“Life is a mirror and will reflect back to the thinker what he thinks into it.”~Ernest Holmes, American Theologist
“I want to be a writer.”
I hear this from strangers. I hear this from my writers group. I hear this from NaNoWriMo participants and winners. I also hear it from published authors.
I am a writer.
I’ve often imagined being interviewed on TV or for a magazine–who hasn’t?–and I would say “I’m a good writer. No, I’m a great writer. I also know I can learn more and my craft can be refined.”
I don’t need validation to prove I’m a great writer, but it sure doesn’t hurt!
Maybe you’re someone who just picks up a pen and scribbles words and images. What do you want to be? Are you a writer? Are you an artist? You have to believe in yourself and, if necessary, prove to yourself that you are what you want to be.
Even though I am a great writer, I need to remind myself. How do I do that?
Well, I write.
I am fortunate to have publishing opportunities, like writing two columns for Michigan Scrapbooker Magazine. My latest article combines my love of writing with scrapbooking funky little mini albums. Check out my current article creating map mini albums, pages 18-19. Don’t stop there. Explore all the digital issues. Support this free, magazine, especially if you live in Michigan.
I belong to an awesome writing critique group, Deadwood Writers. It’s tough to find a strong support network, but these people are that. They cut apart my submitted manuscripts into teeny tiny word scraps, and I love them for that. I took writing classes in college, and those classes taught me to have a thick skin when it comes to suggested revisions. I get nothing from people who comment, “Oh, that’s a nice piece.” The most useful thing is for someone to tell me, “This sentence doesn’t work. This whole paragraph is redundant. You’re telling us, not showing us. Consider rewriting this whole page.” To those people, I say, Thank You! The story is mine to write, the direction is mine to write, but it’s good to know what is confusing or awkward to others.
So we practice writing. One year ago, the group began a website, Deadwood Writers Voices. I have a monthly column. My blog posts appear on the 18th of the month, and they tend to focus on my adventures in self publishing. My latest post discusses how I use Instagram to promote my writing and discover a community.
Twitter is another place I find a community of people and writers who share wisdom and knowledge, and they have fun playing in 140 characters or less. One user, @WriterlyTweets, does a weekly six-word story challenge. My Tweet this week was popular and shared, or retweeted, almost a dozen times. It may not seem like a lot, but I’m feeling the Twitter Love. How can you not put six simple words out there? Success and belief starts with small steps. Six words is a good starting point.
I also find outlets to give me a fresh perspective on writing. Coffee shops are my favorite. Yes, I am that trendy hipster sitting in the corner, typing on my laptop or scribbling revisions on copy paper and notepads. You can also find the unexpected in places like that. An independent bookstore in Ann Arbor, Literati, just opened a coffee shop on the second floor. That’s it: a coffee shop. The Espresso Bar serves coffee and espresso drinks. No pastries, no sandwiches, nothing to distract you from the fresh locally-roasted coffee. The basement, however, houses nonfiction books and…hold your breath…a typewriter. No, a real typewriter. Completely manual. The carriage return level must be pushed by hand to move down to the next line.
Remember when you had to hold your breath lest you made a mistake? Or maybe you don’t recall any machine that didn’t have spellcheck. Whether it’s a throwback or discovery for you, the store encourages you to type thoughts of wisdom or craziness or just words. I can’t resist myself, and I make it a point to carefully compose words before I leave. The deliberateness of it all, the tentative way my fingers hover over the keys, the purposeful punch each finger makes…it all scares me and frees me. This is my latest contribution, a haiku about writing.
Do you have a place to inspire you to create you? If not, find one!