Friday, May 09, 2008

Making a Literary Life Friday: Changing Perspective

For each of us there was a time before we were writers. Back in those days, our ideas about the writing life were different than they are today. Here at the Writers' Group, we've traveled along roads we only dreamed about. How have our perspectives about writing changed? How have yours?

Lisa Marnell
I used to think writers were, well, celebrities, I suppose. The first time I met Christopher Castellani (at Duxbury Library on a cold December night), I could barely put two words together; he had written two books! Now I know writers are people. It gives me hope! It fills me with a sense of happiness and calm.

Amy MacKinnon
I'm not quite as far along as Lisa is in the process. When I met Julia Glass at the Muse, my voice trembled and I managed to stutter out a few words, but not the ones I wanted.

I think my perspective about agents and editors has changed the most. I used to be some what intimidated by them. I thought they held all the keys to us writers getting our work published. Now I know from the ones I've met that they're not wheelers-n-dealers, but people who care deeply about good writing. They want us to succeed. Most profound, we writers have been holding the keys--in the form of a good--book all along.

Hannah Roveto
I knew writers growing up; I never saw them work, though, and I must have assumed all the elements of craft flowed from them in some natural way. When I started to take fiction more seriously, I was stymied. I was a good writer; why couldn't I make it come out the way I wanted? The joy of meeting and talking with other writers -- and taking classes from the likes of a Hallie Ephron -- is finding out how to make that leap, to ask the right questions and pull out answers that are most useful. Because as we know, we all go at this differently!

Lynne Griffin
When I fantasized about being a writer, but had not yet put pen to page, I was blocked by doubt. How could I be published alongside my idols Anna Quindlen, Carol Goodman, Ann Patchett? Along came a treasured gift from my husband; a copy of Carolyn See’s Making a Literary Life. Carolyn talks about desire as a critical component to success. She encourages writers to take the journey seriously enough to do what’s necessary. Everything that’s necessary. Over the years my perspective about success has changed. It doesn’t come looking for you, you have to go out and find it.

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