Honour Yourself as a Writer

Last night I went on a spending spree at Chapters, the mega bookstore in this area. I went in for The Writers magazine and came out many dollars lighter. (Debit cards are a blessing and a curse). I bought a new thesaurus which I already love and A Writer’s Book of Days which I’m building up into love for. Judy Reeves wrote it and I’ll look her up online later.

Anyway, there is so much encouragement, inspiration and creativity in this book for writers. I highly recommend you find it at your local bookstore.

I’ve paraphrased and added my thoughts to one of her articles. This is one of her essays which caused me to buy the book.

Honour Yourself as a Writer

Name yourself a writer. Give your writing preference over your day job, affirm the place it holds in your life. Tell them you’re a freelance writer when someone asks what you do. Let yourself be proud to be a writer, whether you’re raking in the bucks from writing or not. Don’t put your writing in second place, like a hobby you might mention if someone asks. Honour yourself as a writer, just like Judy Reeves says!

Make a place for your writing, furnish it with materials that support you and your writing. Keep the space sacred and go there joyfully. I especially like this idea from her book. Make yourself a writing alter, take notes from the Pagans on making an alter. But, whatever you do make the space where you write special, meaningful, uniquely you.

Get the equipment and accoutrements you need. Do you really let yourself spend a enough on what you need to write? Don’t over spend but let yourself have what you need to write well. Don’t give it hobby status if you don’t want to keep writing as a hobby.

Make time for studying and practicing your craft: attend writing groups, workshops, writer’s conferences, classes and lectures. If you’re too busy to go far try a few writing email lists. See which one works for you and then become a regular (don’t just lurk).

Schedule time with other writers. Find someone else who writes and plan time together to talk about writing and have some fun. Don’t let yourself become too isolated from others who write and think about writing.

Read your writing to others. Say it aloud to those who can appreciate it. Read it at writing meetings, family gatherings and no occasion at all.

Transfer your writing from your notebook to the computer and print it out. Everything looks more professional in print. Save your writing in printed format and keep it all organized in files. There is no reason you can’t even make up a zine yourself. Just add a little desktop publishing and you can create your own literary publication, starring you.

Submit material for publication. In spite of yourself and your fears respect your work in producing the writing and the writing itself and submit it for publications. Give yourself a chance, it only costs a stamp, some paper and the time to research your markets.

Celebrate when you’ve completed a work or hit a significant marker. Take a road trip, make a fancy coffee, get a manicure, soak in the tub, call a friend, buy that new thesaurus you wanted, whatever makes a celebration to you. You deserve it.

Accept compliments gracefully. Don’t become your own worst critic when someone says your writing touched them, was a great read or made them think. Instead say thanks and give them more to read, point them to your website, the latest publication to buy your work, whatever you have to offer. Instead of denying your work, promote it.

Sometimes my Brain Amazes Me

Writing isn’t enough, you have to have a mad, passionate affair with words and then be brazen enough to get paid for it.

That is a description I wrote for the WordCraft newsletter. Not something I spent time planning and rethinking and checking and pondering in general. Just spur of the moment. But, aren’t those flashes of inspiration the best! Bryan Adams once said all his best songs were written in a few minutes. The ones he sweated over and took ages to perfect didn’t become big hits. It’s so true!

PS- I love you Bryan! Vicariously and from a distance but you get the idea… 😉