My mother shared her love of words with me--their spelling, usage, meaning, and power. Then, at the age of eleven, I discovered the thesaurus and language burst into color for me. In college, a single paper about "Walden" delivered me into an honors English class just when I was being sucked dry by calculus and physics. It wasn't until the day I retired, though, that the sun broke through again and one by one, people brought water...people delivered ENCOURAGEMENT.
The first to arrive was Brenda Ueland with her insistent words of ENCOURAGEMENT in "If You Want to Write":
If all you've accomplished so far is wishful thinking, her words may inspire you to get started, too.
The next one to arrive was Michael Palmer--best-selling master of the medical mystery/thriller--who, should you ever meet him, is a gentle, self-effacing, easy-going fellow despite what appears on the page. Every year, he and the edgy Tess Gerritsen (both of them physicians in their own right) mentor hundreds of doctors who aspire to the writing life at the SEAK Medical Fiction Writing for Physicians Conference (http://www.seak.com/). There were 800 doctors there the year I attended. On the long drive home from Cape Cod that year, my novel, The Bandaged Place, put down its first tender roots.
Success is a great motivator but for those of us who have yet to achieve it, the journey is long and difficult. Frustration, disappointment, rejection and uncertainty follow us around like a gaggle of ugly ducklings.
Self-doubt alone is enough to stop you in your tracks.
That's when Julia Cameron steps in. Her workshop (http://www.theartistsway.com/) is a wake-up call to the creative spirit in each of us--a call to courage, confidence and conviction. If you are afraid to start or you are stuck with your manuscript or poem or painting or song...run out right this minute and pick up a copy of The Artist's Way. Go! Now!
And if Julia Cameron is the voice of the muse, then Michael Neff is the nuts and bolts...the hammer and nails...the brick and mortar that it takes to get published in today's marketplace. Be prepared to start all over again if that's what it takes...from page one...if you attend one of his workshops (http://algonkianconferences.com/). It will be worth the effort!
Marita Golden, Larraine Herring, CJ Lyons, Timons Isaias, Lynda Barry, Peter Murphy...all of them have carried water for me.
In truth, we are all on the same path.
The writers we idolize are perhaps farther along than the rest of us but their journey is no less difficult. If you listen, I swear you will hear them calling out ENCOURAGEMENT to you, "Just put one foot in front of the other. Good! Keep going. Don't turn back. Follow us."
We are all carrying water to share.
Who has shared ENCOURAGEMENT with you?
"When you are ready a teacher will find you."
--an ancient adage--
In my next post I'll dispel the myth of failure.