On Being A Writer

Writing is a passion that drives me to the brink, and sometimes over.  I hate it, love it, covet it, dream it, and cry over it.  I found a voice, maybe three, sometimes four, by writing.  It’s all true what the established writers say to those of us up and coming, just write and do it often, as much as you can even when you don’t want to, can’t or won’t.

I found writing during the worst time of my life.  I was in the middle of my very own personal Perfect Storm, with me in the middle of it thrashing about on a leaky raft taking on water faster than I could spoon it out.  It started with my father’s rare, but malignant brain tumor, my husband’s mysterious virus that turned into a remission only disease that sees him living on a healthy cocktail of experimental drugs.   Of course, back then I wore size 24.  I was big, but not as big as the life I was living in that didn’t fit me.

Writing was an accident to be honest.  It seemed a good idea at the time to write away my hurt.  I was spending a great deal of my time in hospitals between my father’s cancer, and my husband’s mysterious virus.  I had never kept a journal, but I had written a thousand or so letters, how hard would it be to keep a journal? It turned out (for me anyway) bloody hard to write in a journal every day.  But when I did manage to jot down my thoughts, it felt good, kind of like I had a secret friend that I could absolutely trust.

The daily thing was a challenge.  I didn’t take kindly to the routine.  It is good and bad, wonderful and miserable, and sometimes it’s been magical.  Each time it’s different.  I discount the first two years because I was learning.  I was learning to forgive, to love, to let go, to start over, to write, to fly, to try.  Now I am playing and am playful.  I practice with my voice, try out new techniques, like writing, dare I say this aloud, poems.  They’re not typical, but then poetry has its own guidelines.   Last year, on a whim, I tried Nanowrimo

.  More work than a marriage is writing 2,000 words a day, which is what it takes to write 50,000 words in a month.

Now the book and the re-write are finished, which includes an extra few thousand words.  PHEW!  I have to say this, and it’s not meant arrogantly, I am in awe of anyone that sits their butt down every day and writes word after word after word.  Whatever it is each of us writes, it takes discipline to make the commitment.  I suspect most of us squeeze our passions in and around our ‘other’ lives, the ones with kids, partners, parents, lovers, demanding careers.  We’ re amazing, don’t you think?

I know the hardest part of my journey is ahead of me because now that I begin the real work.  Finding an agent, or deciding if I will  e-pub, or both, but the worst is assuming my new persona, which is becoming a marketing trollop (this is the harder than writing the damn book!)

Having a dream, following it, but making it a reality, is a heck of lot harder than writing every day.

Why does anyone decide to write?  I ask myself that question almost daily.  Now that I am, and couldn’t live without writing, like a junkie on some illegal substance, I do wonder if there is cure for me as I am hooked on stringing words together, one by one, until there is an sentence, graf, followed by pages.

Are you following your dreams?

21 thoughts on “On Being A Writer

  1. Good for you!

    Writing and I have been together all of our life – it really is the best therapy, especially when there are things that you just don't feel you can express out loud.

    Doing something with my writing has become a more recent goal, so yes, I guess I am following my dream. But no matter what happens, I know that writing has served me well in so many more ways than being published.

    Hope you find success on your journey!

    • Thanks Amber… I couldn't agree with you more about writing. I don't know where I'd be without writing now, it's like my breath.

  2. I like how it's all a process, too, the building of a relationship with words. Thinking good thoughts for you on the next step. And if you have some advice on rewriting (off line), I'm all ears.

  3. Brenda, my nana would tell you that you've found your calling! And I for one am quite happy that you have because your words are always a wonderful form of inspiration. It matters not if I'm giggling or pondering thoughtfully posts like this one. Also, you're right, writing is a powerful healer. Therapists call it "therapeutic" and I agree. I find an escape in writing, not an escape from my problems but an escape from the daily grind that is life. Thanks to this medium, we are able to process, channel and internalize. So "ra ra" to the written word and for your blog posts!

    • Bella~ As always, your words are most appreciated. And writing, is so much more than therapeutic, it's the lifeline to our souls, and the greater world. Proclaiming to the world we are writers is a brave thing… Thanks kindly for visiting me, it's the coolest thing ever connecting with people you'd never ever met, otherwise.

  4. Isn't there something so magical about this word-linked-to-sentence-linked-to-paragraph-linked-to-page-to-chapter-to …? And you know what? Whether we write with the intention of therapy or not, there is always an archetypal urging beneath our words that prompts us in this direction…or that… Write on my virtual friend!

    • Cathy~ You have something there, regardless of the reason we writers, write, there is the inherent sense of something big and comforting that comes from that energy. I have no choice when I comes to writing, it's who I am now. As always, thank you for continuing to stop by.

  5. ~~~Brenda,

    I can honestly say that without writing…I may have

    gone insane by now.

    To some extent, writing has been my comfort, sanity & best friend.

    Words. I cannot get enough. I can escape. I cannot breathe without them.

    Love this sentence ….

    " I was big, but not as big as the life I was living in that didn’t fit me."

    Beautiful. Your words are beautiful.

    I feel as if my life does not fit me. Not now.

    xxxx Kisses

    • You don't have to explain to me about being half of something without writing. I walk crooked when I am not writing, which isn't often. I am glad you have your words, I sense your sister reads everything. Hugs to you.

  6. Brenda, I love how open you are. You aren't afraid to let people see you–all of you. I really admire that. You've been through a lot, but it's made you an amazing writer. You should be very proud of yourself.
    By the way, I love being able to see your writing space, and the view is so inspiring!

    • How you found that old post, Kelly, amazes me. You might be one of three who read it and now know me inside and out. I am overjoyed to have made your acquaintance this past year. And thank you kindly for your words. I am having fun exploring this side of my creative self.

  7. Carol Apple

    You have a beautiful view from your desk Brenda, and this is a beautiful essay about the magic and the dangerous adventure story of writing. Thank you for sharing how you started out, and how you persevered through difficulty. Best wishes for your adventure into publishing! I really do wish you greatest success, but you know that even if you become rich and famous, your joy will continue to be in the daily writing!

  8. I loved this post. My Nanowrimo experience was a bust – how arrogant I was to think I could do it with ease, and I was quickly humbled…but not diminished. I have only heard how challenging it is for a 'writer' to switch gears once their book is written and now they're thrust into the 'seller' role. As a mere novice still developing my writer's persona, I have no words of wisdom for you as you take on this new persona. However, understanding your will and your strength, I have every faith that you will simply create another character(s) to propel you through this next challenge – and your moment will come. Your writing is phenomenal.

    • Asta, on NaNo, the first time I tried I was where you are now – don't give up. By the following year, I was ready. Keep writing and thanks for reading. I am still not sure how the three of you found this old post, one of grrlguide's earliest, but glad you did.

  9. Astra

    I’m just noticing the dates if the previous comments !

    Weird.

    Notification and link came in my email box just this morning !

    Maybe the three if us needed to hear it today!

    • That is so strange.. I wondered. Thanks for telling me. I have no idea why. Whenever the gremlins of technology baffle me I always assume user error, but in this case I will need to investigate.

  10. Love your pink girly room with the frilly lamp and the pale pink desk. And such a lovely view!

    There are no new stories – we've all had love, disappointment, fear, thrilled anticipation – but NO ONE can tell my stories the way I can. This is why *I* write, because I have those magical stories inside me, fluttering their little butterfly wings, demanding to be set free.

    That, or it's an upset stomach, and what's coming out is better shared with the porcelain goddess. Still, I write on.

    • I too love my pink palace. Tis girly, but I love that room. I know about the fluttering and the stomach pains. In the early days, I kept them in my head, but later… they forced themselves out. Since then it's a much better place inside of my head. There is room for redecorating.

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