A year ago, I read a brilliant book by Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. It tells you the two things you need to do to write.
Thing 1: Read
Thing 2: Write
And then hang in there. He talks about all the rejection slips he accumulated along the route to his first publication.
I receive at least one rejection a week and there are times when my growing folder of rejections makes me want to sulk in the bathroom, but then I remember Stephen King, his perseverance, and remind myself that there are no shortcuts in life.
He stresses other qualities as well; such as perfecting your craft by paying attention to the language, writing honestly about things that interest you, but the one point that he always returns to, is the importance of reading.
As you must have guessed, I am not a published writer. I am not really in a position to give anyone any tips, but I do have a love for the written word and a conviction that you can’t go wrong as long as you are doing what you love to do.
I write because I am a quiet person with a loud mind and writing is the only way I know how to express myself. It’s my way of reaching out to other people. I write with the hope that somewhere, somehow, someone might read my words and share my thoughts, but writing is magic and all things magical require behind the scene work.
Writing is not a choice. People write because they are compelled to do so. Being a published author is part choice, part luck, determination, and hard work.
No one owes me anything. For anyone to take out the time to read something I have written is an honour and I am grateful to all those editors who take time to read my stories and write back to me. I am especially grateful to the ones who take care to word the rejection kindly, and even more appreciative of the ones who give me useful feedback.
All of this, the reading, the writing, and the submitting requires time, but while focused on that goal, I constantly remind myself of what is truly important in life and that’s the people in it. The people that I love are my reason for being; arriving at the destination would be pointless without someone to share the view with.
Oh, yes, just last week, I received a letter in the mail from the Writer’s Union of Canada. One of my stories made it to the second round of their 22nd Annual Short Prose Competition for Developing Writers. It might not be much, but it is enough to give me hope and hope is all you need to keep going.
This morning, I found this quote by Mary Anne Radmacher on my Facebook feed, so here’s to all of you out there who are struggling the way I am:
“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.”