Monday, July 9, 2012


Author Lisa Yee recently posted the following commnet on Facebook:

Overheard in line --
WOMAN #1: I drink wine at night and can't go to sleep. I should read books.
WOMAN #2: I like books.
WOMAN #1: I know! We should write a children's book!!!

As you can imagine, the writing world went berserk. Lisa received over 100 comments and likes regarding this post. Although those of us who write understand the challenges behind the art, those who don't, don't.  

As a former elementary school teacher, I found this misconception in the teaching world as well. Everyone believes that just because they've read a book, or been to school; they could write a book, or be a teacher. I often wondered why doesn't this translate to other careers like, hygienist or hairdresser? We've all had our teeth cleaned and haircut. Why don't we feel we could do the hygienist's job? Or cut our own hair?

Because those careers, just like teachers and writers, require you pay your dues before you go to the front of the line. Although you may have sat in the hygienist or hairstylist chair over 100 times, you never walk out saying, "I think I can do that," then go home and start a new career. Writing, unbeknownst to many, requires the same amount of time and effort, if not more. As English Author Samuel Johnson states: "What is written without effort is in generally read without pleasure." 

I once heard author Dawn Knobbe say. "The line to publication is about ten years long. After ten years of standing in line, your turn finally comes and you're published." I'm not sure all authors stand in line for ten years before publication. However, I have heard that same ten year number mentioned by Sarah Wilson Etienne and Lisa Yee, so there could be some truth to it.

I am not saying that those who want to write shouldn't pursue it as a career, or a hobby even. I'm just saying that IF you do want to write, then seriously pursue it, just like you would pursue any other craft or skill. Read a book, take some classes, attend a conference. Our words and our stories, are a gift we leave to the next generation. We should pursue the sharing of them with excellence and enthusiasm.

Enthusiasm is the mother of effort, and without it nothing great was ever achieved. Ralph Waldo Emerson

 I applaud each of you who have put in the time and effort to master your craft. As for those ladies in line with Lisa Yee, keep reading, just add a few books about the art of writing to your nightstand, and read them. Preferably before your next glass of wine. 

Like every book I never wrote, it is by far the best book I have ever written." G.K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man

Muse For Today: What made you decide to become a writer?

2 comments:

Tara Tyler said...

i wonder about myself sometimes...but the people who succeed are those undaunted by the ten year waiting plan. i'm in it for the long haul!

Scribbles From Jenn said...

Tara, I agree, we must be in it for the long haul. Believing that good things come to those who write :D

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