Today I have author Roslyn McFarland on the blog with a guest post. She’s one of the authors that will be at Story Con 2014. Story Con is at the Vancouver Community Library (Vancouver, Washington) on October 18th. There will be over 30 authors attending and there will be panels, readings and signings. Be sure to come down and meet Roslyn McFarland as well as Daniel H. Wilson, Kate Dyer- Seeley, Jason Gurley and many, many more! Check out the confirmed authors list, schedule, and the panels.
Who are writers?
By Roslyn McFarland, Sept 25 2014
Are writers those people who start putting down prose as soon as they can hold a crayon? Those folks who get Bachelors, Masters or Doctorate degrees on how to put a sentence together? Or maybe they’re that guy or gal at the coffee shop who just can’t help but bang away on their laptop morning, noon and night?
Yes. They are all of them. And they might be none of them.
A writer is someone who loves the written word. They might start and end the day scouring a newspaper. Possibly they have a library of self help or how too books. Or maybe their go to decompression chamber involves a trip to some far off, fictional world for a while. Any which way you want to look at it, a pivotal part of their existence if to find fact or fantasy in one or another medium of print.
A writer is someone who has a story to tell. Maybe they are an expert in their field, or someone with a unique life experience, or a long of life experience. And possibly they are that person who is really good at sifting though their dreams, finding inspiration in the little things, and love to spin a tall tale.
A writer can be anyone. All it takes is the willingness to start writing.
Now, is that it? You throw down a couple of lines, chapters, whatever, and boom! Hey, I’m a writer now!
A writer must be willing to take criticism. A lot of it. Everything from, “That word is misspelled” or “I didn’t really connect with your character” all the way to “That piece is totally bleep bleep and you should pitch it”. It hurts. Oh yes, truly truly sucks. They’ll take that line, the one that makes your heart lift with joy at its sheer creative perfection…and squish it like a bug. Yet, sifting though the feedback to find those nuggets of truth and insight will, in the end, only make your piece better. It’s part of a writers’ job. Yes, you read right. Writing is a job. Which leads to the next point.
A writer must be willing to revise their work. First you revise for repeated words and grammatical inconsistencies. Then you revise to fill the holes in your storyline, or rearrange it completely. Then you revise again…five, ten, twenty times if necessary. And you learn from the feedback of others smarter, more experienced, or simply with different perspectives than yourself, and from your own mistakes. Converting criticism into something you can be proud of, all while retaining your own voice and style, is a difficult but necessary part of the process. This can take months, years, or even decades for some.
Now you may be thinking, “Heck with that! What kind of person is into that kind of pain? Whew! Let’s just chuck that whole idea right now.” And maybe you will.
Oh, but when you’ve finished.
Your manuscript, that piece of work containing a small piece of your heart and soul, lies before you. The sense of wonderment, accomplishment, pride and satisfaction filling you at that moment is comparable to nothing else in the world. In that moment, all of the hours of labor, frustrations and possibly tears, are totally, completely and undeniably worth it.
So, who are writers?
Maybe you are. But whether you’re fifteen or fifty, an elitist scholar or a blue-collar worker, the only guaranteed way you’ll find out is to try.