It’s been a tough week after an exhausting two years of bitter contests. I always stand on the side of love so my heart aches from that constant barrage of disparaging comments. I wonder if I’ll have healthcare (if you’re wondering, there’s no health care fairy for writers) or if someone will care about the environment, as I do. But I rise each morning and continue what I have been doing my whole life, even after Hurricane Katrina and the three hurricanes that followed in Louisiana, the BP Oil Spill and its effect on the Louisiana economy and wildlife and the biblical flood of August that ravaged my state.
I get to work.
Which made me think that writing a book is a lot like living. You might reply, “art reflects life,” but it’s more like art reflects the living of life.
Here’s what I’ve learned through writing almost two dozen books.
It’s a long road from page 1 to the Le Finis and it starts with the first word. Write it.
Nothing can come from a blank page.
Like all things in life, the task appears daunting but every word adds to the final count and one day you will open that folder and see every chapter there. Take comfort in every word you write.
Coffee helps. So does wine.
Tell it like it is. Don’t be afraid to write the truth, whether in your own words of within those of your characters.
Writing can be cathartic so write your heart out. If you need to let something painful go, so be it. (I sometimes burn the words and release them to the universe.) But use your creativity to express and heal.
For every idea, there is someone who will listen. If you get rejected, send it out again…and again. Never give up the fight.
For every writer, there is someone who will listen. Join like-minded groups and take comfort in that you are not alone. Surround yourself with comfort, such as supportive friends and family, pets and items that bring you joy. (Check out my companions and desk altar in the photos at right. These are my muses.)
And as President Obama said in Humans of New York, it’s all about the work. “Because if you’re worrying about yourself—if you’re thinking: ‘Am I succeeding? Am I in the right position? Am I being appreciated?’ – then you’re going to end up feeling frustrated and stuck. But if you can keep it about the work, you’ll always have a path. There’s always something to be done.”
So keep writing. Keep plugging. Keep up the good fight.