Thursday, October 18, 2007

Survival of the fittest

I've been reading Laura Resnick's book, Romance, Royalties and Rejections. Which I picked up because--lol, it had romance in the title, and I read her fantasy series. Turned out to be a collection of all her RWR articles and a few she'd done for a couple other trade journals.

Her insights on publishing blew me away. All the stuff that can and does go wrong--after you publish, before you publish--while you publish. It's freaking scary and makes me wonder why the hell I keep trying. Like walking a tightrope that wobbles in the breeze.

Same time, I've been reading Gaspard's Cheap, Fast and Written that way, a new screenwriting book.

Which, other than being inspirational, was also scary as all hell. And I started thinking about the writing process.

I never tell people I'm a trainer. When people ask me, I usually say I flip burgers for a living. It gets people off my back and they go away shaking their head. Since my transfer, I've been spending a lot of time with people I originally trained to go forth and multiply. And it never ceases to amaze me how everything I taught these people stuck.

I'm also spending a lot of time with people whose trainers I know.

It's a small world. And at a certain level, we all know each other.

Don't get me wrong. I agree that training is important, and needs to hit all the bases. But in my case, the ends justifies the means.

When someone leaves me, I know no matter what, this person will be able to think his way through a problem, get a desired result, and be able to a) work within the team and b)yet have enough of a skill-set to be the team if that's what it takes.

How does this relate to writing? Hey. Writing is a process whose end result is a book. How you get there doesn't matter. What matters is the willingness to learn, a helping hand to keep you on track while you learn, and someone with enough of a "let them crash and burn" attitude to let you fall and--while you fall--learn the process.

Trainers have two requirements. Self knowledge and lack of pity. You got to know yourself before you can teach, and you can't be feeling sorry for people. Sorry is an enabler. Sorry enables people to say, I can't.

No is an empower-er. Once you say, this is what I think, look at this, work it through in your head and come to terms with it, and step back--you empower people to commit processes to memory. It becomes part of their skill-set. Next situation that comes up, there is a learned response.

Writing is the same way. Once the process is internalized, once you think it through and form memory strings, the process becomes the tool it was meant to be. *sigh* Maybe I don't have enough chocolate. I'm thinking too hard.


Jennifer McKenzie said...

I think you've got it right. And that's the problem with books (or workshops or discussions) about "the biz". It can be VERY scary.
It's like stories about Labor. Have you ever noticed how people tell their horror labor stories? "And I was in labor for 28 hours with no pain meds...." Ugh!!!
Eat some chocolate and get back to DDG. I want to read it. Pllllleeeeeaaaaassssseeeeeeeee?

jodi said...

lol--I should post some of it. It's going somewhere strange.