February 10, 2010

Wing Tip #8: Dig in Deeper

"Some let the dream go gracefully.  Others do not go gently, attempting to write over the years, beginning journals only to let them lapse, showing up for writing workshop only to disappear after the first session.  If this describes you, it does not mean that you lack ability, though it may mean you lack ego.  But if you can't give it up, if hearing how impossible the odds are only makes you dig in deeper, it doesn't really matter if you've got natural talent.  Your job is to marshal the talent you do have and find people who believe in your vision.  What's important, finally, is that you create, and that those creations define for you what matters most, that which cannot be extinguished even in the face of silence, solitude, and rejection." --Besty Lerner, from The Forest for the Trees, An Editor's Advice to Writers

I start a lot of things.  I don't always finish.  That thought sometimes echoes around my head.  You'll never finish this novel.

A week ago, I pulled out a box full of old school papers.  As I thumbed through paper after paper I discovered writings from my younger self.  First grade, a story about my family in which I was the princess.  Third grade, a tale with more heart.  On and on, I found papers I'd written up through college.  Two diaries half-finished and scraps of stories everywhere.  All a peek into my young mind.  And there was something warm and reassuring in those papers.

I hadn't quit.  I'm still writing.  And if anything, seeing my young dreams made me more determined to continue. I'll dig in deeper.

What's something from your past (or present) that keeps you writing?


  1. Reading that old stuff can be so rewarding. Sure, the writing skill might not always be there, but usually the creative spark is... and I think finding (or re-finding) that helps me.

  2. Thanks for this great post. I loved the quote and your insights. I think writing takes equal amounts of work, bravery, and commitment. It can be a hard gig, and sometimes, I do feel like quitting. Yet, what I love about writing always draws me back. The characters. They never fail me, so I would hate to fail them by not telling their stories. Thanks for making me remember what I love about this craft and why it's worth doing.:)

  3. I love that quote. I think for me, it's the dream of seeing my hard work in bound format. That, and the constant encouragement of my friends.

  4. THE FOREST FOR THE TREES kept me writing when my second child was born, when I was sure I'd need to take a break because my life had suddenly gotten more complicated. Thank you, Betsy Lerner.

  5. I love looking back on past writing. Sometimes it's weird or hard, but it's always also encouraging.

    I think for me, it's the belief that I can be sustainable doing something that I love. Life doesn't have to be about "getting by;" it's about immersing yourself in things that make you feel happy and fulfilled. Writing does that for me.

  6. I've written two books now using the same core group of characters, and I'm not ready to let them fade away yet. They're begging me for more adventures, and I'm helpless to deny them.

  7. Hooray!!
    Every once in a while I "quit" writing. I get really fed up with it and decide i'm going to stop chasing that dream. But it's inside of me. I'll be in the shower after three days of not writing and go, "Oh! I have to write!" and i'm always so grateful for that.

  8. Hey! congrats on being a nanowrimo winner!! now that is a dream I have not yet reached. (although i always try!)

  9. Bane, yes the writing skills have improved. I'm thankful for that!
    Roxy, I agree wholeheartedly. They need their story told!
    Elana, that dream has spurred me on quite often.
    Caroline, did it really? I know, I love this book.
    SarahAnn, when I see others doing what they love, I get so excited.
    DL, if they're the ones you've shared then you definitely should keep writing those stories!
    Tricia, lol Those stories won't rest in our heads, will they? And thank you. :)

  10. Very encouraging post catherine, thank you. Your ending question is kind of haunting me right now. I think my block is not know what venue my style is right for. Non fiction, short articles of encouragement & stories of my own journey to freedom.
    Maybe it is just for blogdom, I have no driving desire for a book but to be recognized as a writer would be wonderful!

  11. I don't think it matters so much WHAT you write as long as you write. I've enjoyed your encouragement and see it as a strength of yours.

  12. I write. I just do. If I didn't write in one form than I would in another. I would like to have a novel published, but I am nourished, too, by the encouragement of critique and blog friends. I'm all smiles if I put up a haiku and people like it. I'd probably be happy if I wrote something on a wall--not that I would--and got a thumbs-up. ;)

  13. Tricia, good thoughts. Nourished is a perfect word for it!

  14. hello! how are you?
    happy valentine 2010 *_*


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