Saturday, December 24, 2011

Writing’s Gifts

This Christmas Eve, with all its promised gifts and with the year’s end soon to urge individuals into introspection, I find myself reflecting on what writing has given me. My ninth-grade teacher would be gratified to know improved grammar is one blessing. To be published one needs to know grammar, plus all the proofing and editing involved demands it. This gift led to a teaching job, a huge gift, but there are many others.
Writing lets me give my imagination free reign; for once the world is mine (insert evil laugh) and I can do with it what I like. Writing gives me a voice. Does that equate to imaginary power, or power through imagination?
Having a book published, even one not on the NYT Bestsellers list, gave me innumerable insights. The biggest gift is not the celebrity or notoriety some writers receive, but satisfaction. Satisfaction found in finishing a work and conquering the struggles that erupt throughout the project. (Don’t you struggle at some point in every writing project?) Satisfaction came when a publisher accepted my manuscript, and those readers who have bought my books seem to enjoy my words! Along with satisfaction are closely related aspects of pleasure, perseverance, and accomplishment.
I’ve received more than satisfaction. When I began to recognize my mistakes and learned to correct and improve my work, I learned craft. As I now tell my classes, writing teaches thinking, like following a logical order, and looking at all aspects of a situation to discover both the subtle as well as the obvious choices. I also learned about criticism and rejection, and while difficult to accept, they offer a challenge to do better.
Once introduced into the publishing world, another gift emerged -- a community of writers as varied and interesting as the characters found on a library’s bookshelves: some helpful, friendly, and supportive, some spicy with strong opinions, and others quiet and slow to engage.
Everyone believes they have a story inside them. (If you think the plural pronoun agreement with indefinite singular antecedent is wrong – check out Merriam Webster’s Ask the Editor – it’s such a relief!) I was determined to write mine. I’m sure many writers on this list have similar feelings, and most likely have discovered other gifts. What is stopping your from writing your story?


Liz Flaherty said...

Nice post. We are so fortunate in our gifts, aren't we? Merry Christmas.

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

The ability to write books, tell stories, whether published or unpublished, is a gift. The stories take us out of ourselves and add perspective to our real lives.

Good post, thanks for the reminder.

January Bain said...

Rhobin, I am so grateful for my gift of imagination. Merry Christmas to you and your family! Best, January

Rita Bay said...

Even if they're not published, they're still your stories. I told myself that for about four years, while my stories languished unsubmitted. Unfortunately, I had submision anxiety. Fortunately,I joined a group of unpublished but determined and supportive fellow RWA chapter members. They gave me the confidence to submit my work. Published or about-to-be-published is better. Rita Bay