Tuesday, December 10, 2019

WRITE Where You Are NOW

 About a month ago, a friend mentioned how much her daughter had enjoyed my holiday décor last year when she made a guest appearance at our writers’ club Christmas Dinner. As a teacher in Indonesia, she misses much of the traditional holiday festiveness celebrated here. The compliment stirred my enthusiasm for the fussing over Christmas that would soon descend upon our home.

Last week as I set about tucking away fall, replacing the oranges, browns, and yellows, with reds, greens, and golds, I couldn’t help but think about Mandy’s comment. “If she only knew . . . ” I murmured. That the multiple totes my husband hauls from the attic contain a most eclectic, random assortment of items. Tucked among the gold tree ornaments, nativity and stable, and my snowmen collection is a vast array of fabric scraps, bits of ribbon, stray pine cones, silk flowers ranging from the no stem variety to singles to a few well-worn bunches, pine branches and garland in random lengths and of a variety of “needle” material, as well as mounds of cotton batting that substitute as snow. Let’s not forget the few hand-crafted creations that have survived from my children’s long-ago elementary school days.

For years finances permitted very few dollars be allotted toward decorations. Hence the scavenging and collecting that led to the random contents of many totes. While I could afford now to replace some of my bits and pieces with real rather than pieced-together décor, I prefer the make-do-with-what-I-have approach. In fact, I think my favorite part of decorating for Christmas is the fashioning of arrangements and accents and festive touches throughout the house from the bits and pieces wrought from years of collecting. Had I waited to do “real” decorating until I had enough “real” decorations, we would have missed out on a lot of holiday cheer across a good number of years.

The same principle rings true for writing. If we wait until we have more time to write or better ideas, nothing may ever be written. Maybe it’s the yearning for additional training or an agent or an interested publisher that keeps some of us from taking that first or next big step. But waiting to feel like a “real” writer will get you nowhere. That sense that we’ll “arrive,” maybe hopefully someday, has to be one of the more common pitfalls writers face.

Rather than postpone serious efforts to move forward, choose, for now, to make do with what you have and where you are. If you can only carve out minutes here and there to write, then do it.

“But I can’t afford to travel to a big conference.” Then look for online courses and seek out blogs and podcasts that teach story-crafting skills.

“If only I knew or lived close to other writers.” In this digital age, an entire community of experienced writers willing to share their knowledge and expertise is literally at your fingertips.

While you peruse and seek, WRITE. Look for networking and connecting opportunities. And WRITE. Read and study and practice what you’re learning. And WRITE. Don’t wait until all your writing ducks fall into place to get serious about committing your thoughts, ideas, characters, and storylines to paper or hard drive.

Be willing to start where you are, with the time, tools, and resources at your disposal right now. But don’t get too comfortable with your present circumstances. Push yourself to improve. Challenge yourself to learn and grow. Set realistic goals and edge forward. 

The key is to consider yourself a “real” writer. Not someday, when the kids have grown or the spare room’s been converted into an office, or you get an agent. But today. Because what do real writers do? They write.

Beth connects with the YA crowd via substitute teaching and through her “back booth” office at the local fast food joint, and by reading YA fiction.

She's a "cheerleader" for saving sex for marriage and for "renewed waiting" because it's never too late to make wiser choices. She writes and speaks about her experiences as a "foundling" who located her birth parents and is making up for lost time with her biological family. Find her at BethSteury.com and on Facebook at Beth Steury, Author.

1 comment:

  1. Great advice! I have been learning how to write fiction for ten years now. I've grown in skills enough that an agent has faith in me and wants to go to bat for me with publishers. That may be too slow of a road for some, but it's the pace the Lord gave me as I went though other events in life. In that time, I've provided articles for our local paper, learned how to blog, and discovered I enjoy writing short stories and flash fiction.No part of the learning process has been wasted.