Most of you know that I have returned to my writer roots after a twenty year hiatus. The reasons which kept me silent all these years no longer exist...or maybe I just came to my senses. Whatever the reason, I can no longer deny that writing is deeply ingrained in my spirit. But that doesn't mean it's easy, nor does it mean that what I THINK I want and what I will GET are the same thing. Being a writer involves all the twists and turns of a tricky maze and it's easy enough to get lost.
So far, this past year has taught me three things:
1. I'm going to make mistakes in my writing and I have to give myself permission to accept the fact that I am not perfect, no matter how much I might wish it so. Perfectionists are their own worse critics and if I try to judge my writing efforts by my own standards then NOTHING of mine would ever get published. I have discovered critique groups, review groups like Rate Your Story and beta readers who provide honest, unbiased critiques help me to grow as a writer and allow me to see my work through another's eyes.
2. There will be times when I come to a dead end with my writing, but that doesn't mean it is the end of ME as a writer. Many of you knew from my Facebook posts yesterday that I was contemplating going into debt in order to attend a writer's conference. People expressed their opinion and insight while trying to help me make an informed decision. There was even one beautiful spirit who sought to council me individually so that I could be prepared should I decide to attend. My decision to skip the conference was due, in part, to that person's wisdom. I'm simply not ready for that level...yet...and I feel it would do more harm than good to force the issue. Sometimes dead ends are there for a reason and we shouldn't always presume it is a negative one. In my case, it was a wake up call that I need to have a shift in direction or focus as I continue to grow as a writer.
3. There are no cheat sheets on how to become a published author. That writing maze is twisty and at times confusing. Rest assured there will be days when you just KNOW you have gotten turned around and you will even wonder what makes you think YOU could ever write something a publisher would ever want to acquire. I can promise you this. THAT is NEVER the time to make life changing decisions about whether to continue pursuing writing or not. When you feel like that reach out to other writers in this wonderful writing community. Vent. Rant. Cry. But NEVER stop because if you've come this far then sure as I'm sitting here writing this...YOU, MY FRIEND, ARE A WRITER!
One day, probably when you least expect it, all those twists and turns along that path to publication will finally lead you to the center of that maze and you will thank your lucky stars that you didn't stop...that you never gave up on your dream. Oh yeah, when you think back to when you first started writing you will see that your dream has changed, but your writing voice had time to mature and your writing spirit has now become strong enough to overcome ANY hurdle which lies between you and publication.
And who knows what beauty you might uncover along the way?