We celebrated our In Print five year anniversary this past Saturday at Cliffbreakers. As a founding member, I was asked (cough*required*cough) to speak. I struggled with my words, not because I don’t have a million awesome things to say about In Print, but because I worried that the five original founders might be sharing the same tales. Oh, and also because I detest public speaking. When I scribbled the header of, “What I’ve learned from In Print” on the top of yet another page in the spiral bound notebook, I began reciting parts from the famous kindergarten essay. So I went with it.
If you attended the festivities, thank you and here’s a copy of what I read. If you did not, I hope you will enjoy these inspired words.
All I really need to know about being a writer, I learned from In Print.
No matter the age you come to the love of writing, these guidelines will apply:
* Write every day. Or at least once a month as in the case of The Prompt Club.
* Your story is important. The NaNo slogan says, “The world needs your novel.”
* Give yourself credit– for your ideas, your ability, but especially your accomplishments. And know that every word on that page is an accomplishment.
* Writers need people. Editors, agents, publishers and readers, of course. But also other writers. Nobody understands us like we do.
* Collaboration can do wonders for your inspiration. We are all artists. Some with paint on the canvas, others with words on the page.
* Do not fear the delete key.
* Do not fear the send button.
* ALWAYS CTRL S
* Give critique when requested, but be constructive.
* Take critique when given (or don’t), and assume it’s constructive.
* When in doubt, talk it out. In Print offers monthly meetings for this.
* After writing, reading is the next best tool in a writer’s arsenal. Following reading would be discussing what you’ve read, as we do in the Writers as Readers Book Club.
* Coffee may very well be the base of the writer’s consumption pyramid.
* Alcohol may be a close second.
* Sunshine and fresh air can do wonders to a stumped muse. Welcome Spring!
* If you write it well, it will touch people. If it touches people, they will adapt it to their own needs. If you adapt it to your own needs, please cite your sources and give a shout-out when a shout-out is due. (Thank you Robert Fulghum author of All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten!)
A writer’s life is nothing if not imbalanced. We do the best we can. We write when time allows and when it doesn’t, we think, we dream, and we doodle on the back of receipts, napkins, and event programs. We try to establish schedules and stick to deadlines, but in addition to our regular lives, we are at the mercy of our creativity. And what a crazy, stubborn, wonderful taskmaster she is.
And it is always true– no matter how old you are, how educated you are, how experienced you are, no matter how popular or multi-published you are, when you think of an idea, WRITE IT DOWN.
It’s true, you know, I really have learned a lot from being a part of this professional writers organization. I’ve learned to share the words, go for the ideas and see through the goals. I wish every writer the opportunity to do the same.
[Inspiration: “ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW I LEARNED IN KINDERGARTEN” by Robert Fulghum. See his web site at http://www.robertfulghum.com/ ]