"Just to be clear, let me see if I’m describing you right: You love to read, you always have. You think words are powerful and beautiful and devastating when used correctly. You have a story, ideas, a lot to say. These things rattle around in your brain and if you don’t get them on paper, YOU JUST MIGHT DIE. You’ve always been a good communicator; you prayed for an essay test over those devil-sanctioned multiple-choice scantrons. You stare at your laptop like a frenemy. If you could just sit down with it for an extended time and write your words, or maybe if you could just set it on fire and be free of it, or both, you would finally be happy. And, of course, there is teeny tiny, oh so tiny part of you, so tiny you have to whisper it, tiny tiny little bit that says I want to be published because that will make me real."
The words coursed through my veins, lighting up my insides. It was like Jen Hatmaker knew me or something, especially in regards to the part about the essay test vs. the multiple-choice scantrons. (An aside - I did get to meet and HUG the incredibly talented, hilarious, and insightful author & speaker at a conference in Dallas at the end of March and it easily made my week. So now I sort of do feel like we know each other.) Writing can be such an isolating activity and it helps to know there's a community of established writers out there who are willing to impart wisdom and advice about the process. Here are a few gems from the post that really encouraged and inspired me:
"Don’t disqualify yourself from writing before you even get started. A writer is a person who writes words. The end. Do you know who asked me to write my first book? Zero people. No one said, you should do this hard thing or we really want to hear from you in print form. Writer: 1, People Who Asked Me to Write: 0. I wrote for two reasons: I wanted to and had something to say."
"If you want to and have something to say, write...Writers don’t wait for someone else to tell them they should or can. You should and you can."
"I am devastated to bring this bad news, but writing requires work. Kind of hard, brutal, sanity-threatening work. All the writing dreams in your head have to transition to your ten fingers on a keyboard, and I’m afraid there is no other way. (I’m sorry. Take your time.) Work requires time, which of course, you have none of. This is the writer’s dilemma. You will not miraculously become a writer by carrying on exactly like you are. It’s a whole thing and you have to make room for it."
There is so much goodness in the post; what I showcased here will just give you a little taste of all that Jen's post has to offer. Head on over to her site to read the post in its entirety, and I'll leave you with this, my very favorite part:
"Do not become immobilized by good writing already out there. Stop that this instant. Literature is not an exercise in scarcity. The world always needs good writing. There is room for you. Don’t be intimidated by successful writers; be inspired by them. Every good writer wrote his or her first piece at one point. Do your time; there is space for you at the party."
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