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If you're a writer or know someone who is, you've probably heard the clichés describing the creative personality type: quirky, moody loners, head-in-the-clouds daydreamers, take your pick. Some of those descriptions may apply at times, but more goes on behind the notebook or computer screen of that lone figure you see at Starbucks. In light of the upcoming 4th of July, let's take time to celebrate the independent spirit of the writer.
For those drawn to the pen, independence can represent:
Writing is similar to track and field. You have to run your own race. No matter how much help or feedback you receive, no one can write your story for you.
Whether they write for others to read their work or keep it to themselves, writers have a deep and profound personal need to express themselves through this medium.
Books aren't written in a day. That finished manuscript represents months, if not years, of plotting, researching, drafting, and critiquing. Not to mention sweat, tears, and countless pots of strong coffee.
It's easy to find alternative things to do besides writing. However, very often on sunny weekends, free afternoons, or quiet nights, writers make the decision to park themselves in a chair in front of the laptop. Could they be doing other things? Always, but the desire to bring words to life somehow trumps that reality show premiere or that basket of laundry. That's why DVR was invented. Now maybe someone could make a robot to do the chores...
There is no such thing as an overnight success in a writer's world. Even authors whose books hit the bestseller lists during the first week of launch will tell you that the road to success had its twists and turns.
Drafting. Editing. Querying. Waiting weeks or months on publisher responses to submissions. It's enough to make any sane person tear her hair out. What does a writer do? Start another book. Figure that one out next time you hear Einstein's definition of insanity.
N- Never Say Never
Rejection slips show up in writers' inboxes all the time. Publishers report lagging sales. Doom and gloom reports come flying in. Yet writers go on, believing that one day their book will find a home.
Throughout history, people have used the written word to do away with conventions, expose lies, and change society for the better. Or at least regale us with tales to make the world we live in that much more genteel to inhabit.
To venture into the inner world of a writer is to explore the depths of human imagination and emotion. If you've ever read a book and were swept away by a hero's knowing smile, held captive by an army's siege, or escaped from a pursuing villain, then you understand the lasting impact of a good story.
Writers constantly come up with interesting and unusual ideas. Those themes of love, vengeance, justice, or redemption may be classic, but that doesn't mean they can't be given a new coat of varnish and displayed in a new light.
It sounds scary, but writers have multiple personalities. Just read their WIP. Chances are, the protagonist, bad guy, love interest, ally, nemesis, etc., all bear one or two traits of its creator. This is one of the few vocations where switching identities is accepted and, dare I say, very often encouraged.
Stagnation is unacceptable. Good writers strive to improve upon their work, no matter what their goals for writing are.
Bottom line? Writers have discovered a freedom that is inexplicable and hard to find. I'm willing to risk the occupational hazards to take part in this journey. If you're a writer, I hope you also remain steadfast. Friends of writers, stay supportive. We may be independent, but that doesn't mean we don't love you or cherish your company.
Happy Independence Day!
How will you celebrate your freedom this July 4th?