Tag Archives: supporting your writing and yourself as a writer

Moving Forward: The Next Step

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A few weeks ago I set-up a Facebook page to promote my upcoming copyediting services. Today, I’m fleshing it out, beefing it up, adding to it. There’ll still be more to do later on, as other ideas come to mind or become apparent, and as this venture grows: its own email account, a website, an actual business license(?), and so forth and so on.

This has been sooooo long in finally coming, this getting going, in a real sense, with having my writing begin to financially support me. Well, okay. This isn’t writing, nor “my writing,” per se. But it is something writing-centered that I can do, that I do well (when you consider where I currently am in the scheme of things copyediting-wise), and that hopefully will begin getting monies coming in from someplace other than my current hospital job.

And, speaking of which, I’ve recently had yet another nudge from the Universe reminding me that I really do need to start taking action in transitioning away from the sort of work that I took on when I moved here, out of necessity, and toward the heart-centered vocational writing stuff that I moved here to do. In numerous ways, things are now lined up favorably. There’s never gonna a perfect, risk-free, easy time to do this; but this current time is the widest opening I’ve had since moving here. Best to squeeze in, now, while the door is at its most opened.

The next phase of my plan to start some sort of professional freelance writing. In order to get things started, to get my foot in the door and my name out there, and in order to (once again) get non-hospital-job funds coming in, I might initially have to take on the writing of copy, and other sorts of writerly jobs, that I’m not particularly fond of and that I’d really rather not pursue. But I’ve gotta start somewhere, and even the “bottom” of the professional writers’ pit will still be getting paid to write.

Onward and (eventually) upward.

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Do You Know How Good You Are?

Recently, I visited a close friend for a couple of days. One of the things we did was watch YouTube videos of winning auditions for Britain’s/America’s Got Talent. Several times, one of the judges would say afterward to the performer, “Do you know how good you are?” Typically, the response was the performer began breaking down into tears.   I think that for many of us artists, we don’t have a clean perspective of our talents and abilities. We get lost in comparing ourselves to others, especially to others whom we look up to. Further, I also think we tend to shine a gilding light on the work of those others while keeping our own works dimly lit. We don’t give ourselves a fair shake. We hold up high the works of esteemed others, gazing at them in the same way as when we’re infatuated, in love. Our own works we nitpick, magnify what flaws we find, and pooh-pooh any elements that might reveal the caliber of our abilities and talent.   “Do you know how good you are?” No. And truthfully, I’m not sure I want to. If I did know, then I might have to act on that knowledge, be accountable to it. I don’t know if I’m ready to do that.

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The Age Thing

I turn fifty at the end of the week; and still I have no collection of my published work. Nor am I in any anthology, any other collection of writings. Other than where they were originally published, I have no works anywhere in the world.

Michelle Kodis once said, “Comparison is the root of all unhappiness.” So perhaps I ought not unfurl the litany of fellow writers who, back in their whippersnapper thirties and twenties, were miles ahead of where I currently am. Perhaps I should take heart, instead, with folks like John Irving,  Mary Oliver, and others who continue producing phenomenal work while significantly settled in “retirement age.” Writing is something I’ll be able to do for a long way on down the road. Something that will still be paying me, not requiring my living off of savings and Social Security.

But it’s not so much the financials that have me in a twist, due to my late start. It’s that feeling of insecurity due to being behind my fellows. The sense of impossibility in catching up. Of forever being too far behind.

But, also, it’s not as though I haven’t been writing for the last twenty years. That I’ve been away from my craft, playing tiddlywinks, instead. Being able to write well is a separate issue from being published. (And, likewise, to be sure, being published doesn’t mean you write well!)

Some things bear repeating; so let me say it again: “Comparison is the root of all unhappiness.” Perhaps comparing myself with others is a way of negating myself. So what if I’ll be in my fifties—or maybe even older—when I am finally published? That can also mean, among other things, that I’ll bring more to the table when published. More experience, more insight, more wisdom, more compassion, more empathy, more assuredness, more confidence. It is with these attributes that I’ll catch up with my fellows. Perhaps maybe not ever in quantity, but in quality, where it truly matters.

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Why Bother

I was brought up to not bother anybody. During the passing years, this has been transformed into a quiet, behind-the-scenes modus operandi. This is okay and good for dealing with people, especially at work, but it’s not such a good tendency for someone wishing to be a writer, to get their stuff “out there.” Case in point: Susan Tweit had to urge me repeatedly to check with High Country News regarding my essay they’d accepted eight or nine months before, to see where it was in their queue. When I did finally ask, after more than a month of Susan’s persistence, a whirlwind of activity ensued around my essay, which led to it being published not long after my query.

Further, when the local land trust organization recently held a reading at the local independent bookstore, I put off contacting anyone to find out whether I could be added, reading that same HCN essay. Once again, when I finally did ask, just one day before the reading, I was quickly added and included. As it turned out, I was last to read, and was told that my reading gave the event a proper ending.

It’s such a short distance between being brought up not to bother others and seeing yourself as being not worth the bother. In my last blogpost, I showed how this spilled into my perceptions of myself as a writer, and especially with seeing myself as a poet. In both of the mentioned circumstances regarding my High Country News essay, it was only after “bothering” somebody that my writing was finally able to fulfill its intent: to inform and serve.

Of course, this question of, Why bother, also applies at the beginning stages of writing, when envisioning and crafting each piece—even and especially the pieces of writing that never get beyond being just parts and pieces, never becoming wholly completed works. We bother doing the writing, and bother others about our writing, because in each case it turns out to be no bother at all.

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