For The Love Of…Discovering The Writer In You
by Artemis Crow
Maya Angelou is one of my favorite writers. The beauty of her poetry, the wisdom of her words speak to my heart as few others have. Perhaps I will never speak to others as she has to me, but I can take her words and clutch them to my heart as I write my stories in hopes they become transformative. So, borrowing Maya’s words (in bold), I want to write about discovering the writer in you.
With so many people in the country sheltering in place, you may find time on your hands. Have you ever desired to write a story? A poem? A memoir? Maya says:
There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.
If you have a story, why not write the outline, the story question that’s been stuck in your mind, coming to the fore occasionally, only to be jammed to the back again when home, work, family demands your time? Tell that untold story, or at least get the idea on paper for now so you can turn to it and show it a little love in the quiet times.
I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.
Oh, boy, was this ever the case when I made the decision to write. So much to learn that I faltered a few times when my self-confidence tapped me on the shoulder and asked for a long time-out. Light at the end of the tunnel? Hah, that’s not just a saying. It felt very dauntingly real for months, even years as I studied craft and wrote two books that will never be released. But, one day, you will see the craft in the writing of your favorite authors. You’ll go, “Aha, that’s the inciting incident!”
We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.
Let’s be perfectly frank here. Writing is hard. I know, I know. That’s one of those insufferable lines that people tell you, like “When it’s true love, you’ll just know.” Unfortunately, they were right about love, and I’m right about writing. Egads, there was so much to learn; I had no idea. That’s because the authors I loved were so good at writing, that it seemed seamless. I’ll be the first to admit, I actually told my husband, “I think I’ll write a book. It can’t be that hard.” Grimacing here. So trust me when I say, if you haven’t been writing, or have never written a book, gird your loins, there’s a lot to do and to learn to achieve the beauty and glory of your favorite authors. But you can do it!
If you’re always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.
I adore this quote so, so much, and it speaks to writing in a specific way…voice. Voice seems elusive, and it can take a while for you to find that unique way you have of telling a story. You will find it though and when you do, revel in it. Don’t try to write a passage exactly like another author. Each of us has a unique life experience, a unique way we see the people and things around us, a unique way that we interpret the social cues coming at us daily. Channel that uniqueness into your writing and you will be a long way toward becoming a writer that readers will recognize on the first page. Voice is to be celebrated!
You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.
Never more true than with writing. The more you write, the better you get at it. The Great American Novel is not going to spring out of you and onto the page without a lot of words before it. So write. Write poetry, short stories, micro-stories, novelettes, novellas. Write a sentence using refrigerator magnets, anything, just write. It will take time, it will take patience, so give yourself permission to suck, and I mean really suck at writing for a while. It will happen!
Whatever you want to do, if you want to be great at it, you have to love it and be able to make sacrifices for it.
You can’t force yourself to spend the time learning and writing if you don’t find something to love about it. It took me a while, but I grew to love it. Enough to carry me through the years it took to get better at writing and develop the world for my series. I’ve sacrificed time and money, I’ve sweated bullets over a whole group of scenes, only to delete them in the final editing. You have to be willing to put your ego aside, while at the same time, developing a thick skin when you finally release a book. And you must continue to do that with every book you put out.
Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away.
There’s nothing I enjoy more than having a scene, a moment, steal my breath. As you write, strive for those moments in your stories. Take your own breath away, and you will surely steal that of your readers. Those moments are precious and lead me to Maya’s next saying that is so critical:
I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
For me, that is the ultimate goal in my writing. I want my readers to feelwhen they finish my books. When I read a book and go to review it, I delve less into the actual story, but how it made me feel. Isn’t that what a great story does? When you write the first draft, just get the story down. Don’t worry about perfection. That’s what the rewrites are for—finding the places where you can insert the scenes that will make your readers, laugh, cry, squirm (depending on your genre). Make it true to the story and characters, of course, but when it’s true your readers will feel it. A great way to know that you’ve succeeded even before the release of the book? The scene makes you feelevery time you read it!
If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform one million realities.
I think of all the measures of success I can envision, this is the big one for me. That I can take the seed of an idea, write it and touch people’s lives. I think that’s a goal for any artist. I know that Maya Angelou touched so many hearts and minds; I hope that by using her words to talk about writing, I have inspired you to give it a try. There’s little that feels as good as holding your book in your hands, making that first sale, getting your first rave review. So I encourage you to take that solitary fantasy, write it out, and transform a million realities!
May your words flow freely,
Leona’s Descent – https://amzn.to/2yaDfjW
Libra’s Limbo – https://amzn.to/2q3VkNg
Leona’s Cage – https://amzn.to/2QTbVyp
Gemini Asunder – https://amzn.to/2PyNUig