You are more than a writer.
You fight hard for your art.
You create time where there isn’t any. You make hard choices and sacrifices.
You make your writing a priority.
Sometimes life gets in the way, and the best you can manage is a little time to think about a story, or an idea, or your craft. You have to be satisfied with nurturing your creations in silent, secret, intangible ways.
Other days, you give yourself the gift of time to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. Sometimes, this feels like slipping smoothly down into a pool of inspiration, you submerge yourself and drink deeply. Other times the writing feels like hard labor on the chain gang, your whole being aching with the effort of chipping each precious word from an impassive wall of stone.
But, bliss or agony, you keep working. This is the process. This is your writing. This is what you fight for.
I understand. This is what we do. This is who we are.
Or, is it?
I am a writer. But, I am also a mother, a sister, and a daughter. I am a friend and a lover. I am a student and a teacher and a witness. I am a voice and a memory and a hope. I am a collection of experiences that is unique in all the expanse of space and time.
I am a writer, but I am more than a writer. And, you are, too.
You are are not just the writer writing or the words that are written.
You are the story.
You are the story that exists whether it is written down or not. Writing is simply the way you capture and share the story you are, how you make the immaterial material so that it can be perceived by others. Everything you write is an echo of the story that you are – a story about love, redemption, courage, justice, wonder, vulnerability … truth.
But, be careful. Do not confuse the pursuit of writing with the pursuit of truth.
Writing may help you discover your truth – the essence of your story – but writing does not create that truth.
Be a writer. Be the best writer you can be. But never forget that you are more than a writer. You are the story being written.
What I’m Learning About Writing: Your Brilliance is Fleeting
Back in the summer of 2010 (can it really be that long ago?!?) I wrote a post titled Capturing the Muse that laid out a 4-step process for capturing brilliant ideas before they evaporate into the ether. This week, I was reminded that I really ought to take my own advice more often.
I experienced several moments of clarity. They were lovely, hopeful moments. Each one was like a perfect flower, opening up before my mind’s eye like a blossom captured with the magic of time lapse photography. Unfortunately, each time I had one of these moments of insight, I was engaged in an activity that made it difficult to capture either the essence or detail of the idea. I was either in the shower, brushing my teeth, or driving.
I should have tried harder.
As you might have already guessed, these moments of brilliance sparkled but briefly before sputtering out of my consciousness, leaving only a sense of loss and regret for what might have been, had I only taken the time to make a note or record a quick voice memo.
Your writer’s mind is always working. It just doesn’t always work according to your schedule. You will have wonderful, inspiring ideas at the most inopportune moments. Don’t let them get away. Do as I say, not as I do. Make it a priority to snag your ideas out of the air before they vanish. Make use of the apps on your phone, carry a notebook, keep scribble pads in each and every room of the house. Do whatever you have to. Believe me, you’ll be glad you did.
What I’m Reading: The Pocket Pema Chodron
This book has been sitting on my bedside table for years. I picked it up at an indie bookstore somewhere along the Maine coast, Camden perhaps. It was an impulse purchase. I remember standing at the counter paying for the other books I’d selected (a novel for myself and a picture book for my daughter). The bookseller and I were making small talk while she rang up my receipt when my hand reached out, almost of its own accord, to pick up this diminutive, but inexorably cheerful looking volume.
Not much larger than a deck of playing cards, this tiny tome has been a small but powerful touchstone in my life since that day. Though I still know little about Buddhism, I have found that each time I need comfort or guidance, this book is there for me. More times than I can count, I have opened to a random page and read just the words I needed to hear in that moment. It’s almost like magic.
The book contains 108 short selections from Chodron’s other books. The topics she addresses include fear, courage, patience, kindness, and goodness. Her voice is sure but gentle, her words unadorned but piercing. When I think about writers who touch on truth, Chodron always comes to mind.
This book may not have all the answers, but it has a way of asking all the right questions.
And let’s not forget the blogs. Here are a few of my favorite writerly posts from this week:
- Obtain Super-Focus by Switching off Your Brain’s “Fast Mode” by Allison Stadd via @99u
- Evolution is Exhausting. But You Totally Got This. by @megworden
- The Price I Pay to Write by Laura Bogart
- How Much Does It Cost to Self-Publish a Book? 4 Authors Share Their Numbers by @danasitar
- How Instagram Zucked Us Over (Cautionary Tale: owned vs rented digital space) via @BrainsOnFire
- How Email Newsletters Make Your Readers Love You by @DanBlank via @WriterUnboxed
- How to Create a Sustainable Writing Income [Interview w/ Danny Iny] via @WriteToDone
- 19 Quick Ways to Grow Your Author Following on Social Media by @TravlJunkette via @thewritelife
- I don’t know my online audience and neither do you by @markwschaefer
- Monotasking: The Forgotten Skill You (and I) Need to Re-Claim, ASAP by @ThereseWalsh via @WriterUnboxed
- Persuasive Writing: The Key to a Stellar Writing Career via @WritetoDone
- Novelists: Two Empowering Little Mind-Models That Just Might Change Everything For You by @storyfix
- SciFi & Fantasy Genre Subcategories via @FuseLiterary
- Unleash a Surge of Email Subscribers from Your Guest Posts With This Simple Landing Page Strategy by @HennekeD
- Respect Your Readers by @birgitte_rasine via @write_practice
- At Some Point, We All Have Nothing to Say by @MWwriter via @glimmertrain
- 40 Places to Find a Critique Partner Who Will Help You Improve Your Writing by @cathyyardley
- The One Thing All Creative People Do by @annhandley
- The Secret to Having the Most Productive Writing Year Ever by @1KTrueFans via @write_practice
- Time To Sort Out Your Author Website? by @thecreativepenn
- 6 Survival Tips for Women Writers by Holly Robinson
Finally, a quote for the week:
Here’s to being not only a writer, but to being the story worth writing. Have a great weekend. See you on the other side!
Jamie Lee Wallace Hi. I’m Jamie. I am a content marketer and branding consultant, columnist, sometime feature writer, prolific blogger, and aspiring fiction writer. I’m a mom, a student of equestrian and aerial arts (not at the same time), and a nature lover. I believe in small kindnesses, daily chocolate, and happy endings. Introduce yourself on Facebook, twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. I don’t bite … usually.
Cosmos Photo Credit: Martin_Heigan via Compfight cc