So many valuable lessons, so much still to learn. I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned since beginning to write is to believe in myself enough to send a story out. And if it comes back, to brush it off, and send it out again. And again, and—yes—even again.
Many times, writers are a fragile creature. I know I am. We try so hard to believe in ourselves, in our stories, in our writing. And in my case, I’m crushed again and again. To be able to pick yourself up and continue to believe is a power all writers have. It’s just difficult to find sometimes.
Where can we find this inner strength to continue calling ourselves writers, to actually be writers? Here are a few tips that help me.
Safety in numbers. Writing groups help writers find confidence. I belong to South Jersey Writers Group, a friendly group of writers in many genres who support one another, critique one another’s work, and offer presentations about writing, publishing, social media, and other tools of the trade.
Writers helping writers. When writers learn something new, they don’t keep it to themselves. The very nature of the writing beast is to share what they’ve learned with others in their number. I do this through South Jersey Writers Group and reading other Insecure Writers Support Group blogs and sharing information on my Adventures in Writing blog and through workshops I present.
Here are a few excellent writers and bloggers that I have come across: Jennie Nash, Lisa Cron, Writers in the Storm, The Editor’s Blog. You might like to follow them as well.
Finding a quiet space to think. We are a multi-tasking society, and writers are no different. I believe writers need a peaceful place to leave the world and all their obligations behind in order to look within and consider what’s working and what’s not in their writing in progress. Some writers attend writing conferences, which not only allow for the first two points in my post, but also some time for uninterrupted thinking and writing. I realize they are expensive and some writers don’t have the money or time to go away to write.
I find thinking time in chunks, a few hours lost among the stacks in a library—away from the five children and home obligations. But I also find quiet in a walk through the woods or around a local lake. Sometimes just a walk in my neighborhood gets me away from the computer screen and into my thoughts about story flow, pacing, and logic. Writers can’t be afraid to look within to find answers; both for their writing and in life.
If writers are lucky enough to share these three key pieces of the writerly life, then they can find the courage to let go and send their stories and essays out into the world time and again, whether through traditional publishing or self-publishing. No. It’s still not easy. But it can be done.
I wish you all a solid belief in what you are doing in your writing life. Thanks for stopping by Adventures in Writing and sharing any thoughts you might have about this or about writing. Writers sharing with other writers. It’s what the writing life’s about.