S. O. S. – Writers Need Help, Too.
Becoming a published author is a commitment—a big commitment—and for many of us it has been a lifetime goal. I took my first adult writing class in the mid-1970s. (You’re trying to guess my age now, aren’t you?) The instructor was in her sixties and just beginning a career in writing that she’d put on hold while raising her family. Her example of NEVER giving up on the dream of writing has continued to inspire me to this very day. She is now 103 years young and still writing! However, even with her constant encouragement there were times when I never thought I world (or could) call myself a “real writer.”
First: I’d like to share my personal definition of a writer: a person who thinks and enjoys the process of discovering more, then literally must write about it. This person is filled with words that seem to spontaneously combust in the imagination and, again, must be written; then comes the moment of illumination that leads toward a writing career and authorship.
Second: We know we’re “real writers” when our immediate environment—school, family, faith and friends—hone our perspectives (plural) and nudge us toward a particular genre. Eventually, every detail of daily life becomes a potential element in what we utilize to express what we see in words, phrases, sentences and paragraphs on the written page.
However, when all of this natural ability meets real-world expectations, I’ve seen too many “real writers” set aside their talents—and their amazing work now boxed on closet shelves—and give up. That’s when I want to shake them by the shoulders and say, “GET TO your keyboard and FIGHT! Pull out your favorite piece and talk to another writer about it! Go to a writers’ conference and just listen to all the other writers who have experienced what you’re going through—then ask for their help!”
ARE YOU THE REAL WRITER WHO HAS STOPPED WRITING? Are you the “real writer” who is embarrassed to ask for help? Please listen to what I’m sharing in my blogs this month!
Every writer on this planet has experienced these same thoughts and feelings—and many of them are now utilizing their writing talents and publishing expertise to help the rest of us. Not long ago, when talking with a publishing consultant (who also happens to be a gifted writer) her words of encouragement made me think of what John F. Kennedy said when speaking to graduating students at Rice University (1962).
“We choose to go to the moon” [to be writers]. “…not because it is easy, but because it is hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.”
Now you know something else about me. I enjoy finding positive quotes that speak to me, personally, and hopefully will inspire others. That’s one of my little tricks to keep myself motivated and moving forward instead of looking back. Then, when other writers ask for my help, I can not only share practical assistance, but inspiring words. So, I’ll close with one more quote from a favorite author, Ray Bradbury.
“Go to the edge of the cliff and jump off. Build your wings on the way down.”