Posted by: Shara | May 15, 2017

The Writer’s Journey

When I first started this blog, I was wondering if I had what it took to write, constantly, and to write well enough to create a career for myself. I had no idea what that journey would look like. Writing daily is work, whether or not it sounds fun. Some days there are other things to do; sometimes the feedback on a piece of work makes me want to hide in bed. The difference between a writing career and any other job is that the passion and force behind a self-created masterpiece I take sole responsibility for means that I pass or fail by my own actions. I am in control, and that knowledge takes me back to the computer day after day after day.

Being a “writer” or an “author” carries a lot of preconceived notions and expectations. Add that to stereotypes for certain types of writing, and a whole ball of assumptions is created. For a writer, people believe the title denotes someone who is a starving artist, barely able to buy ramen. As an author, I become elevated to the ranks of those who have published successful books; otherwise, how could I call myself that? To claim being an editor promotes me to a new level above writers, because now I am the one who is critiquing their work. Then there is ghostwriting. All of the words that people see every day, unattributed to the writer who so carefully crafted them into sentences, paragraphs, and ads, are words that people have no idea where they came from. When I tell someone that I am a writer and that person politely asks what I write, I drop this bomb on purpose: “Business plans, grant proposals, legal forms… general business information.” The jaw slackens and I see this clearly all over the person’s face: “Oh, I guess that all DOES take writing! Huh….” If I feel like being difficult, I say “poetry” first. As I see the judgment creep in, then I tack on the rest. If I write nonfiction, I am much more scholarly than if I take the “easy” way out and write fantasy. The most interesting stereotype, though, is when I tell the few people who wouldn’t care anyway because they have seen varied forms of my writing that I do it ALL.

“How can you do it all? Don’t you need to specialize in one area to be good at it?” While the answer to that is obviously yes, the word that comes under scrutiny is specialize. I have been writing for over thirty years, I have been reading for forty, and words come easily to me. I have spent my time doing the research, cultivating mastery for each of the different areas of writing, specializing, and here’s what I have discovered. Although writing alternate genres takes varied skill sets and specific area focus, writing is writing and crosses over into itself every time a work is crafted. When parts of a script or a novel are “poetic,” a novel could be made into a stage play because the action jumps from the page, or when a business plan is engaging because of detail and description, these writing areas cross over to create enjoyable communication. That is what writing is meant to be, after all. Writing is enjoyable communication, bringing this huge world into sharper and more intimate focus for us to engage with each other in.

All this isn’t to say that I am perfect at it. I make mistakes. I value the honest input that raises my writing from good to tantalizing. I need editing, and I need feedback. When it comes to showing others what I have done, I sometimes have to work up to putting my creations under the scope. Being a pen master means caring about the living, breathing entities that leap from my mind. I thought I would be writing novels all day long, or staring out at the sunset as my poetry records the event. Instead, I write poetry, business plans, essays, short stories, novels, grant proposals, ads, and general copywriting, just to keep myself forming words that will affect people out there in the cosmos. Every writing is a new adventure, changing because my work is diversified, and writing never becomes boring because of the daily challenges. I am still in control, and satisfied with people enjoying my work, even when they don’t know it’s mine.

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