Control, plans and other wafflings

In a fit of organisation I decided I need to blog here a little more regularly. Or at least that’s the plan. And get some more guests as Sarah was so awesome. (Anyone wanna guestblog?) And in the spirit of that decision, I thought I’d actually write about writing. Not just craft, although there will surely be some of that, but also about my writing life, the things that impact me and don’t and hopefully some of it will be helpful.

And if it isn’t helpful hopefully I’ll make you laugh. At me.

Oh dear, I’m not sure this is working out the way I planned.

I’m pretty sure someone else did a post similar to this recently but I can’t for the life of me find it. If I didn’t dream it (entirely possible) I will be happy to link back if anyone can identify it for me. But here’s my take on Control, anyway.

A writer friend of mine emailed the other day to let me know that due to a conversation a few of us had been having via email she had experienced something of an epiphany.

“I’ve been stressing for a year and a half over things I can’t control.”

My first response was: “Aren’t we all.”

Which led to my second: “WHY do we put ourselves through that?”

I mean, when pressed we actively acknowledge that we have no control over these things and yet we still do it.

Of course I’m not talking about phobias and nightmares, though these aren’t things we can control either. They don’t seem to stress us once the terror has passed. Ever tried controlling a wasp – not possible, not even with telepathy! Believe me, I’ve tried. No matter how hard I chant goawaygoawaygoaway in my head, they still gravitate to me in the way wasps do to a spheksophobic (yes, its a real word for someone with wasp-a-phobia!)

Things we can control can be dealt with. And once we do something about them they aren’t so scary anymore.

As a writer, I can’t control contracts, sales, reviews or lack thereof, or whether someone likes or dislikes my writing. I can’t control pirate copies. I could go insane trying, very quickly I think. (Speaking of which read Bree’s post on piracy at Moira Rogers – it sums up my feelings far better than I ever could. – oh yes, I could find that post, but not the one I was looking for.)  I can’t control whether the person I emailed my manuscript to reads it today, tomorrow, next week or next month.

And I can’t control what anyone thinks of me or my book. Full stop.

(or can I? For the sake of experimentation *buymybooksbuymybooksbuymybooks*)


Where does that leave me? With what I CAN control.

And those things I CAN control, can actually help towards those things I can’t.

As a writer I can write the best stories I possibly can. I can work on my craft and makes those stories shine like a shiny thing in the midday sun. I can follow guidelines when I submit things (shocking, I know). I can double check people’s names so I’m not writing a letter or an email to Mr. Janice Smith who works at another publishing house/agency now. I can act in a professional manner. (I can! Honest!).

The best thing to help sales? A good book, followed by another good book. Rince, lather, repeat.

The best thing to help reviews? See above.

The best thing to help me, the writer – loving what I am doing.

I truly love to write. I love to create worlds that I can open up to others and say ‘come on in and have a look around’.  Even when I decide I need a break, take some time off, read, and generally lounge about (ha! you know I have a full time job and kids, right?)… I last about a week before I have to start writing again. It’s just too much fun.

And in the end the only thing I can control is my writing and the way in which I present it to the world.

And maybe wasps. one day. If I find that meteorite that crashed into Ireland last night and get my superpowers…

8 thoughts on “Control, plans and other wafflings

  1. Awesome post! You know I feel 100% the same way…(Well no I do, after yesterday’s meltdown!) LOL

    We need to remember that writing a good book is what it’s all about. The rest is icing. Mmmm…icing…..

  2. d00d, I was with you. Then she said icing and I have no idea what I was going to say.

    Maybe we just need to blog cupcake photos. That’d be good, right?

    PS. Loving writing IS key. It’s something I lost at some point last year, and it sucks all energy with it. Now, though…I’m starting to remember why I love it. The neat twists and turns. And amazingly enough…none of the reasons I love writing are reasons in someone else’s control. (Oh, sure, I love the feel of selling a book, but…that’s not WRITING, that’s business!)

    oy. I could do a whole nother blog post here just agreeing with you. Where’s that icing?

  3. You mean…chanting in your head doesn’t work?? I’ve wasted YEARS of my life! Noooooooooooo!


    Nicely done, lady. You’re absolutely right, of course.

  4. I’m still going to keep chanting, if only to keep the other voices in my head at bay. 😉

    Seriously, this was a really good topic, and everyone covers it in their own unique way. Of course, you’re right – the only thing we can really control, as writers, is the writing. Sometimes we forget that part, and then the stress weasels its way into our heads and hearts and…


    I’m working on a story right now, and this is a good reminder for me to have. No matter what, I can control how this tale develops, how realistic it is, and ultimately how good – no, GREAT it will be.

    🙂 Thanks!

  5. Yep, you’re right. Wouldn’t it be nice now if you could flip a switch and stop worrying about everythying else;D.

    Now, back to revisions; something I can actually control (more or less)…

Comments are closed.