Sunday, June 21, 2015

Sunday Story - Heroes

I'm not talking about story heroes here...well, not exactly. I'm thinking more of life heroes...the people you look up to.

I've always had sporting heroes but not too many non-sporting heroes. I don't know why that is. Maybe it's because sports are something I'd really like to do well, yet I don't. Plus I always admire sports people for their tenacity, as well as their skill.

When I was a teenager, as well as footy players, there were jockeys adorning my school diaries. I had a thing for Wayne Harris...and it wasn't only because I thought he was cute, but because he had this drive to be a jockey that kept him going even through broken bones, a broken back, brain cancer. He seemed to be often injured but always smiling and making a comeback. He struggled through adversity to achieve his goals, and all the time seemed like a nice bloke. He's still at the races now, almost hobbling at times, but he always has a smile and a tip for the mug punters who yell out to him. It takes such courage to keep going when it would be easier to give up, but so much more courage to do it with a smile, and remain generous and genuinely nice to people.

I was thinking about this recently - my sporting heroes - because I've been struggling with my writing. I was losing heart because I'm stuck re-writing things when I find that incredible frustrating and disheartening. I don't know why my brain works differently to everyone else's. Why do I want to write in such a way that readers don't want to read? It's been driving me bonkers lately, mostly because I've decided to succumb to 'market pressure' and conform (but not always, I need to do it my way sometimes!).

One day I was incredibly disheartened, and then one of my sporting heroes was being interviewed after a frustrating loss and said that you couldn't give up after one poor game, that you had to "trust in the process and have a little faith." He was talking about the training, the preparation, the game plan, the people around you... but to me, it was about writing.

I can change the way I write. I don't have to make a big deal about it. If I want to write to suit what readers want, then I do that. I know how to write, and even if it's not my preferred way, if it suits others, then that's the plan. I have to 'trust the process, and have a little faith'.

I think trust and faith are two things I struggle with - along with patience. I'm really in the wrong game for someone who struggles with those things, but I think it's the lesson I need to learn in this lifetime.

I don't trust myself. I second guess myself, I question myself, I worry that my decisions aren't right, that I'm not right, that I don't know what I'm doing.

And faith, gee, I've spent the last 10 years learning my craft, learning everything I can about this writing game, but my faith in my ability is pretty poor. I wasn't like this with my science career and I think the difference might be because with science I had a piece of paper to prove what I'd learned. But now I write that, I realise I was scared of all the things I didn't know in science. Every time I got a job, I wondered why on earth they'd employed me. So yep, maybe faith wasn't so hot then either.

And even with all that self-doubt and all those worries...I still expect to have achieved my goals in double quick time. You'd think that I wouldn't be like that. If you doubt your ability, you should be hanging back on the achievements. But I'm not. I'm wanting it to happen yesterday. For it to hurry up.

So, this post is all about me facing the fact that most of the people I admire, are those who've had the difficult road but hung in there, smiled, taken time to be nice, and still achieved. This is something I need to take on board. I need to smile, be nice to people, and allow things to take their own sweet time...if I hang in there, I might achieve my goals, like my heroes.


  1. I hear you, but I'm a bit worried about you 'changing your style' etc. Do you mean the first person/third person thing? Or something else? I think it might be tricky to change style - I mean - that's what 'voice' is all about isn't it? If you have to write with another voice second guessing you, it won't sound like you. Will it?
    Gosh, your post has given me more questions! Good luck sorting through it - you don't need to worry about "being nice to people" - I think you are one of the all round nicest people I know.

    1. Hi Lily,
      Oh, I probably didn't explain properly. I didn't mean 'style' as 'voice' but 'style' as some over-encompassing thing I didn't have a word for.

      So as well as the first/third person thing, I've also been wrestling with how many POVs do you include in third? Just the heroine or the hero too? Then I was thinking about what message you want your story to tell, and is that marketable? Should you be writing what you want to write, or writing what people want to read or what editors can 'sell'? (often I think they're 3 different things) Plus trying to work out what sells - but I think this is too hard!

      So, my other genre self is going to write in 3rd person. I was going to stick with heroine's POV but I've learned sometimes you need the hero's POV especially if he has a big story and big character development.

      So then I started wondering if Cate Ellink is ever going to gather more readers if I continue to write in 1st person, heroine only POV. Am I alienating readers by not doing the 3rd person, multi-POV stories that most people do? And if I decide to change, does it have to stay changed, or can I flick depending on the book?

      So, it's been a LOT of thinking. And I'm not sure I've got any answers yet!

      Thanks for saying I'm nice. That's a lovely thing for you to say. Much appreciated!

      Cate xoxo

    2. It's a minefield. I got told I had too many in my So Far Into You. I actually had 6 (would you believe) including the villain and POV from 2 other minor characters. It was good advice to take them out - they slowed the pace and weren't necessary. But I still do enjoy books with a villain's POV. So that would make Heroine. Hero & Villain = 3.

    3. Yes, villains often have good POVs. I don't usually have villains, so I don't need that one! Phew! (Note to self: Don't have baddies who need a POV)

      Cate xo