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Sunday, January 15, 2012



Here's what I've started to think lately: if you love to write, you should write. not with the goal of being published or successful. Just for the love of writing. In the end the success is so difficult to define. And as you achieve more of it, your definition of it changes. In the beginning, it's just about finishing it, then it's about getting someone to publish it and then it's about being a top amazon (or NYT) seller and then it's about getting another book deal. the carrot moves constantly. (in the beginning we're sure it won't for us. We think all we want is to just see the one book in print, but i promise the carrot does move.) So, in the end, all you have is what you started with: the love of writing. That's what brings you the most joy and that's the part you need to focus on. All else is noise. At least for the first few drafts.

I have a friend who started writing around when I did (back in mid 90s) and after writing daily for nearly 20 years, she finally got published last year. Most of us had given up by then, but she had what you need: a true love for writing itself. She did all the other work, too. Sent inquiries. Sent her work to magazines. Got published in small literary journals. Entered competitions. eTc. but throughout it all the love of writing is really what did it. What kept her going. Because she couldn't possibly imagine not writing.

I think when you do that, you are never unsuccessful and in the end you're spending your time doing what you love most.

Fluent Brittish

Well, that professor would have definitely crushed my dreams.

I would love to publish something someday, but I fear criticism. I don't know how writers overcome it. You would have to teach yourself to just not care and be at peace knowing that you wrote what you wanted to write and nothing anyone else says matters.

Of course, it's easier to think that was once someone has agreed to publish your work.

Note to self: don't try to aspire to poet.

Kasandra Mathieson

You have an amazing gift Amy...I love your writing! So glad I found your blog again. I have an English degree, but my writing is sporadic. I see the difference in my daughter who absolutely loves to write! She writes hours every day, has a book done and is looking into having it published. She studies writing, goes to writing clubs and researches everything she can about her book.
But your professor...I met many like him when I went to University! They had degrees but had never learned to teach, to inspire their students to want to learn...you learned to write the papers they wanted to read but you were just getting through the class. I like that you write that we still learned something from it, because it's true....


This is wonderful. Thank you.

There is a very famous poet I cannot stand. I met him in college, and he came across as terribly arrogant and smug and self-satisfied. After his reading my dear writing teacher and mentor - a man who could always, always find something kind and honest to say, even about the worst poems around the workshop table - said, "I just can't see the child in that man." It was an accurate yet sad appraisal.

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