Friday, June 15, 2007

"But You MUST!"

“The Way We Were”, Redford and Streisand: If Chick Flicks had an Academy Award, this would be the winner...or at least in the Top 5.

And while I could go and on about movies...and in particular Redford...I’m not.

I wish to draw your attention to a conversation between Katie and Hubbell. Katie has read Hubbell’s novel and is amazed. Hubbell is non-plussed. She goes over the parts in his novel that could use a little work, which he takes fairly good-naturedly, and Katie finishes off with this confidence booster: “Your next novel will be better.” Hubbell is stunned by this comment and inquires why she thinks he should write another one.

“Because you MUST! You are too good a writer not to,” she blurts out, just as confident that he must write as she was that E=mc2...or that Roosevelt was a great president.

(thanks to Anne’s miraculous brain capacity to easily recall things that I simply can not.)

I find that I must write also. Not, I guarantee you, as well as Hubbell who managed to get published, but nonetheless must take pen to paper. I must type out little blurbs of stories that I'll never finish, write down notes of ideas that maybe someday I'll work on.

Sometimes I think of these little reminders as failures. Failure to struggle through the words, the ideas and finish it. Other times, I feel these are little reminders that I'm always thinking, always getting creative ideas that I could mess with....or not. It can be a real confidence booster to realize your well rarely runs dry.

I've written mostly with "the door closed", as Stephen King would say. Written solely for my own entertainment or edification. The trick is then to take that story and rewrite it with the "door open" -- ie, writing for other's to enjoy. And as I mentioned in previous posts, I'm not prepared for the rejection.

I've shown some of my work to friends, and being friends, they are very tender, encouraging and guiding....and therefore, probably lying through their kind, loyal teeth. If something I wrote sucked, I know they'd never tell me. And I'm not sure I'd want them to ??

However, I've spent the last month or so reading books and magazines about writing. The ideas given by other published writers (Stephen King, Sol Stein, Anne Lamott) have truly been helpful. I recommend reading about writing. It will help you be your own critic and view your story from a different perspective.

And so what if you just write for you? If it makes you happy, do it. And someday you just might feel like spreading your wings a bit....and maybe try blogging for example! The point is to do what you love, no matter what other people say. There is a wonderful saying: it's better to do badly at something you love than to succeed at something you hate.

So write your stories, type your blurbs, think about your Great American Novel. And remember to never give up on your dreams.


Anonymous said...

If someone doesn't like your work it is NOT rejection, but reflection ... of the reader's background, or taste, or mood. You know that there are critically acclaimed books, music and movies that you didn't care for. I believe we both HATED "Amadeus." That doesn't mean the producer has to give the Oscar back. I know this will shock you, but there are aspects of Barry Manilow's body of work that strike me as unintentionally funny. Does that mean that you and 10 gazillion other fans are wrong? You cannot take it as rejection when someone doesn't like your work. You can't let it break your heart. I know it's hard not to, because writing is so personal. But if you let it, the fear of rejection can paralyze you, and that serves no purpose. Not to you as a woman, nor to you as a writer. So until you're comfortable enough and confident enough, maybe you should keep the door closed. Your writing has no shelf life and it won't expire. If you write something and then come back to it a week or month or year later and decide you're ready to share it, you still can. The important thing is to KEEP WRITING!!! (And you're right, if you sucked, I wouldn't tell you. But I also wouldn't bother to give you constructive criticism, either. I'd just say, "My, that was lovely!")


Lara Angelina said...

Dear friend Anne,

I would love to take that paragraph and show it to all struggling writers. More inspiring words were never written....
thanks for everything,
ps -- so when you say "Oh, that was lovely", I'm to bag it??!