“Writing is easy. You just sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
Thanks so much for your continued support and readership, as we embark upon a new year full of promise and unlimited possibilities. I'm delighted to have you here. Whether you're an old fan or a new friend here, I value your time, feedback and interaction. It's a pleasure to connect with you and share my love of the written word and my desire to help you "learn more and earn more," at Pen & Prosper.
If you're on board, let's get busy with today's post. As always, I welcome your questions and comments. It helps us all to learn and grow. In the words of Clint Eastwood: "Go ahead and make my day." :-)
THE COURAGE TO BE A WRITER
When most folks think about “bravery,” they typically associate it with careers like firefighters, police, or professionals that sacrifice their well-being through heroic efforts and life-saving rescue.
Which is true by standard definition. But those of us who carve a living from words know all too well how courageous this way of life is too. It’s not for the feint of heart.
In fact, truth be told, I never envisioned myself as a writer growing up.
Though I have always loved the act of writing creatively, I only pursued it professionally because my mom “guilted” me into it. I was afraid.
More on that story at another day and time…
LIVING OUR LIVES OUT LOUD…Writing makes us vulnerable. Sharing our thoughts, experiences, family dysfunctions, inner-demons, mistakes, and neuroses leaves us as “exposed” as a hospital examination gown.
Writers must withstand judgment, criticism, controversy, rejection, and even “haters“.
And yet, we enter the proverbial “ring” each day and find the courage to battle doubt, slay personal fears, defeat procrastination and move forward.
Not to mention that many of us are introverts and have to contend with the awkwardness of sharing a certain “intimacy” and honesty in expressing ourselves in public arenas; if we are to make a real impact with readers.
MY EPIPHANYA few weeks ago, I received my first book review (which is how this issue with courage initially manifested). When the email arrived in my inbox, I was afraid to open it. I was so nervous, I felt the need for a cigarette. And I don’t even smoke.
After reading it, I wasn’t quite sure how to feel; the review was both positive and negative. Would I submit to one again? Probably. And here’s why: as uncomfortable as it was to open myself and my work up to scrutiny, the review was helpful and insightful. No matter what the reviewer felt or thought, my ebook was STILL a career accomplishment. Good or bad, it represented a finished, marketable product and another “chapter” in my writing journey.
A PARADIGM SHIFT…Writers, let’s face it: you’ll never receive a “Purple Badge of Honor” for your efforts, courage and resilience. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t feel empowered and proud, just the same. In fact, we don’t have to look to characters in the novels that we read to be inspired or to embrace it.
Celebrate the courage you show each time you:
- Write and publish a blog post
- Continue to blog without consistent comments from readers
- Survive a negative book review
- Submit to a publisher who has rejected your work previously
- Seek agent representation
- Take a new class to develop your skills
- Send out a pitch letter
- Refuse to allow writer's block to put you in a state of panic
Without it, there’s no growth, progress or gain.
So, if you’re good to go, here’s how to cultivate more of it in 2017:
Have the chutzpah to define success on your own terms.
Like Ralph Waldo Emerson did. It’s not always about bottom line figures or social media numbers; success can be about honoring your own personal truths, or overcoming obstacles.
Connect with other scribes by leaving comments on blogs you read, or via social media platforms you engage with weekly.
Don't be afraid of grammatical errors, language barriers, or being potentially embarrassed by mistakes.
We're not here to judge; we're not your English teacher.
Read. Explore. Print. Embrace.
The following quotes on courage:
Take more calculated risks.
If you're writing part-time, for instance, determine what it would take to go full-time.
Apply for gigs you would not have in the past. Make this your year to take your efforts to the next level and advance your swagger!
In other words, be yourself. Don't try to follow every fad, "expert" recommendation, or path navigated by other bloggers. Instead, learn from the best; but don't ignore your own inner-guidance, individual style, or personal goals.
"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them."
Happy New Year!
Be fearless. Leave a comment. :-)
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