Friday, April 06, 2012

Fraglie Ego, Fearful Heart

I have been a writer since I was four and a half. I know this only because my mother reminded me of it so often, especially when I would come to her with my "woe is me" stories of not being able to write.

This process of my fragile ego and my mothers wise words continued throughout my high school and college days. She would assure me that, indeed, I could write because I was meant to be a writer. She would describe me, age almost five, coming to her with pencil in hand with something I had written down and was wanting to perform for her.

I lacked any self-esteem in the area, though, so I gave up hope of the professional writing career. I went into acting instead.  
Acting at Southern CA Renaissance Pleasure Faire

What an unwise decision.

Here I am, years later, knowing that no matter what happens I have to write.

I have to write, much like this person who is quoted in the article I had to read for English, "Shitty First Drafts" by Anne Lamott:

"It's not like you don't have a choice , because you do--you can type, or kill yourself." 

I could try to skirt around the issue and say it is not that extreme, but I would be lying. Writing is in my blood and there will be no excising it. The only blood-letting here will be my thoughts on the page. Which brings up the question of why I waited so long to pursue this passion. 

There is only one answer... fear

I had a heart full of fear.

My biggest fear was always, "I am a lousy writer" and what I have learned is, it is a skill to be mastered.

And, if I can handle rejection in the acting community, I can surely handle it within the writing community. When this realization hit me, along with four huge novel ideas, I went back to school to learn how to write correctly better. 

I really appreciated the article for drawing attention to a common misconception of writers: that they just sit down and the words flow perfectly (and the angels rejoice!).

Nope. It usually doesn't work like that.

Sometimes you just sit there.
and look at the keys...

 ....and you look at it some more.

The article hit home in so many ways, as do many other pieces I have been reading regarding the process of writing. The more I glean from other writers and their process the more I realize I am a writer.

My stories aren't any worse than what I have seen on the best-seller list (and some may even be better). I realize it is mastering a skill and like mastering anything I have to work at it, it doesn't just magically happen.

The fear that was there is a natural response and the more I write and gain critiques from other writers the more I learn. At least, this is my process.

In the end, the best that you can say about the process is that it is your own. Everyone has their own style and if they are smart that style will improve by learning from other writers, like Lamott and others, who are working successfully in the writing field. As for me, I know I have a lot to learn and always will.

Someone always has something of value to teach you, even if it is simply what not to do.

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Emily's books

Mutant Message Down Under
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The Alchemist
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A journey that helps to enlighten one and takes the rest of us along for the ride
Anahita's woven riddle
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This is classified young adult but is one of the most fantastic stories and shows what life was like before the Shaw was overthrown in Iran.
Think and Grow Rich
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must read for those who enjoy prosperity