Friday, July 5, 2013

You Wanted a Decision?

You wanted me to have made a decision to become a career writer? Never happened. Maybe because I've always written. Even when I was in acting school. Even when I was singing professionally. It was like this photo - it isn't pretty. It isn't even that great a photo, but that building set all kinds of stories going in my brain. So I grabbed the shot. Acting, singing and writing. It was all telling stories.

True. There came a day when the common thread of communicating stories dawned on me.  At that point, I buckled down to stop screwing around with my stories - as in never finishing anything. Craft became the master. I became the student. For a REALLY long time. *Looks around.* Huh - maybe forever. And when I finished one story and sent it off, the rejection letter came back so fast, I got whiplash. But it was from Marion Zimmer Bradley. Still have that. The next rejection letter was slower in coming, but it was from Harlequin, it marked my first completed novel, and the letter wasn't a crooked photo copy. The editor, bless her heart, very kindly wrote a detailed letter informing me that I didn't know a thing about internal versus external conflict. She was right. I set out to learn.

The second novel never got a rejection letter. It was such a clust....erm...fatally flawed piece of work, it never went out. The third - an agent actually requested the full. I was sure that was it. But no. Also a rejection letter. Several, actually. From all over. A few of them were crooked photocopies.

What made me go from playing around with writing to actually wanting to finish things? Easy. Everything was a story for me. I had to write. I couldn't *not* write. So I might as well see if I could make anything come of that, right?

Also, I should point out, that commitment isn't a one time thing. It's on-going, a decision that gets made day by day. It isn't so much a commitment to writing. It's more a commitment to oneself - acknowledging and honoring that what you want and need (time indulging the voices in your head with some writing time) is equally important as anything else going on in your day. Sometimes that's easier than others. Here's my confession: I fall off the horse. I stop writing for days and weeks at a time. That's not important. Getting up, dusting off and getting back on - that's what's important. And that's commitment.

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