Speedy Gonzales Syndrome

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My daddy’s parents came to the US from Mexico in 1908. They worked hard, studied hard, and became US citizens. Their descendants went on to become professionals, holding prestigious jobs in business and government. But it took my Tia Gracia, my Aunt Grace, decades to pass her citizenship test. She was almost 100 years old when she became a US citizen.

In my writer’s group some people are more prolific. They can finish a month’s worth of content while I’m constructing my first draft.

perky mouse rat
Courtesy of AKARAKINGDOMS @ freeigitalphotos.net.

It’s like watching Speedy Gonzales zip by, leaving me in a cloud of dust…and discouragement.

Anybody else been there? Feeling intimidated? Like you’re not as good?

We have two options:
A) Make excuses for why they’re so much better.
or
B) Ask them for tips, and apply what we learn.

Hint: option B produces the best results. However, if you choose option A, bring a box of chocolates to my house and we’ll host a pity party together.

Here are a few ideas to help push through:

1) Identify the problem. Ask yourself, “What’s making this so difficult? Lack of resources? Lack of time? Fear of failure? Confusion? Vampire bats gnawing on your ankles? Once you define the hold-up…

2) Reach out for the solution. Use your life lines: Mentors, writer’s group, google, self-help books, and genies in lamps.

3) Address the priority items. Connecting with fans on your author’s Facebook page is great, but do it after you finish the guest blog due tomorrow.

4) Drown out distractions. Ignore email, the ringing phone, tweets, and the circus performers jumping through flaming hoops on your front lawn.

To stay on track ask,

“Is what I’m doing moving me toward my goal, or away from it?”

If you’ve hit a plateau, go back to number one to determine the hold-up.

If you’re moving forward, please stop beating yourself up.

Comparing ourselves to others is a sure way to lose heart, lose focus, and lose momentum.

My aunt Grace could have said, “I’m an old lady. It’s too hard to become a citizen now.” But she didn’t give up, and neither should we.

turtle crossing finish line
courtesy of digitalart @freedigitalphotos.net

We might not be a Speedy Gonzales, but remember, the tortoise still won the race against the hare.

Now on to

Jeanie’s Super-Secret Newbie No-No’s

man working laptop quiet whisper finger
Photo courtesy of graur razvan ionut @ freedigitalphotos.net
To recap what we’ve learned so far:
Week 1- Exclamation marks scream, “Newbie!”
Week 2- Annihilate Adverbs.
Week 3- Eradicate empty words. Really just skip them. I’m very serious.
Week 4- Use “Invisible” Words: said, ask, answer, and reply.
Week 5- Run off Run-On Sentences
Week 6- Clear out Clichés
Week 7- Pass on Passive Voice
This week-

Eliminate Empty Adjectives.

Mark Twain wrote, “When you catch an adjective, kill it. No, I don’t mean utterly, but kill most of them–then the rest will be valuable. They weaken when they are close together. They give strength when they are far apart.”When editor Lee Warren critiqued the first chapter of my novel, he explained the weakness of empty adjectives. And used up an entire ink cartridge highlighting mine.

“Big” is imprecise. How big? The size of a bus? A skyscraper? A planet?

Lee noted there’s nothing special about a “blue car.” (Although an orange one might be interesting enough to pass inspection.)

Most new writers don’t realize that editors love sharp, concise writing. When they see fluffy modifiers they send Mark Twain’s ghost to scare the empty adjectives out of your submission. Since ghost writers can cost a fortune, take all the big, pretty adjectives out yourself.

Since we all need to move forward, my Current Lofty Goal (AKA something I need to do, but tend to put off) Finish out NaNoWriMo, writing a 50,000 word novel during the month of November.

What challenges do you face in your writing life? We at Wordsowers want to help. Connect with us here or on our Facebook page.

Great news: sign up for our free monthly newsletter to get help delivered straight to your inbox. It’s easy–the button is on the right side of this page, near the top.

Jeanie Jacobson

Jeanie Jacobson

Jeanie Jacobson is on the leadership team of Wordsowers Christian Writers Group. Her book, Fast Fixes for the Christian Packrat, is available on Amazon. She’s also published in “Focus on the Family”and “LIVE” magazines, many Chicken Soup for the Soul releases, and Bethany House compilations. Jeanie teaches workshops geared toward helping new writers, and is working on a Christian-slanted YA fantasy novel. Connect with her at jeaniejacobson.com
Jeanie Jacobson

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