Sunday, February 01, 2009

 

And you are?

I am a writer.

I earned my master’s in fine arts for creative writing in 2003.

It would seem that those two ideas should be in one sentence. I’m one of those women from a young age who loved writing poetry, short stories and watched in awe as friends became enmeshed in a world of words. After all, mine was just a “hobby.” They were Writers. I passed up opportunities to write for publication because I didn’t feel I was good enough.

Then I enrolled for my master’s in creative writing, because it was something I thought I had to do to call myself a Writer. I graduated with a draft of a novel and the belief that I would take publishing by storm. While fellow graduates managed to get their books published, I wallowed in the self-pity of remaining “unpublished,” never able to quite find an agent who would take on this dewy-eyed Writer.

I landed at the local newspaper and started having a byline in the paper and in its magazine. I freelanced on the side. I was sheepish about it. I met up with a friend, whose book had just been published. At one point, as she gushed about her success and briefly asked about my job, she asked if I still considered myself a Writer.

I thought back to all that I had written since graduation. I multiplied that to the readership of the publications I wrote for and responded that I did. However, her comment stung.

I realized that I consider myself—and always have considered myself—a writer. I may never become a Writer. But I am okay with that. For a year, I’ve been a full-time freelance writer. I write blogs, and for the newspaper, the local women’s magazine and an area business journal. In my spare time, I read my children’s fiction to my oldest children. Their passion for my fiction is endearing—and rewarding in itself.

And, while my unpublished novel and children’s stories may collect dust long after I am long gone, each week, it never fails. I meet someone at my children’s school or at the dentist’s office who will say, “I just saw that article you wrote. I didn’t know you are a writer.”

I look them in the eye and say, “Yes, I am—and so much more!”

Elizabeth King Humphrey is a creativity coach and the moderator/main blogger for CoastalCarolinaMoms. She is also a freelance writer, columnist and blogs for wilmaville. To have the opportunity to listen to read her children's stories, stop by prior to bedtime most any night of the week.

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Thursday, January 08, 2009

 

Some Writing Advice IS NOT Worth Listening To. . .



When I did my survey of writers for my last post on Dec. 31, I also asked them, "What is the worst writing advice you have ever heard?" I thought this question's results were important enough to share with The Muffin readers by themselves (and not with the rest of my best of/worst of list)! I know you have heard some of these lines before--I had, and I have even listened to them. I just pray that I never told anyone these "words of advice." Of if I did, they were smart enough NOT to follow my tips. I racked my brain trying to remember if when I taught a community writing class at the YMCA on writing for children, did I say, "Write what you know?" I hope not. I've blocked it from my memory. :)

So, here we go. . .

Worst Writing Advice:

  • The old standard “write what you know.” If I followed that advice, I would never need to research, and it would severely limit the scope of what I write (4 writers) (Many people added GOOD ADVICE to this one: Write what you are interested in or you can research!)
  • Put page stops on all pages in your manuscript. HUH?
  • Make changes to a manuscript that changed my voice.
  • For me, the worst writing advice I heard is from a successful (with very narrow, limited vision) genre writer trying to hammer a promising literary or mainstream writer into a genre slot "because genre is easier to sell." That hat is not one size fits all.
  • Write a Book in 14 Days or Less Guaranteed: Use a timer that goes off every 5 minutes and then you're done with that section of the book. It totally shatters the flow of the story and eliminates all spontaneity.
  • I have the right way that you should write. Follow my plan, and you will be a successful writer.
  • Forget being published, big houses are only interested in big names. Be happy with writing letters.
  • There is only one way to write a book.

So, do you have any more? Please share with us because NONE of us want to follow bad writing advice this year, and we need to start early in January on the right path!

Happy Writing!
Margo Dill

http://www.margodill.com/

Read These Books and Use Them (blog)

photo by nyki_m on www.flickr.com

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