This is the fifth post in the series A Writer’s Life Revealed, where authors and writers share insights into their writing lives. Last week Kathryn Benson shared her tips for weathering tough times as a writer. Today, Dianne Matich, our fifth contributor, joins us on Blogging Story!
Dianne Matich and The Writer’s Life
Dianne is represented by Rachel Letofsky of the CookeMcDermid Agency in Toronto. You can find her at diannematich.com.
What is Your Writing Routine?
My writing routine is weaved among the ups and downs of my autoimmune disease. On the good days, I am at my desk typing away, sipping hot tea if it’s morning, sometimes hot cocoa if I write in the afternoon, and maybe chilled wine if after dinner. Usually I listen to baroque or classical, unless the scene needs more edginess. Then it’s rock or hard metal. On bad days, I am curled up on the sofa reading work from my favorite authors who inspire me, or maybe a craft book learning more about the craft. I may read my work and make notes for the rewrites I will do when I have another good day, reminding myself of a favorite Ernest Hemingway quote, “The only kind of writing is rewriting.”
When I get stuck, that’s when I call in the big guns: my critique group. We hike together. We eat chocolate together. We drink wine together. And, we also complain about our work, the turtle’s pace of the publishing industry and the daily grinds of life. We laugh when we catch each other’s purple prose or vent over the rejections. When I feel like I am ready to give up writing, these are the people who remind me of why I am doing this… because, at the end of the day, I am a writer. This is what I love to do and who I am.
What Accomplishments do You Celebrate, and How?
Celebrations honor our work. It’s not about building egos….well maybe a teeny tiny bit, but this industry is filled with rejections, and heart aches, and waiting, and no thank you. When we fail to take the time to celebrate the small steps forward writing becomes work. Hard work. Sometimes, too hard. So, I try to remember to treat myself as each goal is achieved. When I hit my daily 250 word minimum count, I’ll splurge with a Lindt mini chocolate worth 1 point on my latest Weight Watchers diet. A weekly goal of one chapter earns me a delicious ice cream sandwich worth another point. The time I signed on with an agent, I had dinner with my critique group. Well, then I gave myself unlimited points—totally worth it! Do you see a pattern here? It’s important to celebrate in ways that are meaningful to you.
What Advice do You Have for Writers Out There Who Feel Discouraged or Unmotivated?
I have learned it takes a village to write a book. If you don’t believe me, start reading novel acknowledgements (which BTW are also a good way to discover possible agents and editors you might like to represent you). Every successful writer has a network of people, outside of their family and close-friends, who provide support to that author. A knowledgeable and supportive critique group is invaluable to a writer’s success. How does a writer find the right critique group for them? It’s similar to dating. Start networking. Attend writing conferences. Attend book launches. Speak to authors. I’ve been part of several critique groups. Some have fizzled out while others didn’t fit well. In the end, several women writers who I clicked with decided to start our own critique group and we haven’t looked back. The writing community is surprisingly one of the most supportive groups I’ve ever witnessed. Becoming part of this writing family will help you write better, write longer, never give up writing until you finally write like the author you have always wanted to be.
Check Back Next Week for More!
Thank you so much for your wise words, Dianne. I love that you have a minimum daily word count of 250 words! I bet a lot of the time the words just flow on from there—and if they don’t, that’s okay, because at least you wrote a little bit.
I want to thank all my fabulous friends for sharing their insights with Blogging Story this month! I’m hoping to run a Part 2 to this series, so stay tuned for news on that. In the meantime, check back next week for your weekly post from Blogging Story. And don’t forget to leave comments for Dianne below!