The Writer’s Rite of Passage

writers riteDeciding to pursue a creative passion—such as writing—for some is the most difficult decision they’ll ever make. For some it’s a calling thus eliminating the stress of selection. Yet for others it’s a folly, a spring fling, only played with until the next fancy delights and promises a momentary diversion. For the tormented artist there is only the passion and the decision they’ve made to chase the dream wherever it leads. There is no flirting or false commitment.

The road travelled to create is fraught with extremes–successes, failures, personal growth, and in some cases, lifestyle revamping. The peaks and valleys can rock, and in some cases even crack the foundation of the most dedicated and passionate artist. Ideally there would be an even keel in the creative process, with no explosions of energy or the draught of inactivity that is typically followed by wallowing and critical introspection of ability.

There are starts and stops, endless questioning of craft and sanity, and the dreaded, but expected failure, which accompanies the successes. Doubt becomes a constant companion, and can be intensely destructive if given free reign. However, if the writer (any artist, really) stays on top of his/her emotional swings, uncertainty can be turned on it’s head and used to push through the personal crisis allowing the writer to carry on until the darkness has passed.

All paths walked in the quest to understand and define a unique expressive technique, on through to the never-ending pursuit of mastering the craft, are the rites of passage that lead to a writer to becoming a word-wizard and master storyteller. As each stage of the learning process–through the trials and tribulations, achievements and grounding ah-ha moments—are overcome, knowledge and prowess accumulate, which inadvertently alters, and in many cases, redefines, the topography of a person, now writer.

Finally the writer is comfortable enough in their skin to proclaim to the world their passion and the commitment to write. The writer, now shiny and new, is eager to share her/his know-how, the shortcuts and secrets, and the hard won wisdoms, with the world. The right to write about the writer’s rite of passage for some is the reward for slogging through the muck and darkness, and not throwing in the towel. Yet for others it’s the desire to pay forward and share the benefit of their strife in the hope of saving another writer from the arduous and steep learning curve (honorable but this isn’t truly possible). And then there are those writers, of which I am one, who write about writing the sake of the their sanity.

Writing is the subject tackled by every writer, either in an essay or blog post, and in due course, the author interview. All writers are prone to dissecting their method in hopes of understanding the magic. A large percentage of what happens is good old mojo and will never be unraveled, at least not entirely. Not everything is definable nor can it be broken down into perfectly defined measurements and a dot-to-dot how-to. Writing, the verb, the noun, the art, and the practice, is a mystery, and to some extent as allusive as love. The desire and burning need to debunk the magic of something we can’t quite explain is human nature. It’s a folly for sure but it doesn’t stop us from trying.

To some extent I’ve accepted the daily rite at face value. It’s my daily call to action to spend as much available time alone with the page. I purge. I mess around. I create, and sometimes I get it right and make a little magic. I am intrigued by my voice, where it came from, why I write, and what motivates me to crawl inside the nucleus of an emotion. I question my ability constantly. I wallow in the tepid pool of tears if a rejection letter—regardless of how thoughtful it is—awaits me in my in box. But as intrigued as I am about my fragile eco system, I am more interested in hearing other writer’s stories. We learn from one another. We live vicariously through others. We are excited for our peer’s wins as well feel their pain when they lose. We’re a nerdy bunch. We have no excuses for our behavior and hope our families don’t move us out to the garage. We can’t help ourselves.


In the coming weeks I am hosting a variety of talented writers in a mixture of mediums. If you’re a writer with an adventurous spirit and willing to share your POV with The Writer’s Rite, on Wednesdays, email me at

What advice would you offer a novice or a person teetering on the edge of commitment?


I’m a writer and hoarder of one-size-fits-all panty hose. Until the hose fits over my bum, I write to provide an alternative view on writing and perfection.

13 thoughts on “The Writer’s Rite of Passage

  1. This is so well put. I have finally accepted that writing is just who I am. I make my entire living writing, both as a freelance writer as a novelist, so things like writer’s block aren’t an option. (Although you don’t really get writer’s block writing about topsoil as you do when you’re writing fiction, to be fair!) I would love to share with you…I’ve been writing for 20 years, so I have an interesting perspective. I’ll email you now.
    Stephanie Faris recently posted….Scary October: The Whaley HouseMy Profile

  2. What advice would I offer a novice writer? Write what you know, write from the heart, let go of preconceived directions you think your book should take, write even when you don’t feel inspired, expect rejections, believe in your work, and keep plugging away!
    Brenda, let me think about participating in The Writer’s Rite. I’m looking at completing books two and three of Adventures in the Glade. (#2 is ‘done’ but, needs lots of tender-loving edits.) I’ll be in touch!
    Love and blessings!
    Martha Orlando recently posted….Like Little ChildrenMy Profile

  3. For me, it was a calling, but that doesn’t make it any easier or stressful. I would tell a novice to keeping dreaming, keep believing, and keep writing. It’s important for writers to dream big as long as we stay grounded in reality. It’s also imperative that we keep believing, especially as the rejections letters keep piling up. And, of course, continuing to write through all the ups and downs is how we will ever get anywhere.

    Great post!
    Chrys Fey recently posted….Author Interview with Sandra DaileyMy Profile

  4. Ashantay Peters

    A beautifully written post., and I love your humorous ending! Writers often work alone, but our “support systems” make that possible, whether it’s a critique partner who praises work you thought stunk, or a partner who cooks dinner when you are too tired to think. Please keep writing, Brenda!

  5. Barbara Bettis

    Great post!! I especially connected with this line early on: “explosions of energy or the draught of inactivity that is typically followed by wallowing and critical introspection of ability.” That so described my early days of writing. And I still get more done on some days than those on which I could swear my muse has packed up and left for Tahiti. You really made me smile!!!

  6. I don’t like to analyze my writing too much. I just dig in and write, simply because I enjoy it and it makes me happy. That’s all I need to know about writing. I may never be a published author, but I don’t care. I’m just enjoying the journey!
    Monica recently posted….Ebola, ShmolaMy Profile

  7. Awesome read!

    I love writing and it defines who I am to an extent that it makes me feel proud. My family doesnt read me, or like what I do but the joy it brings along is more than enough for me to sail through those moments of self doubt <3

  8. Lovely post. A good one for any aspiring (or blocked) writer to read.

    “Understanding the magic?” I don’t even try. I just write because when I don’t, I get cranky. When the magic works, I stand back and let it work through me. When it doesn’t, I keep trying.

    By the way, I live in the garage.

  9. Kayden Claremont

    Loved your post. I write. period. If I don’t I’m very crabby, so the world around me understands my need to spend time in another world.

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