Last year just before I left for the 2011 Writer’s Institute at UW-Madison I posed the question “Why do writers write?” and shared my thoughts on the matter:
I don’t think writer’s write. I think they’re written through. Somewhere along the way, they gave themselves over to being a vessel through which words flow. A writer can’t not write—they’re compelled to write. Even if it’s only for themselves.
The creative experience of writing unleashes ideas, emotions, and thoughts. This unleashing is euphoric—a state that becomes addictive—a way of being in the world that opens the door to endless possibility.
In an eloquent presentation of words and photographs, Winsomebella recently shared why she writes in a post titled, “If You Want To Know Why.”
In my perspective, the only time that writing is wrong is when you don’t…write; when you hold back because of fear or discouragement.
I admire the tenacity of author Darcie Chan, who after receiving over 100 rejection letters from various literary agents decided to self-publish her book, “The Mill River Recluse.” To date, it has sold more than 400,000 copies—landing squarely on the best-seller lists!
As I was contemplating this post, my friend Leanne Dyck posted the following letter (below the photograph) to her 12-year-old self on her blog, The Sweater Curse—cannily named after her most recent book published by Decadent Publishing:
Leanne Dyck age 12
Dear younger Leanne,
You know those stories that you’re working on. Well, you might think that you can just throw them out—unfinished. You may think that because they belong to you, you can do whatever you want with them. Well, you’re wrong. You can’t. You can’t because they belong to me—older Leanne—not you. So, instead of tossing them away, you better file them away for safekeeping. You better or else…
Oh, yeah, and another thing. You might think that by writing all those stories you’re just having fun. WRONG! You’re doing important work. However, you’re only doing half the job. You also need to get someone who can spell and knows grammar to edit them. Ask Mom she’ll help you. Then you need to submit them to literary journals or short stories contests.
Oh, yeah, and don’t just do it once and think you’re done. Don’t just say, “Oh, well, I submitted it. I didn’t win. I don’t have to do that again.” Don’t think, I tried, failed and now I’m done. The only way you failed is by being done. Simply by continuing to submit your stories, you’re proving that you are a winner. If you don’t continue working until the job is done, well then you’ll leave all that work for me. And trust me, I won’t be pleased.
Oh, yeah, and the most important thing. You may not think you’re smart, but I do. I know how talented you are. And you’re doing a grave disservice by not sharing your talent. So do it. Do it now!
If you wrote a letter to your 12-year-old self, what would you say?