January 2, 2013

IWSG - here's hoping

the debate in my head over what to write for this post every month goes on and on. for today, i thought about giving you links to past IWSG posts since i thought i had nothing new to say. 
i could have expanded on a great post by February Grace about when is enough enough in our writing? she said it so eloquently in the first place that there’s no need to add more.
then i thought about posting some of my favorite quotes about dreams and how important they are to writing and life in general. they’re already posted on my website, so you can find them here if you’re interested. 
i finally settled on some writing quotes from Anne Lamott. i think she has one of the most refreshing, honest takes on writing out there.  
“The society to which we belong seems to be dying or is already dead. I don’t mean to sound dramatic, but clearly the dark side is rising. Things could not have been more odd and frightening in the Middle Ages. But the tradition of artists will continue no matter what form the society takes. And this is another reason to write: people need us, to mirror for them and for each other without distortion-not to look around and say, ‘Look at yourselves, you idiots!,’ but to say, ‘This is who we are.” 
“We write to expose the unexposed. Most human beings are dedicated to keeping that one door shut. But the writer’s job is to see what’s behind it, to see the bleak unspeakable stuff, and to turn the unspeakable into words - not just into any words but if we can, into rhythm and blues. You can’t do this without discovering your own true voice, and you can’t find your true voice and peer behind the door and report honestly and clearly to us if your parents are reading over your shoulder.” 

“To be a good writer, you not only have to write a great deal but you have to care. You do not have to have a complicated moral philosophy. But a writer always tries, I think, to be a part of a solution, to understand a little about life and to pass this on.”
“When what we see catches us off guard, and when we write it as realistically and openly as possible, it offers hope. You look around and say, Wow, there’s that same mockingbird; there’s that woman in the red hat again. The woman in the red hat is about hope because she’s in it up to her neck, too, yet every day she puts on that crazy red hat and walks to town.”

“So why does our writing matter, again?” they ask. Because of the spirit, I say. Because of the heart. Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again.”

finally, i’ll leave you with some of my hopes for you this year.

š i hope you fight for your dreams, whether they’re about writing or something else.

š if your dream is to get an agent or a publisher, i hope you have the courage to submit as many letters and synopses and manuscripts as are necessary. i also hope a publisher sees the value of your story.

š if the publishers don’t see the value of your story, i hope you have the courage to get your story out there in some form. we need more good stories.

š if your dream is to self-publish or put out an e-book, i hope you put in the effort to do what’s necessary. in some ways, it requires more discipline and dedication than going the traditional route.

š i hope you don’t base your value as a writer (or a person) on finding a publisher, how well your book sells, how many good reviews you get, or your author rankings at Amazon or anywhere else.

š i hope you can enjoy the successes of other writers and not compare yourself to them. we’re each on our own journey.

š i hope your story touches the people it’s supposed to touch.

š i hope you find critique partners who are just tough enough but not so tough they discourage you.

š i hope you’re surrounded by people who support your desire to write and can encourage you when you feel like quitting.

š i hope you find at least one writer friend. it helps to have someone understand what it’s like to live with characters in your head.

š when the writing is easy, i hope you enjoy it for the gift that it is.

š when the writing is hard, i hope you can sit down and write anyway.

š when you want to give up, i hope you keep going. we need your voice and your story and your way of looking at things. no one writes like you do.

 happy new year to my blogging friends, new and old. may your year be full of more good than bad, more positive than negative, and more successes than failures. be well, happy, blessed, and courageous.

for more of what i’m sure will be great posts, here’s a link to Alex’s IWSG blog list.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Expand our sense of life - I like that idea!

Misha Gerrick said...

That's an amazing list of good wishes for writers.

I especially have to keep in mind that publishing does not determine my worth. Every now and then, I sort of get trapped in that thinking, which just makes the whole process worse than it is. :-)

Rachel Schieffelbein said...

What a wonderful list of wishes! Thanks for sharing!

Ciara said...

That is an amazing list. What an original post idea for IWSG. Great job!

dolorah said...

Awesome list of hopes and dreams. I am always inspired when I visit here Michelle.


VR Barkowski said...

What a touching post, Michelle. Your list of hopes is an inspiration. Thank you.

~VR Barkowski

Unknown said...

Wow, sniffle, sniffle, this was a seriously touching post. I may need a Kleenex. This is my first time on your blog, but I'll for sure be back. You're a great encourager. Happy New Year and happy writing! I look forward to reading more of your posts. :)