Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Why I Love Writing

I don't have time to write this blog today. I don't have time to eat, drink or even go to the bathroom. I have two book deadlines, a Gospel Doctrine lesson to prepare, book reviews to write, oh, and a family to take care of, but I'm making myself sit down and do this because I've had the most wonderful experience recently, and I wanted to share it.
Over the last eight weeks I've been doing a Library Lecture tour around the Salt Lake Valley. My topic was "How to Write from Your Heart and Not Your Head." I've had the opportunity to spend an evening with some wonderful people, people who have been bitten by the writing bug and have stories inside of them just bursting to get out.
Part of the reason I wanted to do this lecture tour was to give me a chance to "give back" so to speak. In doing so, I've been reminded of something wonderful. I've been reminded of why I love writing so much.
About fifteen years ago I was sitting in the audience at a writing seminar, listening to the teacher go on and on about getting published. I remember thinking, "Is this ever really going to happen? Will I ever get published?" My doubts weren't based as much on my ability and writing talent, or my desire to get published, but on the criticism and cynicism of others. People (family and friends - you know who you are!) would sometimes roll their eyes as I tried to tell them about my writing projects and where I was submitting my stories and all the rejections I was getting. It was as if a ticker board was going across their forehead telling me their thoughts, "Why do you keep wasting your time with this?", "Does it take a house to fall on you before you realize this is never going to happen?", "Don't you have anything better to do with your time?"
After a while, I quit telling people what I was doing, and just kept it to myself. Even my husband didn't really know much about what I was doing. I'd come out of the closet and declared "I'm a writer!" only to go back in again where it was safe.
It was hard. It was hard because I loved what I was doing so, so much, yet no one believed I could do it. No one but me.
So, in spite of it all, I kept at it. I kept trying and trying. And, by dang, I did it. And I believe with all my heart it wasn't about talent and being a brilliant writer, it was about passion, persistence, hard work and dedication.
And that's why I do these lecture tours. I want to tell other writers my story. I want them to know that they can do it. They can get published IF . . . and that's the key work, IF they are willing to work hard and never give up.
I'm actually glad that during my struggle to get published I was forced to dig deep and really find out what I was made of. I think that has made me a better writer. It certainly has made me appreciate and never take for granted this gift I've been given. This gift of being published and being able to have a voice in the world.
And that is why I love writing.

4 comments:

Jennie said...

Good for you, Michele. Every wouldbe writer needs to learn how important it is to believe in yourself, to persist, and to make time to write even when you really don't have time. The ones who learn this lesson are the ones who succeed.

Kim said...

I was at one of your library lectures, and the most important thing I took home with me was the feeling that "I can do this." Michele, you helped give me the courage I needed to continue. You helped me to realize that it would not always be easy, but just like you did, I need to fight my way through and not give up.

Thank you for sharing your passion with me, and all the other people who attended your class.

Valerie Holladay said...

I love that you're doing this, Michele. I think you're a great, great, great example of persistence and willingness to keep working at your craft until you get to where you want to be. A great example for other writers so they'll be prepare for the work, strength, and courage needed to be a writer.

Michele Ashman Bell said...

Jennie,
No truer words have been spoken. The ones who learn this lesson are the ones who succeed. Amen!
Kim,
What a nice thing to say. Meeting with wonderful writers like yourself was really energizing and inspiring for me. I really feel so blessed and fortunate to meet others who share the same passion.
Val,
You have always been my guiding star and strength. What a gift you've been in my life. I owe you a bottle of Tylenol for all the headaches I'm sure I caused you.