Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Time for Thanks

Regardless of what you believe or how you choose to celebrate, taking a moment once a year to take stock and say thanks is a wonderful thing. And after spending the last few months caring for a sick family member, it’s a good time for me to reflect on the wonderful things in my life.

I’m thankful for…

1) All the projects I’ve been able to draft, revise, and complete (in some cases all three!) especially since my writing time of late has been drastically reduced. I’ve started or completed five short stories, and tinkered with a few more that haven’t found homes. My short stories routinely make it to the second round at markets, which has built up my confidence in my work even though it doesn’t always translate into sales.

2) The fact my story “Resonance” found a home in The Future Embodied anthology. Should be out sometime next year, and I can’t wait!

3) My growing community of writers. I went to Worldcon this year and was thrilled to catch up with some of my friends from Taos Toolbox and meet new ones. I also just got back from Paradise Icon, a neo-pro writing workshop in Cedar Rapids (which you can read more about here), where I met more talented writers. The workshop was a great break from my caregiving obligations and provided me with some much-needed inspiration. If you are looking to expand your own community of writers, applications to the 2014 Taos Toolbox workshop open December 1st.

4) That my latest novel project will be in this year’s Baker’s Dozen Auction on the Miss Snark’s First Victim’s blog. Cross your fingers for me and see if you can guess which entry is mine!

5) My husband for supporting me in everything I do.

What are you thankful for this year? Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Humble Pie

With the exception of certain universal life experiences, no other process has been quite as humbling as learning how to write well.
Knowledge is proud that it knows so much; wisdom is humble that it knows no more. William Cowper
For one thing, everyone thinks they’re an expert on writing, by virtue of the high literacy rates in our society and the sophisticated narratives that populate our entertainment, our news, even our interactions with one another. Add to this the critique process that is often necessary to strengthen a writer’s craft and their work—a necessary evil but one that often shakes the resolve of many beginning writers (as well as those at every stage of their career).

Image courtesy of Jaypeg on Flickr

Criticism can be brutal, confusing, and sometimes even helpful, but I believe only a humble writer can learn something from it. You have to be open to the process, and that means you need to set your ego aside.

Then there’s the whole rejection thing, and how you’ll probably accumulate dozens or more rejections for every acceptance you get.

Success is not a good teacher, failure makes you humble. Shahrukh Khan

I’ve wrestled before with the idea of the arrogant writer, and still believe that writers are guided by the hope that our words have meaning rather than the expectation that they do simply because they've been recorded. 

I've never had a humble opinion. If you've got an opinion, why be humble about it? Joan Baez 

After all, our first amendment right to write is a privilege not every one in this world enjoys. To have the time to indulge in writing is another privilege not everyone has.

I know that writing has humbled me. Not only in what I do and do not know, but also in the knowledge that the odds are so very great. Each and every time someone further along in their career takes a moment to reach out to me, I am humbled.

Am I alone in feeling this way? What is it about writing that has made you humble?
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