Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Writer’s Holiday Gift

By Ginny Padgett

Even though I consider myself a veteran writer, I have just been published for the first time under my own name in the Petigru Review, SCWW’s literary journal. So I guess, technically, I am considered a newbie in the writing/publishing game. I use the word, “game,” as euphuism for an artless business driven by the greed for cold cash.

I attended my first writers’ conference in October, and this is my ‘Aha Moment:’ I may be writing in the wrong genre. How can I tell? The answer seems to me that no one has yet bought what I have previously written. The story snippets I heard during a slush-pile session made me realize I may not be a story teller. Perhaps I’m more of an observer/reporter. Whatever the designation, I claimed myself a writer. Discovering my self confidence was worth the price of the conference registration.

Recently Janie Kronk sent out some words of wisdom to our chapter email group from a writer who knows his stuff. Probably most of you have seen this, but this is my holiday gift to those reading our blog and wondering if they are writers, if they could be writers, if they should try to be writers. We can all use the encouragement and inspiration all year long. Happy Holidays!

Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through. - Ira Glas

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