If you’re a writer and you’re reading this then you don’t need me to tell you that writing can be very lonely and discouraging.
It’s lonely because you do it, as Stephen King says, with “the door closed”. And unless you’re part of a writing team, you’re the only one in the room.
It’s discouraging because when you get to the submitting process you must develop a tough skin in order to accept rejections without slashing your wrists—figuratively or literally, depending on your individual psyche.
I spent two days this week in the company of writers—writers with varying degrees of success and writing in various genres. Even the ones who were “attending” the conference and not presenting a workshop taught me something. They taught me to “Never give up. Never surrender.” That line comes from the movie “Galaxy Quest”; I know several writers who use it frequently.
There’s no way a writer can “give up”. I could no sooner stop writing as I could stop breathing. But things are automatic and involuntary for me. And I won’t stop submitting or, as we now can, publishing my own work—even on a blog. In fact I even married a writer.
The written word (or maybe it’s writing the written word) is who I am. Writing is as much a part of me as the stretch marks that are still there from a 1970-pregnancy—and just as beloved.
However, there are times when every writer needs an injection of inspiration.
I received mine this weekend at The Write Stuff conference, presented yearly by the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group.
I chatted with writers I’ve known for years and ones I just met. I listened to presenters I’ve heard many times and a few new ones. I realized that I will never stop learning my craft, either in the doing or the sharing.
And in that conference, one I’ve attend almost each year, I found a new treasure—new to me.
Lee Upton, poet and author, spoke about inspiration. And she was an inspiration.
I doubt if Ms Upton saw “Galaxy Quest”; however, I am sure she understands its meme:
Never Give Up. Never Surrender.
And yes, I bought her book, Swallowing the Sea: On Writing & Ambition, Boredom, Purity & Secrecy.