Tuesday, April 4, 2017
From my years of writing words intended for many more eyes and hearts than they often reach, I have synthesized the following bittersweet truths and guidelines for myself, as well as for fellow writers:
1) Exasperation over sometimes absurdly long delays in artistic gratification may be part of a bigger plan for eventual success, in which time is irrelevant. Write memorable words and they will be remembered, even if not within the time frame you desire.
2) Expectations of others' reactions to your words can hinder your openness to hearing those reactions. Listening does not guarantee hearing any more than looking guarantees seeing. Remove your filters--the expectations--and take time to process feedback without simultaneously qualifying its relevance.
3) There is no such thing as a definitive "final draft." The author must settle on defining "final" in terms of a work's readiness to move others without further revisions--and the author's readiness to move on to another project.
4) Your words are yours to hatch and nurture, no matter how long they have to sit in a journal, a computer file, or your mind; consider them as germinating, not wasting away.
5) Some obscure comments from editors make sense in their own time, via epiphanies visible only to eyes freshened by time away from a manuscript. Celebrate each realization with a zealous revision and a self-congratulatory hug for your progress.
6) Treasure all comments about how your words moved a reader, even if those words only appeared on a post you wrote on Facebook, Twitter, or your blog. The point is to move people, and if your public works evoke written responses, even negative ones, you have succeeded in evoking emotions and inspiring others to write.