Dear Reader, Last month I shared with you what I did to improve my writing. I was at a cross road – I was being coached one way, but being pulled in another. If you read what I did, you know the cost was nominal but the results were incredible. Now it makes me giggle, because a friend said it was like forcing yourself to eat plain yogurt but then watching five pounds instantly disappear from the scale! Yea!
Sometimes those small changes make dramatic results if you just keep doing them. Easier said than done? No – actually it’s simply, as long as you’re mindful and do not get in your own way. Believe me, I am very good at getting in my own way! I’ve done that on and off for the past year, I’ve done what I thought was the right way of doing things – walking on this writers path. I’ve learned a lot and see a vast improvement in my writing, which when I share my work with a writing circle, beta group and pretty much anyone who will stop and listen – has proved, I know I’m doing something right. Then doubt whispers in my ear.
And there is a pearl of wisdom – go put yourself out there, even if you are uncomfortable doing it. Now I say that to those of you who are writing for a purpose and not just pleasure, and please know, I do not use the word ‘just’ to marginalize the pleasure of writing. I do it every day because it makes me happy. I’ve written hundreds and hundreds of pages no one will ever see – but I know each and every one of them is helping me navigate this path.
What I’m saying is if you have a purpose, a goal, wanting to share your thoughts, ideas and story. Eventually you will need to give your work to others to read, and that can be scary, but isn’t it scarier not to?
Recently I attended a wonderful day long workshop titled, “You Wrote a Book, Now What?” It was incredible. It was broken down into four parts: Part 1: The Craft of Writing, Part 2: How to Get Published, Part 3: The Craft of Design and Part 4: Three published authors spoke and allowed Q&A time. Now get this – it was only $45, free parking AND they provided lunch and beverages throughout the day. It was one of the best run, highly informative, honest about the process events I’ve ever been to. It truly was a great way to meet other writers and those in the publishing industry without breaking the bank.
Now I’m not one of those people who ‘storm the stage’ when an event is over. I would have loved to have spoken to each author, bought a signed copy of their book etc. But I didn’t. Instead I came home and poured over all the materials I was given and began writing thank you notes to the event planners. Then I looked at the websites of the authors, learned a little more about them, what their currently writing, have written and posted a comment of how much I enjoyed their discussion. To some folks that might sound corny, but for ‘me’ it was the right thing to do. Thanking them for their time and effort and to let them know how much I appreciated it.
Today I saw a statement that resonated with me, it said, “Work to create the life that feels right to you, not one that looks right to everyone else.” And I realize that is just what I have done. I have a ‘job’ that helps pay the bills, but also allows me to write. I am walking this writer’s journey one step at a time, but not neglecting my responsibilities, all the while being true to myself -which is what author Susan Strecker told me is most important to her. No matter what, be yourself. I am not trying to be someone else, or write like someone else (although I would love to write like Susan, I can soak up her style and enjoy her books!) , at the end of the day I have only myself to answer to.
So, after a tumultuous May, I am finding June to be a fulfilling promise of what the months to come can be. By the end of July, I am walking confidently out of my comfort zone and will have read the beginning of my book aloud to a group of strangers who have all been published. Who will be brutally honest and point me in one direction or another. I’m finding that this journey of a writer is like the Appalachian or PCT, the path I am taking has many different terrains of learning. Some of the paths climb straight up, some are rocky and hard to maneuver, others sandy and soft. Every single step brings me closer to what can be. I wish you a safe journey too- perhaps we’ll meet at the next crossroad.
Breathe Deep, Think Peace
Note: Are you looking for a summer novel or two? Check this out! Kirkus Review said Susan Strecker is, “Compulsively Readable”Heros and Heartbreakers Chose Nowhere Girl as the March 2016 “Best Bets in Woman’s Fiction”UrbanMoms.ca calls Nowhere Girl “Girl on the Train meets Gone Girl”
I invite you to explore Susan Strecker’s novels: Nowhere Girl and Night Blindness.