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General thoughts on being a writer…the life of a writer…

 

I received a letter this week (a real letter delivered with a stamp, which was sorta weird and exciting in this age) from a fan who was also a kid, maybe 12 or 14. I don’t know, just guessing at his age. He had read one of my books and can’t get it out of his mind. Which is also weird but really nice. Not that wrote to talk about my book. No. Not really.

The letter was filled, dripping, soggy with desire…to be a writer. And it made me think and remember my own teenaged writer’s angst.

One paragraph in his letter read, “Still, though, I need your help. I don’t know where to begin. I can think a story’s details in my mind, but can’t make it complete. I mean, there are so many factors to consider in the details, for example, how graphic should I make it? I am asking as a young apprentice to a master writer, please help me.”

Master writer…me? No way. But, to him I had reached a pinnacle of success in my chosen field. I had gotten published, and I was a good writer, and most importantly, I was…in!

 

Being a commercially published writer—as seen from the outside looking in—might seem a bit like…um…a secret club with a big sign nailed to the door, Keep Out!  Like a Boys Only Club, where the girls aren’t allowed. At least that is the way I remember it being and feeling. Left out, kept out, of a club with a secret handshake and pass words and all sorts of cool stuff I wanted to—needed to, craved to—learn, and had no earthly way of doing so. The desire to be a writer was so intense and concentrated and passionate it that seemed a live thing crawling under my skin and through my brain, full of demands and hungers I simply could not satisfy. Not yet. Not then.

Another way of looking at it was the writing life was a spiritual place I knew about, desired, aspired to, but where I was not permitted to be. As if an angel with a flaming sword stood in front of the door, barring the way. And I wanted in!

The life of writer is still like both of those to me—a club where I am finally a member, and a spiritual place, a place where I am uplifted, cast down, filled with joy and success, or dumped on with guilt or failure. I soooo love this life. And oddly, now that I am here, it isn’t a populated world like I expected it to be. It’s a world of solitude, a club of one, a spiritual place like an empty cathedral with sunlight streaming in through multicolored stained-glass windows, but no music, no choir, not even a priest.

 

Here at magicalworkds.net, we’ve been working on early stuff—prepublication info and how-to info that makes most UnPub writers salivate with excitement, this glimpse into the writer’s world. We want to help. Why? Because, I think we four all remember how it felt to be on the outside, to be driven, obsessed maybe, with the need to write, write, write! And Be Published!

And yet we know that any help we offer still isn’t enough. We four writers can’t make an PuPub’s pathway any easier, because each one has to blaze his own trail, just as we did, through uncharted territory, on a path no one has ever walked before. We can ask questions, answer questions, show some of our journey, but ultimately each writer is on his own, as we were on our own, lost and hoping and knowing that far-off place was there, just out of reach. We care. We cheer you on. But we can’t walk the path for you.

 

This was my woowoo blog of 2008. I’ll get back to practical matters next week.

Faith

 

 

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9 comments to WooWoo Blog

  • “Being a commercially published writer—as seen from the outside looking in—might seem a bit like…um…a secret club with a big sign nailed to the door, Keep Out! Like a Boys Only Club, where the girls aren’t allowed. At least that is the way I remember it being and feeling. Left out, kept out, of a club with a secret handshake and pass words and all sorts of cool stuff I wanted to—needed to, craved to—learn, and had no earthly way of doing so. ”

    Very apt description. This is exactly what it feels like. :)

  • Lisa, The good news is — there is no Keep Out sign. Instead there is a big, welcoming Join Us sign. And you can learn the secret handshake here!
    Faith

  • It is an odd club. As Faith says, at times it feels very lonely. Writing is a solitary endeavor (unless you count all those not-quite-imaginary people living in my brain) and so even after we’re published and get our signal ring and and badge and beanie with the propeller, even after we learn the secret handshake, we are alone. Until we go to a convention or writer’s conference or something of the sort. In a way, that’s where the payoff comes (that, and seeing the books in print, which never gets old). Being with other writers, talking shop, sharing fears and accomplishments and insecurities. I wouldn’t trade that for the world. Which is one reason why, despite my own poor experience with writing groups, if you can find one that works, make the effort to join.

    Nice post, Faith.

  • Well, this UnPub is very appreciative of you each taking a little time out of your day to share your experiences.

    It makes a difference.

  • Our pleasure, CE!

    And David said:
    >>and so even after we’re published and get our signal ring and and badge and beanie with the propeller>>

    NO FAIR!
    I never got mine!
    hehe
    Faith

  • Don’t feel bad, Faith – no one’s taught me the handshake yet. *pout*

  • Yes, thank you guys/gals for taking time from your writing deadlines to help us out. It is appreciated.

    *is looking forward to getting the key to the secret washroom*

  • Beatriz

    Faith says: NO FAIR! I never got mine!
    Misty adds: no one’s taught me the handshake yet

    Yeah, but you guys have a minion!

    ~grins, ducks, runs~

  • True. So true. Thank you for the reminder darlin’.
    *Lifts nose in air.*
    So there, David…
    Faith