Thursday, April 4, 2013

Unlocking Your Writing Potential


Stephanie here. I'm so excited to have Laura L. Smith here today! Laura has judged Go Teen Writers contests before and she's a fellow Playlist Young Adult Fiction author. Her new book, It's Complicated, released on Monday, and it's a steal on Amazon for $4.99 or you can find it on Smashwords if you have a different type of ereader.

Welcome, Laura!
Unlocking Potential
by Laura L. Smith

I recently went to see Snow Patrol play at a dated club in Cincinnati that holds about 1000 people. Let’s just say the last time I’d been to Bogart’s was when I was in college, and my friends and I were jamming to Royal Crescent Mob.

The place hadn’t changed a bit – not even the sticky concrete floors or the stench of stale beer or the dated wood paneling.

Half way through the show the band played their song, “Run”, and at the chorus the entire audience began chanting along with the lead singer, Gary Lightbody, “Light up light up as if you have a choice  - even if you cannot hear my voice.” Bogart’s echoed with the inspiring lyrics. Goosebumps ran up my arms. For a moment, everybody in the crowded club shared something. From the stage I could see Lightbody’s eyes well up with tears. He drew his hand to his chest and at the end of the chorus shouted, “Bless your hearts.”



This is a band who has recorded and released five albums. This is the band who opened for U2 in their last tour, playing for stadiums full of tens of thousands of people, but that night, at a teeny, grungy club in Southern Ohio they were reminded they had potential. People identified with their music, sang their songs.

Potential. We all have it. We just need to be reminded every now and then.

No matter where you are in the pursuit of your writing dreams—sketching out your first draft or submitting your finished manuscript to agents and publishers, there will be days of discouragement, “no’s”, dings, bad reviews and doors slammed faces. It happens to all of us. All the time. But one fan singing along is all it takes to keep us going.

So, let me be your fan today. Let me tell you that if you are here, reading this, there must be a spark within you somewhere calling you to write. You have a story to tell. Share it with the world.

You have the choice to write or not today. Choose yes. Light the world up with your words. You are all full of writing potential just itching to be tapped into. Jot down a few words, a scene, a line of a poem, a chapter, a chorus, a character sketch. Let the world hear your voice.

You are full of potential.

“You are lucky to be one of those people who wishes to build sand castles with words, who is willing to create a place where your imagination can wander.” Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird

What will you vow to write today?

51 comments:

  1. Thanks for the post. The writing life is definitely an emotional rollar coaster ride, and Anne Lamott describes it wonderfully in Bird by Bird.

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    1. A roller coaster - so you need to celebrate and remember the highs, because they do outweigh the lows. And, yes, I love Anne LaMott!

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  2. How did you know that exactly today I couldn't find the words I wanted to write?
    Thank you for this inspiring post!

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    1. I didn't, but God did. Glad they hit where they needed to. Keep writing, girl. Keep writing.

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  3. Beautiful post, Laura. Thanks so much!

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    1. Thanks, Roseanna! We all need a little inspiration. Me included!

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  4. Laura, now I'm all smiley and ready to go finish a novel or two. This was exactly the post I needed to see to get through Camp NaNoWriMo today.
    ~Sarah Faulkner

    www.inklinedwriters.blogspot.com

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  5. Thank you so much for this post, Laura! You've encouraged me quite a bit and reminded me why I'm pursuing a writing career. God bless!

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    1. So glad, Rosie. We all need reminders. But, God has given us gifts and wants us to use them to glorify Him. Keep pursuing!

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  6. Wonderful post Laura! Did definately encourage me to make sure I finish the chapter I'm currently writing, thank you!

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    1. Thanks, Arlette. Would love to hear what you're writing.

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  7. Beautiful words full of grace. . . not surprising since every word you speak and write is graceful, elegant and hope-filled. I love seeing the vulnerable part of the creative life through your eyes and being reminded that all artists are the same. We're all trying to create beauty as we see it. We want the world to see what we see and it amazes us when the world feels it and sends it back to us. What an amazing life we have.

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    1. The creative life is brimming with vulnerability. Perhaps us creatives feel more deeply, the pain, the ache, the joy the elation, all of it. You create so much beauty, with each word you write. Amazing indeed, my friend.

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    2. That's really interesting...I've been told I'm really empathetic, and I believe it. I feel stuff that I know others are feeling all the time, very deeply.

      So, hmm...I know that helps me with my stories, as well. :)

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    3. Empathy is a writer's tool, for sure. We need to be able to peek into other's minds and hearts and lives and stories and truly feel what they feel.

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  8. Thank you! I have quite a sad scene to write today... have been putting it off. But it's either that or history homework, and since that's a biography of Hitler... well, you get the picture. I'd rather spend time with my MC. Now off to write! x

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    1. Sad and painful scenes are hard to write. My new book, It's Complicated has some that were so difficult for me, I had to remind myself I was writing with a purpose, to help those who had gone through similar pain. That motivated me to keep going. And yes, anything is better than Hitler. Easy decision.

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  9. Laura, thank you SO much for this very inspiring post! I'm going to make more time today. I'm close to finishing my novel.


    ~Bethany

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    1. If you're close, there's even more reason to keep going. What's your novel about?

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    2. I agree! :) I'm determined to finish it this month. Here's the back cover copy I wrote for it a few months ago.

      The Prince's Quest - Living as Crown Prince of Linaeus isn’t so bad. Elric can live with the whispers behind his back, and the obvious dislike the servants hold for him. But, without warning, his situation changes when King Rath decides to test his son’s loyalty, and see if he really can be a great king one day.
      Elric is on a quest, a quest he would rather avoid. Someone in the small village of Redge is publishing false information about the king. It’s Elric’s job to find the perpetrator and bring him- and anyone involved- to justice.
      The prince is plunged into a moral dilemma as he evades bandits intent on his capture, searches for truth, and meets a girl who could change his view on everything.
      Life is filled with choices. The problem is, making the right one.

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    3. LOVE the back cover copy, and love anything dealing with royalty. Can't wait to read it when you publish!

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    4. This looks really good! Please finish this; can't wait to see it published!

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    5. Aw, thanks guys! I really appreciate your support! <3 :)

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  11. I'm not sure if I'll write today, I haven't written since Saturday, I'm so tired and haven't felt like it. I haven't been able to figure out if I've been pushing too hard to write and have burnt out needing a break or if its the story that I'm writing? *sigh* a bit of both, maybe?

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    1. Even when you don't feel like writing: just try to do it! Maybe, after a short break perhaps, you read your story again and think: I really want to add this or that.

      Give yourself and your story a change!

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    2. Tonya, I agree with Arende. Sometimes I need to take a walk or a run or bake cookies or let my mind play a bit, and then I'm ready to jump back again. Sometimes it's better to write something, even if it doesn't flow or sing, just to make progress. You can always go back later and edit.

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  12. I'm pretty sure I was crying by the end of this. Not only do I love Snow Patrol, but the hope in this was beautiful. Always working on believing in myself, telling myself I can do this.

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    1. Wow. Thanks, Sarah. I love Snow Patrol too. They're music pulls at my heart. You are capable. You are beautiful. You can do this.

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    1. Oh, and random thought...how's this "pitch sentence" for my current WIP?

      "After she moves to a new neighborhood and is rejected by the girls there, a bitter teenage homeschooler must prove that everyone is different and forgive others in order to find a friend."

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    2. I like it! The wording is a little confusing though. I had to read it a couple times because at first I thought she was proving this whole thing: "everyone is different and forgive others in order to find a friend" and then I realized that they were two separate ideas. So maybe fix that?

      Why/how is she proving everyone is different? That sounds interesting :)

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    3. Oh, thanks! Glad to know that confused someone...I should fix that :)

      As for why...she's been called different her whole life, and so have others she knows and she's tired of it. As for how, she's starting a project to tell people's stories...and that's all I'll say. ;)

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    4. Here we go--I fixed it. How's this? (I know, it's a bit long. I may change it again eventually.)

      "After she moves to a new neighborhood and is rejected by the girls there, a bitter teenage homeschooler must prove that everyone is different and also learn to forgive others in order to find a friend."

      Also, if you click the link on my name, it'll bring you to the blog for my book. :) There's more stuff about it there!

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  14. What a great reminder. Thank you! As a college student majoring in English/Creative Writing, I often get discouraged after a tough critique. But I know this is what God is calling me to do, so I keep going, knowing that He has a purpose for my writing :)

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    1. Anna, I get bad reviews mixed in with the good all the time. Stick with the path God has set out for you. He will work great things through you.

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  15. Thank you for these great reminders & sweet words...really needed to hear it today, Laura. <3

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    1. You are very welcome. Glad it hit where it was supposed to :) Now the goal is to remember it today and tomorrow and the day after that. You are full of potential!

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  16. My latest novel I started, I asked God to guide the theme in it because I knew it was an important one that could be taken the wrong way. I didn't know that he was going to bring my character's struggles to me in reality.
    It's a freaky thing when I realized that the book, poem, and painting that I was working on separately all dealt with the same thing that I was going through in my life.
    I know that if I push myself to finish this book, it will impact people, but it will push me to my limit as well. But, I guess that's what God had planned when I first asked him about it.

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    1. His plans are so amazing and intricate (check out Ephesians 1 to see how much a part of His plan you are :))

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    2. From Amo Libros:
      Don't hesitate, Alyson. God knows His plans for you. And don't forget: we're all here for you as well!

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  17. That was beautiful, Laura! Thanks so much. :-)

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    1. It's always a treat to be on GTW. Thanks for hosting me, Jill.

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  18. That was amazing, Laura. I really needed this too. Thank you so much! Your books sound really interesting. I think I'll check them out when I have time.

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    1. Thanks, Katia. They're all about and for young women and the issues they deal with. Have a great weekend :)

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  19. Thanks so much, Laura. This post was really inspiring, and I'm working on a big rewrite right now, so it gave me just the strength I needed :)

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    1. Keep working at it, Britt. You can do this. And I'm working on edits, so I get it :)

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  20. THANKS YOU!!!! I needed this so badly!! Ever since my rough draft tanked last summer, I've been going through this writer-identity-crisis thing (yes, I know I am the only one who would be horrified at not getting my first ever proper first draft the way I wanted it). This post means so much to me!!! Thank you!!
    And thank you to Ms. Morrill, and Ms. Williamson, and everyone on here! Having GTW to hold onto has meant so much to me!!!

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    1. I'm doing about the zillionth round of edits on my newest novel right now. No one's rough draft is ever pretty. It's just a means to get ideas down. It's a refining process, dear. Don't give up. Remember each change and edit makes it better and stronger. :)

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