In The Beginning

I doubt any of the readers of this blog remember (and I often forget myself), but at its inception I promised – absolutely promised – to write practical essays. By which I meant I would discuss the craft and the business of writing. I even dedicated three straight entries to the fearsome query letter. My reasons for doing so were twofold: First, writers, especially beginning writers, seem to crave this sort of pragmatic, How To advice. If I was going to be writing every day, I reasoned, I ought to give the people what I believed they wanted. Second, once I made the decision to go from writing once-a-month to five days a week, I believed I would have no choice but to write about the dry, nuts and bolts of writing and publishing. It seemed inconceivable that I could fill up the space otherwise.

Yet it was the very everyday-ness that pushed this blog to what it is now. You do something again and again and eventually, out of sheer boredom, you will take a chance, and the chance I took was to write what I wanted to say instead of what I believed my readers wanted to hear. Once you have written what you most want to say, it is very difficult to go back to writing anything else. It is like drinking cheap wine long after you developed a taste for the good stuff.

And lo! Once I stopped trying to be practical, people started actually reading the blog. And what was the prevailing message of the blog? Why, write what you most want to write. In this way, I continued to learn what I was writing as I wrote it, and as I write it now.

My mistake at the beginning was not so much trying to be someone I was not, but believing I knew what anyone else wanted to read. We are doomed as soon as we believe we know this, for it is only a matter of time before that nervous mind reader whispers that what everyone wants is not what we are writing. But the generosity of life is such that even as you set out chasing what you believe others love, you are led by one route or another to what you were always seeking: yourself.

If you like the ideas and perspectives expressed here, feel free to contact me about individual and group conferencing.

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