A multitude of years ago, Phyllis Primmer, a writer of some renown in our neighbourhood, told me that she ‘saw a book in there.’ I knew what she meant but I did not want to write what was ‘in there,’ that is, in my head. I feared examining the turmoil in my mind and I sure wasn’t prepared to share it with the world. I compromised by writing a cookbook, then another and another and another…Finally one day, the first chapter of Meeting Myself, Snippets From a Binging and Bulging Mind, flew onto my paper at a writing class.
By the time I became a widow, I’d learned that getting my pain out where I could see it meant healing. It happened to be November, the season for Nanowrimo (the National Novel-Writing Month event). I wrote the required 50,000 words in that thirty days and subsequently published The Pregnant Pause of Grief, the first trimester of widowhood.
I published those cookbooks out of fear. If only I’d ‘stepped into’ my truth earlier, who knows what I’d be writing now?
Stop making excuses and speak the words ‘I am a writer’ aloud, to yourself and to those around you. Step out of the closet of self-denial and into your manuscript.
Oh, we fancy up our self-denial with verbal wishes for a faster computer, newer software or someone to do the icky editing, promoting or writing query letters. You know—the nasty stuff we don’t want to be bothered with.
We blame our lack of success on a lack of better gadgets, or other people, when in reality, we are the problem. We’ll do anything, go anywhere, and be anything, just so we don’t have to do the hard bits.
We whine that it costs so much to publish. Really? Do you have anything on paper yet? So what’s to spend? Get the writing done and then we’ll talk.
If time is your issue, stop hanging out on social media. Of course we need to participate but we don’t need to spend our life there. The best writing tool is common sense. Be a writer who writes.
Is publicity your problem? Add the name of your upcoming novel to the signature on your email. So what if the book isn’t published or even written yet? When author Patricia Day tacked Eleanor, a Stolen Childhood, into her email signature, she got inquiries and even pre-purchase interest. That motivated her to finish her book.
So you sent something to an editor once and it came back all pockmarked in red pencil? Get over yourself. Learn to take advice. That’s how writing works. You jot down your scribbles and someone with more experience makes it look good.
Maybe you struggle for a topic? Read everything you can get your hands on. I pick up every freebie newspaper or magazine I see. I read mysteries, novels, historical features and short stories. I peruse my Bible. A line, a verse, a thought pops into my head when I read other viewpoints.
Once I get an idea, the article is not far behind and as the daily devotional writer for Everyday Christian, I need all the fresh ideas I can get. (It doesn’t hurt to be a speed reader either. Practice this skill. It will save you both time and money.)
By the way, you don’t have to write a book in order to call yourself a writer. I’ve written a book every year for longer than I care to remember, but it seems that my last book, The Pregnant Pause of Grief, the first trimester of widowhood, (and its accompanying sorrow) drained me dry. So for now, I’m concentrating on blogging. I post on at least six blogs, including my own at Heartfelt Devotionals.
Some of the others include: