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.
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?