Agent Monday: Passionate Writing

Highlights Foundation groundsHappy Agent Monday, everyone! I was so fortunate last week to sneak away for a few days to The Highlights Foundation, where I did an “Unworkshop.” That’s where you basically get fed amazing meals, and otherwise do your own thing. In my case, since I’m not only a literary agent but also an author, my “thing” was 3 uninterrupted days of working on my own novel. So inspiring!  In last week’s post, I touched on something I see too much of in submissions: manuscripts working too hard to fit in with what’s currently hot. Is THAT truly your writing passion?

It’s important, amid scrambling to get an agent, to get published, etc., that you don’t lose track of why you write in the first place. Your point of view and voice are unique. Lose that to try and fit in somehow, and you just won’t be you. You have to keep connected with your creative side…even as you dive into the business side of writing. Getting your manuscript ready for submission. Query letters. Literary agent research. Marketing trends. Yeah, it’s all important. BUT if your writing isn’t the most important piece of the puzzle, then no matter how much research you do or how much of a “never give up” attitude you have, you’ll never really have the creative successes you so crave.

Highlights lodge 2

At the Unworkshop…a dark day full of creative spark

Every writer needs to encourage his creative side in order to explore and experiment and grow. Always! For me, the Unworkshop was a chance to carve out some mental space without any interruptions. It was affordable for me, and amazing!  But not everyone can get away, of course. Still there are so many ways to nurture your creative self and let your mind daydream and dabble. Here are some things that I do:

– Journal
– Take early morning walks
– Reread a favorite work
– Hide in a library or coffee shop with a notebook in hand
– Turn off the TV in the evenings and instead, spend that time creatively – whatever that means
– Have FUN with my writing, without adding on the pressure of “I gotta sell this,” and then see where things go
– Try to remember what made me want to write in the first place, and hold that feeling close

Hey, life gets busy. We’ve got to live, make money, etc. But writers are artists first and foremost. So take care of your artist. Make sure your writing is your passion, that your manuscripts mean something to you. Only then can your writing mean something to someone else — literary agents included!

So what do you do to keep in touch with your passion while you write? Please share your ideas in the comments. We writers can always use fresh ways to fill our creative wells.


*Marie is an Associate Agent at The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency in New York City. To keep up with all her Agent Monday posts, subscribe to her site by clicking on the Follow link located on her page on the upper left margin.

10 thoughts on “Agent Monday: Passionate Writing

  1. Talking to other writers, about my work and theirs, often reminds me why I started a particular story in the first place. The conversation out loud, outside of my own head, makes a big difference (and otherwise I’m walking around talking to myself like a crazy woman 🙂 )

  2. The purpose of my memoir is to give hope to others who have had similar experiences. If I do not use my authentic voice, who would believe? I find it easiest to find my me-voice when I write in the present tense. When I have to look back, It is more difficult. Yet, I still try to get into the immediacy of that time by putting myself into the scenes and remembering to show rather than to tell. When I do this, I can’t help but to sound like me. I have been following you a long time, Ms Lamba. Thanks so much for your helpful guidance.

    • You’re welcome!

      I like that: my me-voice.

      It’s true that sometimes you need to experiment in order to find your true voice. Sometimes the right form isn’t the first one we try.

  3. As a creative being I think allowing yourself to venture outside of what’s familiar can be very rewarding in your writing. It pushes you out of your comfort zone and into a space of fresh perspective. It also allows you to go back to what’s more familiar, more authentically. Another big one for me is being in the moment with children of any age. By just watching young people at play and listening in on their conversations, in their own space produces a wealth of free flowing ideas. Thank goodness being a mom and my day job affords me these opportunities. Thanks for sharing.

    • You’re welcome! Back in college I took a Writing for Children fiction workshop, and the professor asked us to listen in on conversations between kids. I headed out to the Franklin Institute’s cafeteria, notebook in hand and listened in. Felt a bit like Harriet the Spy! Of course, it’s much better to interact with the children in your life — and these days a lot less creepy!

      I do like the idea of stretching boundaries and trying something different. It all would surely feed our creativity. Thanks for sharing YOUR ideas. 🙂

  4. By engaging in several creative projects, which are all an extension of what I love: Singing and performing; songwriting, watercolor painting, figurative sculpture, which all feed back into my storytelling. Balancing all sides of my creativity. Also, surrounding myself with like minded others. Important not to lose sight of our voice while involved in the business side, so very true. Thanks for this post.

    • You’re welcome! And I so agree. It’s important to engage all of our creativity. It could be a different genre, it could be art, we could be creative cooks or gardeners – I think it all feeds the well.

      And a community of creative folk can make all the difference. Some writers are lucky to have folks nearby, but there are also great online connections too.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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