Christina Hollis | Finding A Balance Between Self Absorption And Self Obsession...
November 23, 2011
A world famous author stood in front of a freshman class, smiling at all those
'You all want to be writers?' He asked. His audience nodded vigorously.
'So what are you doing here, listening to me? You should be back at home,
That story gives a bit of an extreme view, but it highlights something with
which everyone can identify. We all flock to courses and seminars, hoping to get
insights into the art and craft of writing, and love to hear success stories
about how our writing heroes and heroines were catapulted from obscurity to the
sunlit uplands of literary success. It's so much easier to sit and be
entertained than it is to actually get down to the hard work of writing, isn't
'The tyranny of the blank page' is a great name for something that affects us
all. Feeling self conscious about pinning our dreams down on paper is something
writers have to live with. The most important thing is to start - keep a
notebook handy wherever you go, and write down every idea as it strikes. It
will form a well of inspiration for you to draw on whenever you like. Actually
opening a new file and typing those first few words is a pleasure when you got
that security behind you.
It's a great feeling when your mind (and your notebook) is so full you can't
wait to start typing. Then you might well find you get so wrapped up in your
work you don't know when to stop. That's when a blessing can become a curse.
It's a good idea to polish your work until it gleams - you want to see your
spirit in it, not your fingerprints - but unless you have no interest in
publication, there comes a time when you must harden your heart and send your
baby out into the big wide world. Getting a Beta read will stop you getting
bogged down in too much perfectionism. Start small, by handing it over to a
friend who can be trusted to give you an honest opinion. Unthinking flattery
won't do you, or your potential readership, any favours. Constructive criticism
is what you're after. You need a person who can tell you what they liked about
your work, and tactfully suggest how you can make the rest of your manuscript
even better. In the long run, they're a better friend than someone who only
tells you what you want to hear. Now everyone is an e-publisher, the best way to
make your work stand out from the crowd is to aim for perfection.
That's the ideal - but take care you don't go to the other extreme, and become
obsessed with rewriting. The joy of writing is that it's an outlet for your
creativity, not a treadmill.
What's the most useful piece of advice on writing that you've been given?
There will be a special giveaway of a signed book from my backlist awarded at
random to one person who leaves a comment.
Readers can find me all these places on the web:
Website * Twitter * Facebook * Blog * Tumbler
About WEIGHT OF THE
Now duty is his only
For notorious playboy Prince Lysander Kahani, playtime is over... Left with a
country to run, he draws the line at playing nanny to his orphaned nephew!
Instead he sends for a professional. But one glance at buttoned-up Alyssa Dene
and Lysander's wicked side re-emerges! Wary of Lysander's scandalous reputation,
Alyssa tries to keep her distance, but Lysander draws her like a moth to a
Lysander is fighting a battle between public duty and private desire but
Lysander is determined to make Alyssa a royal offer she won't refuse...
Buy links for WEIGHT
OF THE CROWN.
and Boon Aust
56 comments posted.
Re: Christina Hollis | Finding A Balance Between Self Absorption And Self Obsession...
This looks like a great book. Thanks for the opportunity to possibly win it! Happy Thanksgiving!
(Barbara Battaglia 2:50am November 23, 2011)
Hi Barbara - thanks for commenting, and a Happy Thanksgiving to you, too.
Enjoy the holiday!
(Christina Hollis 5:43am November 23, 2011)
When I was honored to proof read a book for an author friend, she said that I use too many commas.
(Marjorie Carmony 6:08am November 23, 2011)
Great book! Happy Turkey Day to everyone!!!
(Cate Sparks 6:34am November 23, 2011)
Thanks, Marjorie. I use a lot of commas, too. It's because I tend to write long
sentences. Some authors use short sentences. That way you don't need so many
(Christina Hollis 6:43am November 23, 2011)
Hi Cate - thanks for commenting. Here in the UK we have to wait another month
for our big Turkey Day! :(
(Christina Hollis 6:44am November 23, 2011)
I am not a writer but I remember that my english teacher always say to just keep writing no matter what and it'll come....
(May Pau 8:29am November 23, 2011)
Would be great to win this book!
(Paula Carlson 8:36am November 23, 2011)
Funny, I was told once that I had a comma addiction. :^) I think though that the best advice I ever got is to just keep writing, Don't get bogged down in "what will others think of me?" or "what if no one likes this?" Just write, write on notebooks, napkins, old envelopes, anything in front of you and don't take yourself so darn seriously, and it just might be fun.
Happy thanksgiving everyone.
(Heidi Durham 9:08am November 23, 2011)
Hi May, that's very good advice. It's much easier to go back and edit written
words than to get started with a blank sheet, so don't worry about content to
begin with so much as letting the words flow. There's plenty of time for
(Christina Hollis 9:15am November 23, 2011)
Good luck, Paula!
(Christina Hollis 9:16am November 23, 2011)
Thanks for commenting, Heidi. Yes, writing should be fun - or at the very least,
something we can look back on with a sense of achievement.
(Christina Hollis 9:17am November 23, 2011)
Just write! I am a teacher of writing, and did not believe the professor until she had us writing a page a day. Not much I admit, but over the course of the semester, I actually felt my writing getting better. To that end, I have my students write daily. They are suprised at the end of the semester when I present them with samples of the writing at the beginning and end then ask them to write about how their writing changed. Almost every one of them will say something to the effect of "thank you for making me do what I did not want to do because my writing is so much better." The proof is in the pudding!
(Renee Brown 10:47am November 23, 2011)
Ill bet there is a beautiful young woman under that buttoned up outfit. This would be a fun book to read. Also, I loved your comments. Have a happy Thanksgiving.
(Anna Speed 11:54am November 23, 2011)
I am not a writer, but I try to take things one step at a time... Hoping everyone has an enjoyable Thanksgiving!
(Colleen Conklin 12:05pm November 23, 2011)
Your book sounds great. I would LOVE to be a winner. But I'll definitely llok for it whether or not I win. Happy Thanksgiving.
(Nancy Reynolds 12:06pm November 23, 2011)
Hi Renee, thanks for commenting. Writing is as much a skill as anything else.
Like athletics or singing, the more you do, the more you learn and the better you
(Christina Hollis 12:17pm November 23, 2011)
Hi Anna, thanks for commenting. It's great to hear from you!
(Christina Hollis 12:18pm November 23, 2011)
Hi, Colleen - 'chunking it down' is a recognised way of approaching big projects
(whether writing based or not) and it works really well. Wishing you a Happy
(Christina Hollis 12:21pm November 23, 2011)
Hi Nancy, have a great Thanksgiving, and good luck in the draw!
(Christina Hollis 12:23pm November 23, 2011)
Sounds like a great book!
(Cheryl McEwen 12:53pm November 23, 2011)
When I was in school, one of my teachers told me that I had what it took to become a writer, and should continue on with my talent. I wish that I had taken the time to talk with her further. I also wish that I had gone further with my studies. I've always loved the English language, and several people told me that I should write a book. Sadly, it wouldn't fall under any of these genres. I carry this story around with me on a daily basis, but there are so many problems I'd face if I were to write it. Love the cover to your book, and I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving!!
(Peggy Roberson 12:56pm November 23, 2011)
I'm a reader, not a writer, but what the teacher said sounds
correct - just keep writing. Of course I think a writer also
has to get out to experience life or do research in order to
have something to write about.
(Diane Sallans 1:06pm November 23, 2011)
I think something that drives me absolutely crazy when I read is for there to be a word not spelled correctly or used in an inappropriate context....like when the word sounds like the right word but is not spelled the same. Sometimes spellcheck is not helpful in a situation like that!
I also have a hard time when the author does not do his/her research. I am originally from Dallas, Texas and an author wrote a book set in an area close to Dallas and he got the highways wrong. He also showed that he did not know much about the people of that area of Texas. He was a well known writer, and I was really disappointed.
The book Weight of the Crown sounds like the old gothic victorian stories I read when I was much younger. There is something to be said for a young nanny or governess going to live in a big, strange old house with a handsome but arrogant "master of the house." The setting reminds me of Victoria Holt or Mary Stewart! WHAT FUN!
(Sandy Fielder 1:13pm November 23, 2011)
Best advice- never quit..practice makes perfect, so write, write, write.
(Carla Carlson 1:29pm November 23, 2011)
In screenwriting, we call it the "vomit draft." Just get the
darn thing on paper, and turn off the self-edit button. When
it's all on the page, go back and critique. I find this works
even better for my novels.
(Jamie Lee Scott 2:46pm November 23, 2011)
This looks like a fantastic read! Happy Thanksgiving!
(Hyunjin Jeon 4:35pm November 23, 2011)
Sounds interesting and I like the covers. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
(Michelle Fidler 4:48pm November 23, 2011)
I am not a writer---a big reader. But from former English classes I remember my teachers saying to check and double check your spelling, punctuation, etc.
(Timothy Younger 7:06pm November 23, 2011)
Best advice I was given, is from teachers, to check spelling and punctuation before turning anything in. Also, to make up a rough draft first, to add or delete, etc. Happy Thanksgiving!
(Rich Cook 7:19pm November 23, 2011)
English teachers - loved em - most said that you just write til you can't ...then re-read it and do some editing. One of the best things I remember was before you send anything ...a letter, email etc. walk away for a few minutes, come back and read it to see how it sounds to you. It'll help you catch anything that is harsh or wrong, that really works.
(Linda Farrell 8:40pm November 23, 2011)
Practice makes perfect! Its true because I spent one semester doing optional essays for extra points and am very good at writing them.
(Christina Vanderford 10:03pm November 23, 2011)
I have written some stories but not gone public with them. What I hear from most authors is to write every day. Thanks for the opportunity to enter giveaway.
(Brenda Hill 10:07pm November 23, 2011)
The stolyline seems really interesting, I hope I win.
(Karima Chiali 10:54pm November 23, 2011)
I don't think I could ever write a book. But, I was told once by an author, to just get started. Then decide if I could do it or not. Turns out my initial instinct was spot on but the effort was really fun!
(Jennifer Beyer 11:04pm November 23, 2011)
(Christina Hollis 12:08pm November 24, 2011)
Thanks for your kind words, Peggy. It would be a terrible shame if you never
wrote your story. Couldn't you find a way to get your ideas down in a journal?
(Christina Hollis 12:11pm November 24, 2011)
Hi Diane, thanks for commenting. The trouble is, when we're in school and
college we have time to write but no experience. When we have experience of
relationships, children and life, we're too busy to write!
(Christina Hollis 12:13pm November 24, 2011)
Thanks for commenting, Sandy. I hope you enjoy 'Weight of the Crown'. The typo
I make most often is 'form' instead of 'from' and as you say, no spellchecker will
catch that one!
(Christina Hollis 12:15pm November 24, 2011)
Hi, Carla, thanks for commenting. Winston Churchill agrees with you - he said
'Never give up. Never, never, never, never!
(Christina Hollis 12:17pm November 24, 2011)
Hi Jamie Lee, thanks for commenting. As they say, books are rewritten, not just
(Christina Hollis 12:19pm November 24, 2011)
Thanks, Ashley - and a Happy Thanksgiving to you, too!
(Christina Hollis 12:20pm November 24, 2011)
Thanks, Michelle. Happy Thanksgiving to you, too.
(Christina Hollis 12:21pm November 24, 2011)
Hi, Timothy, thanks for commenting. As my creative writing tutor always used to
tell us: 'Never say "I can't be bothered"'.
(Christina Hollis 12:23pm November 24, 2011)
Hi Rich, thanks for commenting. And a Happy Thanksgiving to you, too!
(Christina Hollis 12:24pm November 24, 2011)
Hi Linda - that's great advice about walking away, and not just for fiction. It
worked well in the days of letter-writing, when you'd had a spat with someone.
Reflection was a great mediator. Now in the time of email, it's all too easy to hit
'send', then regret it!
(Christina Hollis 12:27pm November 24, 2011)
Hi, Christina - thanks for commenting. Extra points for essays sounds a great
(Christina Hollis 12:30pm November 24, 2011)
Hi Brenda, it's my pleasure. Good luck with your future story writing.
(Christina Hollis 12:31pm November 24, 2011)
Hi, Karima - thanks for commenting. Good luck in the draw!
(Christina Hollis 12:32pm November 24, 2011)
Hi Jennifer, thanks for commenting. Try writing another book - you've already
proved you can do it once, so it'll be even more fun the next time!
(Christina Hollis 12:35pm November 24, 2011)
Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I hope you have a wonderful, memorable day.
(Christina Hollis 12:36pm November 24, 2011)
As a former copy editor for a college student newspaper, I was constantly telling the writers to write it, print it out, and leave it alone for AT LEAST 2 hours, but preferably overnight, then come back and do a self-edit. Sigh. Some of them listened and did it (the ones who improved), but most of them didn't (not only did these "writers" not improve, they actually got worse!).
After a point where nothing I said or did in terms of proof-reading and editing did any good, I had to quit. It had gotten so bad that I just couldn't live with myself anymore if I continued!!
(Lynn Rettig 1:17pm November 24, 2011)
Hi Lynn, thanks for commenting. Take heart - at least you had the satisfaction
that some of your students improved. No teacher has a 100% record!
(Christina Hollis 4:02pm November 24, 2011)
It's a pleasure to visit here, isn't it?
(Christina Hollis 12:09pm November 26, 2011)
As a reader with a voracious appetite for books, my writing advice is just start and you never know exactly where a piece of writing will take you. Words written down can be revisited. I try to edit and proof my words before sending them, but wouldn't it be great to have a recall button.
(Alyson Widen 4:23pm November 26, 2011)
Hi Alyson, thanks for commenting. The number of times I've hit 'send' and then
thought - oops...!
(Christina Hollis 12:16pm November 27, 2011)
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