Writing is a funny profession. I spend most of my time with different voices in my head or trying to understand intangibles like motivation, arcs, and dimensions. I don’t always understand it and the only rule that is absolute is “don’t be boring”. Those are the bullet points everyone talks about and I was prepared for.
What I wasn’t prepared for was how lonely writing can be. I spend a lot of time in my head, on a page or at a screen. When I have a real breakthrough after tackling a particularly sticky plot point, it’s a quiet victory. When I discover, to my horror, that the character I thought was integral to my story isn’t and have to slash pages and pages of hard work, it’s a solitary bereavement. And the day to day work of writing a chapter or editing a section can’t be shared with an officemate when your office is your home. The dog is silently non-committal.
It was only when I truly embraced the writing community in the blogosphere and on Twitter that I felt a little of that isolation was lifted. I have family and friends, but this was my tribe. And it never would have happened unless I got a piece of advice I hated.
Early on in my writing career, I was told by an agent I hoped would represent me that I needed an online presence. I loathed the idea of creating a Facebook profile, participating in Twitter or writing a blog. I’m a strange contradiction—a private extrovert. What could I put out there that wasn’t personal? How else did people gain followers if they weren’t willing to share everything from their breakfast order to the antics of a pet? I needed something I could write about those people—readers—would enjoy and I did, too.
Fairy tales were the natural extension of my writing, which was based on Mother Goose characters. I wanted to write about the relevancy (or lack thereof) of fairy tales in our modern lives. At first, it was a chore, but it came with an unexpected gain. I found readers and other writers. Explaining how I found the perfect twist to a plot in order to move my story along to family and friends who smiled and nodded but didn’t understand, I could share with other writers in similar situations.
If I had any advice to give new writers it’s to always write the story you’d like to see before you start editing and worrying about other people. But if I could give them a second piece of advice it would be to reach out to the writing community and share this weird and wonderful profession with people who get it.
I.L. Cruz decided to make writing her full-time career during the economic downturn in 2008.
Since then she’s used her BA in International Relations to sow political intrigue in her fantasy worlds and her MA in history to strive for the perfect prologue. When she’s not engaged in this mad profession she indulges her wanderlust as often as possible, watches too much sci-fi and reads until her eyes cross. She lives in Maryland with her husband, daughter and a sun-seeking supermutt named Dipper.
You can find her:
On Twitter @ILCruzWrites
On Goodreads I. L. Cruz
Her blog, Fairytale Feminista at https://fairytalefeminista.wordpress.com
Her website www.booksbyilcruz.com
And you can find her latest book on Amazon
As always, thank you so much for reading ❤