Welcome to Writer’s Week!
Ever wondered if you have what it takes to be A Real Writer? First of all, let me just say that if you a.) like to write and you b.) write sometimes, then you’re A Real Writer. You don’t need a book with your name on the spine (although, if that’s your dream, I’m all about encouraging it).
If a career in writing appeals to you on any level, may I suggest a book called An Introduction to Christian Writing by Ethel Herr? The cover and title? Completely boring. But what’s inside? Love, love, love.
My copy of the book is all underlined and asterisked and littered with margin scribbles (all in my fave purple pen), and every now and again, I’ll pull it off the shelf and leaf through it, mostly reading the parts I know I love.
I got it out one night last week and was lying in bed skimming it. Gabe looked at the cover. “An introduction to Christian writing? Aren’t you a little past that point?”
“No,” I said. “It inspires me. It makes me happy.”
He rolled his eyes (lovingly).
Once every eight months or so, when I get the chance to hang out in Barnes & Noble, I browse for awhile but always end up at the books on writing. I mentioned in this post that I love to read fiction books about… books. And my non-fiction topic of choice is writing.
I get giddy reading someone who gets me. Like this:
I used to think that if something was important enough, I’d remember it until I got home, where I could simply write it down in my notebook like some normal functioning member of society. But then I wouldn’t. (Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott)
You will find your writer’s mind rarely–if ever–turns off. You may even find yourself wanting to stop in the middle of doing something to write about what you’re doing–whether you’re in the middle of dinner, a bath, or a party. (Pen on Fire, Barbara DeMarco-Barrett)
All the help my writing might provide others would be worth nothing if I failed my own family. My responsibility as a wife and mother is more than just doing things for them; it is doing things with them. I must guard against my tendency to become preoccupied with my work and must make a conscious decision to be there for them–to give them my full attention and to really listen to what they are saying and not saying. Children grow so quickly. Don’t sacrifice them on your writing altar. (Write His Answer, Marlene Bagnull)
Ethel Herr says that the key to being a “constantly producing writer” is passionate determination. This is good news. There’s no mention of stellar natural talent–just grit and desire. You can do this!
She makes a list of qualifications including: a love for people and a desire to serve them at their point of need; ability to discern significance; courage to speak up, even if your message is unpopular; and a clear assurance of your calling.
This is why I read a book with “Introduction” in the title, even though I’m technically past the introductory level. I love affirmation that I’m doing the right thing–and inspiration to do it better!
Here are some “technical qualifications” as she calls them:
1. a keen imagination; 2. an insatiable curiosity; 3. literary appreciation; 4. flexibility and a thick skin; 5. a persistent will to polish a project until it shines; and 6. ability to work in solitude.
I would add the following:
7. the willingness to sacrifice many fun things, in order to make time to write.
8. the discipline to sit down on your rear and write when it’s the last thing on earth you feel like doing.
9. the willingness to make what might amount to 50 cents an hour for the rest of your life.
10. if you’re having trouble with the thick skin thing, you need to surround yourself with people who love you no matter what.
I can already tell that I’m tempted to stretch this into Writer’s Month. But I know you’d miss all that other great stuff I’m always writing about.
Or at least the giveaways.
I can read some of your minds right now. That’s all great and fine, but what I really want to know is how can I find an agent and get a book published and become rich and famous?
When I figure that out, you’ll be the first to know.
So, tell me:
1. Where are you on your writing journey?
2. What dreams do you have?
3. What questions can I answer for you?
See you tomorrow! Have a great week!