Today on Wanton Wednesdays I bring you the sweetest flower, the sexy story teller, the one... the only... The tempting Tara Rose
Things I Learned About Writing From The Wizard of Oz
While growing up, with less than half a dozen television channels from which to choose, we waited every March for the yearly broadcast of The Wizard of Oz. Those lucky enough to own a color TV got to see the second half in color. We had to use our imaginations until I was in junior high school.
But it didn’t matter. We adored that movie. From the fake tornado that didn’t blow the trees in the distance but neatly removed the frame from Dorothy’s window, to the Munchkins, and yes even the flying monkeys, we loved it all. I think I was the only kid in my school not afraid of those monkeys.
In fact, nothing in that movie frightened me. I thought it very clever, if a bit bizarre, and stuffed as full of powerful messages as the scarecrow was stuffed with straw. There are trinkets from the movie all over my writing room today, and I still watch it once a year on Blu-ray.
(1) There’s no place like home. Dorothy says it all through the movie. She wants to go home. And when you’re writing, you also have a home, even if you don’t recognize it as such. It’s your unique voice. It’s that place where, no matter what subject you’re writing about, or how many men your heroine is going to boink in this next erotic romance, you’re most comfortable. Everything fits together. It’s the passage you were meant to write, the perfect chapter ending, and the exact word count this particular book needs. It’s instinctive. You only have to be still and listen to the voice inside that leads you there. That leads you home.
(2) Not everything is as it seems. Just as Dorothy got the shock of her life when she realized she wasn’t in Kansas anymore, I’ve seen a lot of new authors become disillusioned when their first book didn’t earn them fame and glory. The publishing world isn’t what you think it is. So many authors think all they have to do is write the book, and the reviews, the sales, and the movie producers will come to them. The truth is that those best-selling authors you see on Facebook and Twitter, posting their latest rankings or glowing reviews, have been at this a very, very, very long time. They’ve put in their work already and they’re still working hard. All the time. They’ve sweated every submission, and they’ve watched their sales climb slowly over the years. Stop comparing yourself to anyone else. Their journey is not yours, so stop trying to walk it.
(3) That brings us to the next lesson learned. You’re going to have to cross the dark, scary forest to reach the castle. Dorothy and her three friends had no choice but to go through the forest. You have no choice, either. This is your journey. It’s your work that has to be done, at your pace, not someone else’s. Publishing is hard work. It’s a business, not a sorority or a popularity contest. This isn’t easy. You’ll need to grow thick skin and a spine. It’s important to learn your craft and keep learning it. This is not a one-time effort. It’s continuous. The day you think you’ve learned it all and have now arrived is the day you need to choose a new profession. The truth is that writing is lonely, disheartening, joyful, frustrating, hysterical, and enlightening…all within the same ten minutes. Get ready for the ride of your life, and be prepared to take the scary with the beautiful.
(4) Don’t be the wicked witch. This is the part where we talk about Karma, her big stick, and her all-seeing eye. The Golden Role applies here just as it does in any other endeavor. All those things you learned in kindergarten? Time to use them. Karma has a crystal ball, just like the witch of the west. And like the witch, she never, ever forgets. Do under others, play nice, and don’t stab anyone in the back on the way to the top of the bestsellers lists. You’ll have to crawl over them when you slide down, and they’re gonna be pissed off. It’s simple, really. Treat everyone the same, and use common sense and manners. Don’t spam them with promo, don’t send them endless invites to events or to like your pages, and don’t talk at them. Talk with them. Talk about them. Not only about you and your books. All that crap some bozo told you about building lists and sending out mass e-mails, invites, etc.? Toss that in the trash. That person is dead wrong. It’s social media, not promo media. Building up relationships in cyber space takes time, just as it does in real life. And don’t forget about fellow authors. They’re your readers, too. Don’t just suck up to readers and bloggers. Make friends with other authors as well because most of us pimp the heck out of people we love and admire.
(5) Rely on your friends. All of them. Including other authors. Why do I pimp certain authors and not others? Why do I have such a great rapport with certain bloggers and readers? Simple. We’re friends. Real friends. Oh, and I also happen to love the authors’ books. But those relationships took time to forge. They didn’t happen overnight. And I made plenty of mistakes along the way, just as we each do in real life. Friendship is a two-way street in cyber space, too. It’s worth it to take time to build those relationships, because you’re going to need your cyber friends when things get tough. And things will get tough. That’s called real life. And when I can help one of my friends through something? That’s a warm glow that a place on a bestselling list can never give me.
(6) Last but certainly not least…Enjoy the dream. Did you notice how Dorothy wasn’t upset when she realized she’d dreamed the entire thing? She didn’t start spouting about entitlement or restitution. She didn’t feel cheated. In fact, she believed in her heart it was real. I love that part. It’s my favorite. This young woman held onto her belief and refused to let it go, no matter what negativity was going on around her. That’s how I feel about my writing career. Has it all been rainbows and unicorns? No. Not even close. And guess what? It’s not that way for anyone else either, no matter what perception you may be left with from their posts on Facebook or Twitter. Writers have real lives. Most of us have other jobs. We have significant others and kids and dogs to take care of. We have friends and family in real life that have crises to deal with. We have bills to pay, and illnesses to fight. We’re human beings. The persona you see online isn’t necessarily the whole picture. But we keep forging ahead because this is our dream. This is what most of us have wanted since our earliest memories. This is our passion. We’d keep doing it even if we never got paid for it again.
The Wizard of Oz has been praised and criticized down through the ages. Both the book and the movie. Well, everyone has an opinion. And that’s fine. But I love the movie, and I hope you enjoyed my sharing a few of the things I’ve learned about writing from it.
My latest release is #15 in the Racy Nights series, Healing Her Racy Doctors. Nicole has been kind enough to let me share the buy link with you, so here it is.
And here is the link to my website where you can find everything else about me and all my books.
Thank you again for having me here today! Happy writing!! J