Give It Away

I know that I became a writer when I discovered that I loved to read and that I loved to tell stories. And when I say tell stories I mean precisely that – sit with my friends or family or coworkers and tell a story about my day. While it’s certainly true that I was inspired by those occasions when my story succeeded – when my audience was left as amused or amazed or alarmed as I had been when I lived that story – what really taught to me write, and what really told me I was a writer, were those stories that failed. And by failed I mean my audience did not laugh at what I had found funny, weren’t shocked by what I had found shocking, or weren’t inspired by what I had found inspiring. Now I had to live for a time with the difference between what had I had experienced and what I had apparently shared and decide what if anything I should do about it. Did it matter? Did it matter for some reason other than I liked it when people agreed with me?

I eventually concluded that it did matter, though the reasons were often elusive. That it mattered was often more interesting to me than the story itself. Within that nameless drive I sensed the impulse that moved the whole of life forward. And yet try to hold that reason still and see its face at last is to lose it, and you are left wondering if there had ever been anything to hold in the first place.

Until you start another story and you feel it again. Give it away, that feeling says. Give everything you have away. You will never know anything you have until you give it to someone else. Give it away and make room for the next thing you must learn to give away again. You will never be able to give the same thing twice or in the same way as something you have given before. No matter, you must find a way to give every bit of it, and know that when you are done you will feel glad simply that you ever had something to give.

9781935961994-Perfect_CS.inddWrite Within Yourself: An Author's Companion. "A book to keep nearby whenever your writer's spirit needs feeding." Deb Caletti.

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