TW: This is going to be touchy topic as it goes towards intellectual property, ideas, and when each are relevant. -JBH
Ideas are precious commodities.
The one thing I must leave you with as we end this month is to guard your ideas. Read it again: guard your ideas. Aside from time wasted, the next worst thing that can happen to a writer is to lose an idea. Not from the laziness that all writers have when we don’t write something down–but someone taking your idea that you never wrote down or saved.
That kind of loss is common, whispered about, and is completely unnecessary.
In the age of smartphones, consider this an extension of your imagination (because it is!). Ideas have time and date stamped on/in Notes app on iPhones. And recently? I found lots of work on my phone, completely forgetting when I wrote anything.
Aside from the steady reminder that you all have from me this month about saving your work in two places, I want you to be mindful of who you share your ideas with–especially if there is no copyright added to them!
The thing is: if you tell and idea and someone else grabs in and runs with it? You have to own that too. Not everyone in writer circles are honest!
Losses for a writer can snowball quickly: guard your work, save your work, and be mindful of who you share things with. You’ll thank me later.
When the writing is hard, the writing is hard. That is the only way I can explain it. When it’s hard…concrete feels softer.
And with that in mind, when writing is hard, time will either creep by, speed up, or you will avoid it (I don’t make the rules, I am just here to help). And the only way to get through the hard writing is…writing.
Time is never on your side when the writing it hard–and you will never have enough of it. And when it is lost, you cannot get it back.
Stepping away is always a good thing–I am in favor of natural light, and walking around as a cure to unlock those ‘hard parts’ of writing. But there is a difference between taking a break and active avoidance! It’s never going to get better by avoiding it. I promise you.
Loss writing time + hard writing= more lost time.
There is nothing so frustrating as a writer who can’t write…because they can’t write.
The nature of the beast is always soothed by time.
I want to make confession to you. I am…behind. Like I am really, really behind. There are so many things I need to write, haven’t written, and forgot to write about. And honestly? It feels like homework.
And I hated homework.
Yet, rather than seeing something like that as if it were a job for Sisyphus, I am doing the next best thing. I am doing what I can, and scheduling out the rest.
I am not giving up. I am reassessing.
My gentle suggestion to you all today is the same–reassess, don’t quit.
The most crucial thing you can do is this: finish.
Neil Gaiman tells us in his MasterClass that writers should not get in the habit of abandoning projects completely. Will there be times that you will have to come back to the work? Yes. But, you must come back to the work.
Finish things (even if you think they are ‘bad’), so you can write other things. Better things even.
As we go forward in this particular series, I must stress to you all that every writer has a horror story about story they lost, a draft they couldn’t find or an idea they believe someone stole from them (sometimes that last part is more accurate than you think!). But for this section, let is concentrate on lost work.
I was working on a sequel to my novel RUBY (currently on Amazon! Kinda proud of that!), on Isabella. That is the name of the computer my husband (now ex-husband) got me for Christmas. I had been in the habit of saving my work in two places since my Junior year of college, but since this was a new computer? I didn’t back anything up.
I didn’t think I needed to!
When the computer gave me the update notification, I knew I saved the work, so I proceeded with the update. And what happened next had me crying on the floor with all of my 35+ year old self. The update called my computer to crash.
CRASHED. I screamed and cried and called my sister in a panic. After pulling myself together an hour plus later, I took Isabella to the Windows store. Two days later they rescued almost everything on it (YAY!) except my novel–with 3 chapters of my book.
Now, in owning that this was my fault (not the crash, but the not saving of my work!), here is what I should have done:
1.) Save the work to a jump drive or Cloud.
2.) Invest in Google Dropbox and put all information there.
3.) If nothing else, get a dump email account to just put all my WIP’s there.
This would have saved me 60 minutes of freaking out and I would have finished that book.
I’m still mad about it. Don’t be like me. Save your work.