ve only seen the first four episodes, but we are getting to know the huge cast of characters, and, between us, can name all of them now. We’re eager for good things to happen to some of the characters and for others to get what’s coming to them.

The story is rich and complex, with interesting new twists introduced often. The costumes are exquisite, the setting awe-inspiring, and the accents divine.

I’m thoroughly hooked and have to force myself not to slip the DVD into the player and watch the next episode before Gwynly gets home. I’ve been good—so far.

Are you a fan of Downton Abbey? Without spoilers, what do you like about the show?

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Keli Gwyn
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