If you’ve stopped by Paddlecreek before, you know it is the collaboration of four writers. Four very different people who have grown close as they have struggled with the in’s and out’s of this thing we love and, at times, don’t love—writing.
We started out over ten years ago. Over coffee, we compared styles, asked questions, laughed (alot), and put hundreds of words down on paper. We wrote a “Prompt” each time we got together (back then, we were the Bowler Road Writers) and read it OUT LOUD. That took courage, because writing as fast as we could for 30 minutes and then sharing our thoughts with each other wasn’t always pretty.
To sharpen our skills, we decided to go to a Writers’ Conference…only one of us had been before (way to go, Michelle!) so she was our guide. We signed up for a June trip to Wheaton College in Chicago, packed our bags, grabbed a few pens, notebooks, journals and pillows and drove North. That took a certain amount of courage since the passengers were entrusting their lives to my driving. It took courage to speak out in classes also and to approach an editor with a first page handout. (And be rejected. And yes, were we rejected. But not always.)
Through the years, courage reared it’s head in many ways. Life and death issues, kids, moves, job changes, and the constant push, push, push to write. More writers’ conferences, weekend retreats, secret prayers. But no one gave up. And that takes courage.
Along came on-line publishing and we decided to stick our collective toes in the water. We wrote a book of writing prompts together and published it. Prompted to Write has, to date, not set any sales records. But, it has given us a great deal of pleasure to search Amazon and find our names there! It’s a small book, and probably won’t be considered by the Pulitzer committee, but it’s OURS, and it took a certain amount of courage to put ourselves out there it that great big publishing world.
Pat has now published a wonderful book for young teens titled Caitlyn’s Summer Adventure. (That is just one of several things she has available on-line). Susan, so talented she even drew her own covers, published cookbooks, and Michelle is about to LAUNCH her first romance novel…Cookie Encounter… next week. Such courageous ladies.
Next it will be my turn. However, there is a slight roadblock for me. I gave it to three fantastic and smart women to read and got my first feedback three days ago. She was thorough and insightful. And she wasn’t crazy about the story. She was gentle and wonderful and so sweet. But…
So, now, I wonder. Now I am cringing at the thought of someone else reading it. Yesterday I lost my courage.
After stewing about it all day, my more responsible “inner me” said “Oh, for heaven’s sake, just STOP. Get a grip, girl.”
So what if someone doesn’t like it? Not everyone likes Chic-fil-A, do they? I’ve written, rewritten, edited, written, rewritten, edited…you know the drill. After years of that, I was sort of satisfied.I loved my characters. I thought it was a compelling story. True, I could have done more forever, but where does that get you? So I wrote THE END and was euphoric.
Then my reader read it. Then I realized that not everyone was going to think my baby was beautiful. Some might even mention that it had had big ears or that it’s head looked a little lopsided. So what? It’s my baby, and plain Jane or not, in the next few weeks I plan to have it published. Thanks Amazon.
And when it is published, I will be thrilled and overwhelmed and relieved. I started a project, put my heart into it and saw it through to completion. Is that courage? I don’t really know. But I’m pretty sure it’ll be satisfying.
You are far more courageous than you give yourself credit. Sometimes writing is a marathon, sometimes a triathlon, but always a journey of self doubt. It requires armadillo skin plastered on with a lot of Kleenxes.
Well, I have the armadillo skin….so I’m off to a good start! 🙂