more writing questions answered (part 5)

Welcome back to Writer’s Week! Check out the previous posts if you’re just tuning in. And again, the comments are fraught with fabulous fodder (full of inspiring ideas).

Part 1–Are You Writer Material?

Part 2–Balancing Motherhood and Writing.

Part 3–Getting (A Book) Published.

Part 4–Your Writing Questions Answered.

Here we go with some more of your questions.

Whimzie asks: I’d love to hear what you have to say about the tough skin part. Do you tend to take people’s criticisms to heart or do you feel confident enough in how you do what you do to let negative feedback go?

I’m afraid my skin’s not very thick. Critical comments punch me in the gut and make my heart hurt. I can (usually) eventually let them go, but I have to spend some time sorting it out with God. And my dear, loyal, practical, loving husband is always saying things like, “Anything worth doing or saying is going to get criticized. If you were never getting any hate from anyone, I’d be worried that I wasn’t doing God’s will.” Much of the criticism I’ve received is nothing more than wounded people trying to wound someone else. Sometimes, I’m just misunderstood. People are jumping to conclusions without knowing all the facts–or knowing my heart. Other times, I really do deserve the criticism. That’s when I’ve got some restorative work to do.

Mandy’s question is similar: What’s it like to write about something really controversial and tell it like you see it and then have people really give you grief – even to the point of rejecting you/saying mean things to you? Has that happened to you?

Mandy, hon, you must be new here. I’m not going to bring up past junk, but if you browse through my archives and read through the comments, you’ll see some “grief.” Yes, this has happened to me. And no, it isn’t any fun. But it goes with the territory. And as long as I’m sure I’m staying in God’s will, He’s not going to let it destroy me. Wound me maybe, but I’ll survive.

Mandy is thinking of starting a blog and wonders: Have you ever “put your foot in your mouth” while writing and then realized that you’ve made a mistake after your writing has already gone public?

Oh my goodness, yes. And I’ve had to offer some very humbling apologies. I would recommend cooling off for a bit before publishing a post on a heated topic. Ask God to show you any parts of your post that aren’t glorifying to Him. He convicts me of this on a regular basis.

Ali asks: Have you ever considered writing a children’s book? I’d buy it for my kids. Just sayin’.

Ali is a dear, real-life friend of mine, and I pay her to say things like this to me. Actually, Ali, I’m working on a kids’ book right now– a companion to my Zoo Book, one written from my kiddos’ perspective about all the zoos and animals we visited. After that, I’m thinking of writing a little tale called Henry and Harper about a brother/sister tandem that’s always getting into mischief. You like?

Conny asks: I write in my head all the time – fiction, non-fiction, snippets of lessons learned, conversations with God – but sometimes I sit down to write & I am BLANK. How do you get what is in the head down on paper??

Don’t think about it. Just write. Write it down exactly like it sounds in your head. Don’t worry about punctuation or grammar or spelling or whether or not it even makes sense. Just write it down. You can always go back later and edit/revise. You cannot, however, edit a blank page. I think lots and lots of people struggle with perfectionism. If they can’t write it down perfectly, they’re scared to write it down. No fear. Just write. No one is going to see your first draft.

Thank you so much, folks, for your awesome participation in Writer’s Week! Loved it! I don’t always blog on Saturdays, but tomorrow I’m going to revisit Part 2–Balancing Motherhood and Writing. I have a few more things to say, and a couple of you brought up some really good points I want to address. So, if you’re not one of those writer-types, I’ll see you Monday!

Next week is YOU Week on the blog. In other words, five posts all about YOU. Should be a fun time!

Have an awesome weekend!

9 thoughts on “more writing questions answered (part 5)

  1. Pingback: so, you wanna get a book published? | Marla Taviano

  2. whimzie

    I so appreciate your realness and transparency (are those two words for the same thing? I think there may be a subtle difference and I believe you have both qualities). Thank you.

  3. Kimberly

    Thanks for this series. I may not have commented every night, but loved reading it. I’m glad I’m not the only one with thin skin getting my feelings hurt or putting my foot in my mouth! Thanks for being real 🙂

  4. Conny

    Just wanted to say THANK YOU for this week, Marla, to include answering MY question – and you pegged me: PERFECTIONISM is holding me back!!! The stories in my head are “just so” … but on paper they are “just blah”, which can be ok as I re-write, edit, etc – kind of like you do when you’re writing a research paper or essay for school. Looking forward to more tomorrow -and next week all about ME!! 🙂 God bless.

  5. Jennifer

    I LOVE that you’re going to write a companion zoo book from your girls’ perspectives! I wondered if you were going to include some of their experiences in the zoo book, but this is even better. Such a great idea!

  6. Mandy

    Thanks, Marla! I’ve really gotten a lot out of Writer’s Week. I am new here (found your blog after reading one of your books a couple weeks ago) and I think you are a brave woman. Thanks for living the truth that following God’s will is the way to go – even though it’s not the safe and easy route. It’s really encouraged me to forge ahead with writing and commit myself to sharing God’s truth (in love and humility, of course) instead of sitting quietly by and doing nothing.

  7. Ali

    Your Henry/Harper book will surely be a bestseller. Especially if you include the part about him shoving his finger up her nose causing her to turn molten red.

    Ah, brotherly love.

  8. Liz

    I have enjoyed this week of Writer’s Week even though I am a self-professed non-writer. I have a great respect for those who write since I love to read! Thanks for all the insight and letting me know that I am not alone in my struggle to write good stuff.

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