Thursday, August 7

Brave Passion

 This past weekend, I attended the Willamette Writer’s Conference. And while there was a lot of learning, I heard two messages that resonated deeply.

Write bravely and edit meekly.

This was said by one Benjamin Gorman. And what he meant—or at least what I got out of what he said—Is that your first draft is for writing with careless abandon. Just get it down. Be brave by letting the words flow without sensor.

The time to be meek is in your edit—that’s when your wild tangents are to be tamed and cut back. That is the time to reconsider your words.

Write your passion.

You can’t predict what will be popular when you finish your manuscript, so write the story you want to read. The story ONLY you can write.

When Susanne Collins wrote The Hunger Games, dystopian was barely on the writer’s map. The year before The Hunger Games was published; the big books were Eclipse, Harry Potter #7, City of Ashes, and The Book Thief. No dystopia on the list that I found of the top 100 books.

Since the success of The Hunger Games, dystopia books have glutted the market so that nobody wants them anymore. Kind of like what happened after Twilight and vampires.

So, the lesson to this is—go with your own gut, don’t follow the market, because the market is a fluid entity, changing with the winds of life. But like fashion, it is also a rotation cycle.

 Sure, dystopia and vampires seem to be dying out—but chances are, they’ll be back. May not be today, tomorrow, or this week. But they will be back and if you’re working on one, it will be ready when the market comes back around—even if you have to sit on it for a while.

Write bravely and follow your passion.

What more could we ask for?


  1. I love this. If we could all always remember it...

    1. Yep. I wrote it down on my white board in my office :) And I was so glad I went to Ben's two workshops. They were my last two on Sunday and the best.

  2. Replies
    1. Plus--I think you are a great example of writing your passion. You stuck with cowboys even after agents and others told you it wouldn't sell or work. And voila--you have a career.

    2. Loved this post, Margie! Good advice. Sounds like a great workshop.

    3. Thanks Shawn. It was a good one.

  3. Really something to think about, Margie. I think I'll make a little sign of it and post it on my mirror : )
    Thank you.

    1. I'm going to have to train myself. Today,after I posted this, I went to write. I was going pretty good when I came to a love scene between two girls and I thought, "How much do I want to put in this? Maybe I should check out some other YA's that have a romantic scene with girls." And I stopped writing to do the research.

      When I got in my car, I did the V8 head slap. "Write Bravely" I should've just finished the scene to my comfort level and moved onto the next scene.

      So, good luck, Sia, it may take a while to stop that inner editor who wants to but in and stop you :)

  4. One of my favorite feelings - ever - is the post-writers-conference feeling. Energized and excited and a little humbled but more, confident. It's amazing. So glad you had a great time and that you came away from it with new tools and ideas, Margie. :D

    1. Exactly. It is so cool to hang with other writers and compare journeys--