It’s the sixth day of Jeff Goins’ 15 Habits of Great Writers Challenge. Yesterday was all about preparation. I didn’t blog about it because I was busy with the dentist and mouth pain. I don’t like going to the dentist. Those masks and that drill *shudders at memory* I end up passing out early on the days I visit the dentist, too exhausted and freaked out to stay conscious any longer.
Back to the point though.
Day five was all about preparation.
Here’s what you need to do:
1. Ship something. Anything. It doesn’t matter how bad it is, just put
it out there.
2. Get feedback. If this is an eBook or article idea, even a book
proposal, one way you can do this is ask readers, friends, or fans to
proofread something you’re working on. Send it to them, give them
a deadline, and ask for brutally honest critiques.
3. Make it better. Trust your heart and intuition, but also apply
some of the feedback you received.
4. Repeat until the project is ready to launch.
The challenge? Number one: Ship something.
In just a couple of days, I will be putting the first chapter of my still-not-quite-titled-though-I’ve-tried-a-few book up for critique in a group I joined recently. Even though I’ve run it through a round of edits, I know it needs work. But I’m shipping it. And I’m expecting the kind of feedback that will both thrill me and have me convinced I should just set fire to the damned thing. To say I’m nervous would be an understatement. But I’m doing it. I want this book to be the best it can be before I even think about querying. Even if that means I take several more months of tweaking what needs tweaked and flat out rewriting in places. I’m too close though, so I’m shipping it. And getting feedback. I think I might hyperventilate…
Okay. Better now.
Day six is about stealing. That’s right!
Find a quote or a painting or some form of inspiration — and steal it.
Make it your own. Attribute it — give credit where it’s due — but
don’t be afraid to use it. Let someone else’s work springboard you
into your own.
Give up on your pursuit of originality and genius and just find
something that inspires you. Borrow from your friends and heroes
and mash it all up into something that looks, feels, and sounds like
You’ve heard of Austin Kleon, right? He’s an artist and a writer and is famous for his unusual style of poetry: Newspaper Blackout Poetry.
But he’s doing it in a way that makes it his own. Those words were put there by other people, but he made them his by blocking out other words to create beautiful art and poetry. It is unmistakably his.
Have I stolen? You bet your sweet-buns I have. Both of my WIPs are a hodgepodge of stolen inspiration. I’ve taken from Rachel Caine, Robert Jordon and Brandon Sanderson, George R.R. Martin, James R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, Norse mythology, doctors, family, strangers, and life. And that’s just for these two WIPs. I’ve got an assortment of ideas written down for stories that came to me from stealing inspiration from people I follow on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.
I’m going to give you one snippet of my stolen inspiration: Wargs. Thank you George R.R. Martin, James R.R. Tolkien, and Norse Mythology for the inspiration to make them my own=)
What about you? How do you prepare? What inspiration have you stolen?