Why write?

Hemingway there is nothing to writing

I was engaged in a conversation with another mom the other day – a mom I don’t know very well. We started talking about what we do for a living. I explained that I’m a freelance writer and do most of my work for educational publishers. She was intrigued and wanted to know more, so I told her. That led to me venting a bit about rejection. When I came up for air from my whine fest she bluntly asked, “Why do you do it?”

I was taken aback for a second. My first instinct was to defend my profession, my industry, myself. And then I thought, I don’t know that I’ve ever asked myself why I do it.

I’ve always written. I’ve always been called to paper and keyboard; to tap out a rhythm that echoes my days; to chisel a world from a scrap of dialogue; to connect through words unspoken. It’s my way of hashing things out, of processing things, remembering things, making sense of things. It’s my way of escaping, relieving stress, learning more about myself, pushing myself, disciplining myself, teaching myself.

Writing, for me, takes the jumbled mess of thoughts knocking about my head, and organizes them, colors them, ties them up with perfect little bows and compartmentalizes them in chronological or alphabetical or any other -ical order. Or maybe it doesn’t do this at all. Sometimes a writing session multiplies the jumbled thoughts into an unruly vagabond tribe — wayward and haphazard, searching for a place to land — voices too distinct to ignore. Voices I will surely revisit. Either way, I always learn something in the process and by the time it’s done, whether it’s a news article, a non-fiction unit of study, a blog post, or a picture book manuscript, I am changed for having written.

Something happened over the summer. Somewhere in the stretch of structureless days I lost sight of my writerly self. It wasn’t until I resumed creative writing for a freelance opportunity that I remembered  “rejection” is just another word for “try again”.

Sit back down, face the blank page. Take it bird by bird.

Feedback, when given authentically and truthfully, is a catalyst for growth, an opportunity to push yourself and your work to new limits, to beyond limits, to utilizing muscles and tools you didn’t think you had but you did. You had access to them all along.

With the rejections that I’ve received from submitting synopses for this project, I have been granted a second chance. Because with each one, I held tight to a character or a scene or a plot that I begrudgingly relinquished for the sake of this project. And now they get a second chance at life. A limitless life. Rejection has resuscitated the storyteller in me.

All of this is not to say that rejection doesn’t sting. Of course it does. But I’m happy enough with my progress on this project thus far to recognize that maybe, just maybe, I never really wanted to relinquish a few of these little darlings in the first place. Maybe they were always meant to be mine–part of the vagabond tribe with voices too loud to ignore. I don’t know that they’ll ever see the light of day, and I don’t presume that a beckoning voice means their stories will flow seamlessly from my fingertips. Crafting their stories might turn out to be hard work. Some of them might fight the page. Others might careen onto paths unforeseen and I’ll have to trust where that takes us. Maybe to a dead end. But maybe not.

“I hate writing, I love having written.” -Dorothy Parker

So why do I write? Though it might cause bleeding from time to time, the high from having written is enough to move forward, to make me think I can do it again and do it better.

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Under Construction

*This post might turn out to be long but stick with me — there’s something in it for you!

I’m sitting here trying to figure out a way to tell you what I’ve been doing since November 17 (the point at which I disappeared), but it’s all very slice-of-life stuff.

I got busy.

Family came to visit for Thanksgiving and that was a blast. And then we got sick and that was not a blast. Then there was everything that leads up to Christmas and it was all merry and bright. And then the boys were struck with something like the flu but they’ve had flu shots so not the flu exactly. And then I fell victim and it was most definitely the flu. And then it was two days before Christmas and pretty much the only person I had shopped for was Mia. Oops. And then it was Christmas and fa la la la la la la la la. And then we had a snowstorm, the end.

But what I really want to say…because this is my space (not to be confused with MySpace which I’m pretty sure is defunct by now) and I’m fairly confident there are approximately three people who read this blog…and my mom tells me that I should swallow my pride and let it out…

Taking a deep breath…

The last half of 2012 was not kind to us in the finance department. Things aren’t good and they’re only getting worse. So…I’ve been job hunting.

To give you some back story because I don’t think I have so far, I come from a publishing background. Children’s publishing specifically. I used to work at a literary agency in New York until we moved back to Indiana right before Mia was born. Since then, I’ve done some freelance writing and editing and manuscript critiquing. When I found out I was pregnant with baby number two (the twins thing would be a shock later), I had just finished a project that kept me busy for most of 2010. It was the perfect time to take a break and just be pregnant. Which turned out to be a grand plan because that pregnancy kicked my ass. And then the boys were born and, hello, who has time to work with infant twins?

Who has time to (insert any verb here) with infant twins?

So, a few months ago I decided we were finally in a good enough routine that I could get back to doing some freelance work. Imagine my surprise to find that a year and a half later most of my contacts can’t be found. I’m trying to network, and I think I’m making new contacts, but it’s slow going. Too slow for our circumstances. So, I’m now the proud owner of an updated resume that is currently circulating the WWW and probably not being seen by any real people anywhere.

So this is where you come in.

See? I told you there was something in it for you.

I need your help.

Okay, so not quite for you.

If you happen to know anyone in need of any writing, editing, copyediting, proofreading or manuscript reviewing work, I’m your girl. Likewise, if you’re in the Indianapolis area and you just happen to be looking for a detail-oriented, creative, reliable, dead-line driven and all around awesome professional, ahem, I’m right here.

So that’s that.

Another thing — you’ll probably notice the “personality” of this blog changing a bit in the near future. Though I’m still using this space as a “mommy blog” (ugh, I really don’t like that term), I’m also going to incorporate more material on writing and books. There will be some book reviews (mostly children’s books — picture books through YA), some discussion on current publishing trends, industry news, maybe some author interviews, who knows. I don’t really know what’s in store but I’m excited to find out.

Cheers to 2013!