"I've missed more than 900 shots in my career.
I've lost almost 300 games.
26 times, I've been trusted to take the
game winning shot and missed.
I've failed over and over and over again in my life.
And that is why I succeed."
My writing group is working on an e-book collaboration about "Why I Write". There are fourteen of us. What I find amazing is how each of us probably have the same underlying reason(s) for writing, yet we each said it in a different way. I struggled with my first draft before our first deadline, butnturned it in on time. I got some good feedback. That was over a month ago. I've tried several times to revise/rewrite and failed. Maybe failure is too harsh a word. Let's say I've been blocked. I write sentences, then erase them. I have an idea, then I trash it. Grrrr.
The other day I asked myself, "why do I write?" I couldn't come up with a very good answer. It's like asking why do I walk? Or why do I part my hair on the left? I just do. It's become so much a part of me that I no longer remember when I didn't write. (No surprise there, I don't remember a lot of things. But you know what I mean, right?)
I noticed today a gut reaction when the group facilitator said this: "Writers shine the light on the story, rather than themselves. They hide behind the words."' Yup. That's me.
Except for letters and group newsletters, my writing was something I rarely shared. I was afraid of failure. I was afraid to walk into the light that success might bring. I wanted to hide. I found, however, stories have a way of popping up and demanding to be written, like that whack a mole arcade game. I wrote but I seldom shared. It wasn't until I did the one thing I was too afraid to do when I was 18, that I began to believe my stories were good enough to share. I took a beginner's English Comp class at the local junior college. No one was more surprised than me when I got a paper back with an A on it. Then I began to send out family emails to keep my sisters abreast of my parent's health. It was a natural progression to blogging. And blogging led to the writing group and the group led to being published.
There is nothing I like better than to write a story that people can relate to. I write "creative" non-fiction, because I'm not good at making things up. But I'm not bad at creating a literary mountain from a molehill event. If I can make my reader(s) laugh (or cry) then I've done my job. But it's the words I want people to look at, not me. I'm still the shy girl in the back of the room who doesn't want to call attention to herself. I'm still the little girl my daddy could raise up or put down like a yo yo with his praise or "corrective" criticism. I've been told enough times in recent years that I AM A WRITER. I believe it. I like to write. Telling a good story is the creative spark the Divine Muse lit in me. Yet, I still want to hide behind the words. I'm not quite ready to let the light shine on ME.
PS. I was so proud of my group today. My sister went with me. The group welcomed her like the gracious Southern women they are. Now when I speak of them she can put names and faces together. She can understand why being a part of a talented bunch of writers is so important to me. Together we offer our word sacrifices to the story gods and the light shines on each of us.