Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Worrying is like a Rocking Chair! by DL Larson

Looking over the last several days of posts, I realize we writers have much to worry about ... our perception vs. our readers intreptation; E-books vs. traditional publishing; our sexuality; finding our voice; and the all time bummer ~ rejections of our work. Whew! No wonder were all nuts! Er, worried.

So, why oh, why are we still at the keyboard? Why are we plucking images and holding them ransom in some notebook to use in that perfect scene? Why do we continue to try?

The answer, as you well know, is not an easy one to answer, but it is simple. Putting words together is what we do. We don't always enjoy it, we seldom get it right the first time, and yet we know we wouldn't be good at doing anything else worthwhile. The trade sounds romantic ~ a writer. Images of past authors clog the corners of our minds, we think we are just as imaginative as the old timers, and trouble is, we are. But no one cares, or so we so often convince ourselves. There are too many of us and too few books being published by worthwhile houses. Or so we tell ourselves that too. And it's true. We have more writers than ever before, and probably not as many avid readers as even a decade ago. Yet we all want recognition, validation that what we do is worthy, redeeming even.

So we continue. And we should.

No one can write what we write. No one can see what we see. And no one can bring our particular story to life like we can. It's our legacy, our destiny to write the best story we are capable of. If we don't continue to write, then those medicore writers who somehow always get published will only publish more and the good stuff will never get noticed because it was never written. So despite our identiy crisis, or our indecisive venues, and the mound of rejections, we must also persevere.

The best way to do that is to forge ahead, write a little every day, revise on a timely basis and stretch our capabilities to the utmost. We don't sit back and wait, hoping, wringing our hands, wondering what if ... what if ... but boldly take a chance that someone, somewhere will notice what we write is pretty interesting. stuff.

My book, Promises To Keep, is a finalist in another contest. This one is called the Eric Hoffer Award, a contest to honor freethinking writers and independent books of exceptional merit. (their words not mine) They go on to say that the commercial environment for today's writers has all but crushed the circulation of ideas... and many top literary prizes will not consider independent books over the more widely acclaimed larger presses. (paraphrase is mine!)

Did you know that such greats as Emily Dickenson, James Joyce, Walt Whitman and Virgina Wolfe published much of their own work in order to keep not only control of their property, but so as not to conform to the days standard of what was acceptable in the writing genres? So the good old days weren't so grand either. Even Shakespeare was rarely paid what he was worth, and was often told what to write and when. And many of the greats wrestled with depression, etc. etc. and no wonder, life as a writer is hard.

The difficult part of writing is also what makes it so great! If it was easy, just think how many writers there would be! Total chaos would ensue. We wouldn't recognize great writing when we saw it. So instead, consider each setback as a challenge; the more difficult the better ~ striving for a mountain top experience only the hardy will ever achieve. Now that's something worth working for. As the old saying goes, if we strive for perfection every day and only reach excellence, we've still put in a good day's work.

Today is all we have. How we spend it is our own decision. I hope you don't waste it worrying! Because worrying is like a rocking chair ... it gives you something to do, but doesn't get you anywhere!

Til next time ~

DL Larson


Rebecca said...

You took the words right out of my mouth. How did you know what I was thinking? Great post.

Deb Larson said...

Thanks! If we could only learn to relax just a bit!!!:)
DL Larson

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