Saturday, January 12, 2013

Encouragement: On Friends and the Writing Hole

I once attended a workshop where Orson Scott Card said something about writers needing to believe their work is the greatest creation the universe has ever contained while at the same time feeling that it will never be quite good enough.

This thought has never left me. Why? Because when I don't think I can write anything right I can hang on to this shred of hope: "Of course you're a writer. Orson Scott Card said that this is exactly how you're supposed to feel! And he should know, he's a writer."

And when I'm ever despondent I hang on to one other thing. My amazing writing friends.

I once read somewhere that women have lots of different friends: shopping friends, church friends, lunch friends, PTA friends, and hate-the-world-with-me friends. That may be true, but many of my dearest friends are writing friends. They never give up on me or my words even when they all stink (me and my words--not my friends).

After crawling out from my two-year writing hole of illness lack of imagination my writing friends were waiting in the wings to say things like, "Finally! Please send this manuscript to my amazing agent. I think she'll like it." And, "Here is all my research on picture book agents. I think you should query this one." And, of course, "Your ending totally sucks. Try again." The best writing friends are, after all, very honest. And they are there for me even when I'm not writing.

So praise the world for encouragement and friends and the dynamic combination of those two things together--which is really the greatest creation the universe has ever contained.

Now to work on that picture book ending...

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