Wednesday, May 21, 2014

How I Found the Write Path

How I Found The Write Path is hosted by Carrie Butler at So You're a Writer to celebrate her blogiversary, and to give encouragement to writers. Happy blogiversary, Carrie! Way to celebrate!


Dear young writer self,

I spent days thinking over this letter. I wrote one for my twelve year old self, and then I started thinking of my eighteen year old self, my twenty-one year old self, my thirty year old self, and finally, my thirty-seven year old self. At each of those moments, I stood at a crossroads with my writing path. At each of those moments I wrestled with hopes and fears, big dreams and big doubts.

At twelve, for the first time, a teacher will tell you that you could be an author. When this happens, I hope you listen to her fully. She will tell you that you have potential and talent. She will encourage you to dream. The storytelling dream  in you will fill notebooks with stories. That burst of creativity and hard work will last until you face a crisis of faith that will hit you to the marrow of your belief in God. I wish I could spare you, but this will make you a stronger person. The whole world and your writing will seem pointless. But you will keep writing. 

At eighteen, dear young writer, you will struggle against the doubts of others. Your parents will caution you to choose something practical, something that will get you a job. You will listen to them, and find out that you love to teach. And, you can keep on writing, filling notebooks and napkins, and receipts. You will write poems in the margins of your lecture notes and your classmates will encourage you to keep writing. Remember, even when you honor the advice of well-meaning parents who want you to "be practical," you can still keep writing.

At twenty-one, young writer, you will find unexpected success in three poems published by your college newspaper. You won't even know those poems were accepted until after you've worked a morning shift in the cafeteria and one of your co-workers gives you a glowing review and a hug. Then, you'll walk in a daze back to your dorm and then classes, during which time, at least ten people will tell you that they hate your poetry and they never want to speak to you again. And, they actually mean it and actually stop speaking to you. Thankfully, your real friends are going to encourage you. However, you're still going to feel like hell about it. And then, you'll keep writing. Your teachers will expect more of your essay writing, and they will even pull you aside and tell you that if you want an A, you're going to have to strip all the adverbs and trite sentence variations out of your writing because they expect more from you since you are a writer. Your classmates won't be held to the same expectations. Don't be discouraged. Take this as a compliment, and keep writing.

At thirty, semi-young writer, you will have two children, be faced with a life-changing health problem, and have a complete novel that seems to resist any attempts to revise it. You'll have been a part of an amazing writer's group, and then have been stuck with several terrible ones that will leave you with the desire to be a writing hermit. You will write during nap times, and in the mornings, and you'll discovery that poetry and short story starts keep your writing alive in the midst of days chasing your children around the house. You will keep writing, and you will have doubts of ever having anything published other than something for a Commercial Fiction class that you know was just a part of the class so it doesn't feel like it counts. Remember, it does count. And, keep writing.

At thirty-seven, middlish-young writer self, you will see the big FORTY looming on the horizon, and you will decide that you are going to be published no matter what life throws into your path. You will submit short stories and poetry like never before, and you will get published. You will even get paid a little. You will write another novel. You will decide to self-publish (not yet, but soon after the 40), and you will keep writing. You will start a blog, and you will meet encouraging blog buddies who have big dreams like you. And, you will keep writing.

So, the most important advice I can give you, young writer, at any age is threefold:
1. Keep Writing!
2. Believe in the gifts that God has given you. (And, by the way, believe in Him too - it will save your life)
3. Trust the words of encouraging friends.

Sincerely,

Tyrean Martinson, the elder (the really old, the past 40, the determined writer; poet;  author of The Champion Trilogy; blogger at Tyrean's Writing Spot)

(and for Carrie - yes, you can use this letter in the free ebook!)

If you could write a letter to your younger writer self, what would you say?

49 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Those poem haters were terrible! Don't listen. Keep writing, keep your faith, and trust God.

Maurice Mitchell said...

Posive feedback is always welcome, but sometimes you have to trust yourself.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Thanks, Alex! I agree!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Very true, Maurice!

Liz Blocker said...

I loved reading your story! Thank you for sharing your journey so honestly and personally, and with so much obvious love. I'm so glad you kept writing through all of it, no matter what!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Thank you, Liz. Writing is just a part of who I am, and once I really realized that, I decided not to hold back any longer. :)

Melissa said...

You've really persevered. Good for you, Tyrean!

Tyrean Martinson said...

It's taken a long time, but I just keep writing. :) Thanks, Melissa!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Loved the post, especially how you showed yourself at various ages of your writing career all the way back to when you were a kid. Awesome you've wanted to write for so long.

M Pax said...

Yes, keep writing. I'm here to cheer you on! :)

mshatch said...

I can't believe anyone would stop speaking to you just because they didn't like your poetry! And who the heck would come right out and say they hated what you'd written? Not the sort of people one would want to hang out with imo. A pox upon them, I say!

And yes, keep writing :)

Tyrean Martinson said...

Thank you, Mary! I'm cheering for you too! :)

Tyrean Martinson said...

LOL - yes, a pox on them! Agreed! It was weird because I look back now and can't believe I thought they were my friends before that.
Thank you, Marcy!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Thanks, Natalie! It has taken me a long while to believe in myself enough . . . and I hope that I can help others believe in themselves earlier!

Carol Riggs said...

LOL, "Tyrean the Elder." Funny. Enjoyed your letter, especially the 3 summary points. Go, Tyrean! :)

cleemckenzie said...

Aren't you fortunate to have such a talent and have it recognized early by others. That talent will only be enhanced by experience, I'm sure. Looking forward to great thing, Tyrean.

Stephanie Faris said...

Isn't it funny how those milestones in life make us realize we haven't pursued our dream of being published? I remember feeling that way both at 30 and 40!

Elizabeth Hein said...

Thank goodness for that teacher that gave you that first jolt of confidence.

Lynda R Young said...

It's great you got such early encourgement. Your letter is great. I especially love #2 at the end--ALL of #2. Beautiful.

Tammy Theriault said...

I am right there with you...this is a talent gifted to you! and girl this was one amazing letter :)

Julie Luek said...

Wow-- so beautiful and insightful. I think there are so many points along this we can all relate to in one way or the other.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Glad someone caught the humor in that statement! And Thank you!

Tyrean Martinson said...

You are so sweet, C. Lee. I think my talent is just keeping going . . .
Thanks!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Yes, it seems like life just flies by, and then "Uh-oh, what happened to all those things I planned to get done . . . eventually?"

Tyrean Martinson said...

Yes, I may be a homeschool mom, but I have great respect for teachers. They touch the lives of many people and give encouragement when and where it is needed most.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Thank you, Lynda!!! Glad you liked #2! :)

Tyrean Martinson said...

Thank you, Tammy!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Thank you, Julie. I hoped that would be the case. I was worried for a bit that it was too much "self" reflection. I hope I can encourage others who have had similar experiences.

Misha Gericke said...

Awesome advice to give your young writer self. Me... I'm doing mine tomorrow and still don't know what I'm going to write. :-D

Theresa Milstein said...

Sometimes when we follow "practical," it winds up not being practical for us at all. If only we understood that back then.

Loni Townsend said...

Sounds like you've gone on quite the journey! Good points, especially trusting yourself. :)

Christine Rains said...

Fantastic letter! I love seeing your journey and turning points. I'd tell my younger self not to handle rejection so badly and hide my writing away from the world. With age comes wisdom and thick skin.

D Biswas said...

I wish our earlier selves received these fantastic letters we write them once we're more grown up. :)

Lady Lilith said...

Nice letter. Amazing journey you were on. Being a writer is not an easy path but it looks like you pushed through.

LD Masterson said...

I think I'm jealous. I've never written anything powerful enough to make someone stop speaking to me.

Keep writing.

Heather Holden said...

People stopped speaking to you because of your poetry? Wow, that's just cruel. Glad to see you kept writing despite what life threw your way!

Cathrina Constantine said...

Perseverance pays off, usually. I hung up my writing at a young age and persisted again past the ripe age of 40, when after raising 5 children I had some time for myself. God shows me the way, and it's not always the way I want to travel, but He knows best.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Really? You've written insightful posts before, and I'm sure you have something to say to your younger writing self. :D

Tyrean Martinson said...

I'm actually ok with the practical side of becoming a teacher because I found out that I love it. I only teach writing to homeschool kids now, but it works for me.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Thanks, Loni!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Yes, with age comes wisdom and a super thick skin. :)

Tyrean Martinson said...

Yes, me too. :)

Tyrean Martinson said...

Sometimes I feel like every writer is like Samson pushing at the walls around him. We will break through them, eventually.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Haha. I love that. :)

Tyrean Martinson said...

I don't think they meant to be cruel. They were just offended - one of the poems had some gritty, heavy content - and I think a few of them were unhappy with themselves . . .
Thanks, Heather!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Amen! He knows best!

E.J. Wesley said...

One of my favorites I've read so far, Tyrean! Probably because your journey has similarity to my own. (And we're close to the same age, too. :) I received a scholarship to attend the Art Institute in our region out of high school. But it seemed like a long way away for this small town kid, and my folks also cautioned me about choosing a career I could easily find work (and money!) in. So I ended up with degrees in psychology and counseling and didn't pursue my dreams of drawing comic books. :) I was in my later 20s when I fell in love with writing fiction. It tapped into my artistic side, and I'd always been told I was a talented writer--just more on the academic and business side of things.

Nearly a decade later and I'm still working on my writing craft, publishing my work, and truly living out a dream. I wish I wouldn't have spent so much time early on being discouraged, you know?

Anyway, brilliant post! And please, never quit chasing your writing dreams. We'd miss you dearly. :)

Jennifer Chandler said...

Wow! This is such a gorgeous post! Thank you so much for sharing this!! Perhaps I shall write a letter to my younger selves. 40 is approaching for this middle-youngish soon to be 37 writer :) I don't fear it but I do get a sense of urgency in my writing when I think about it. Sure, I just (finally) finished college, but I have yet to have anything published. Then again, I have yet to really finish anything that I would consider submission worthy. Thank you for this call to action!

Jen

Carrie Butler said...

Great letter, Tyrean! You second piece of advice is very important to me, too. :) Thank you so much for participating!