Every morning, I read. I venture into newsletters, writer websites, news, and literary offerings. I meander the expanse of words on the internet. Why?
Feeding the Muse
I’m searching for the glint of an idea, a combustible fragment eager to set ablaze my Muse.
What I find exuberates me and inspires me to create a poem, pour my deepest thoughts into my journal, write a letter to a grandchild, or take a photograph when words fail me. Other’s words form thoughts and feelings that challenge me to grapple with language. I transform mere words into life.
The writers I seek to emulate produce chatter that connects me to the reality of this thing called writing. I hear tales of losing a Muse, rejection letters, agents, editors, imposter syndrome, lack of time, and too much time. Their voices echo the voices that threaten to silence my pen. These literary comrades offer hope and encouragement to both fledgling and experienced writers.
Beware of Detractors
My thoughts begin to churn and ideas swirl in a frenzy before it happens.
Lurking behind slick headlines and titles, promises of quick success bombard my senses. These unbidden interruptions pull me off track and lure me into a land of “Five steps to writer’s bliss and fulfillment.” I’m tempted by strategies to earn six figures with my writing in a scant six months, but only if I buy this course worth thousands of dollars. Today, and only today, I can get this incredible value for $199.
Other distractions threaten to derail my search for insightful messages.
Complainers complain about algorithms, platform changes, number of reads, lack of views, and the unfairness of it all. The world has sabotaged their talent and potential earnings.
I become exhausted by the noise.
Caring for My Muse
Collecting myself, I return to the only voice that matters. The one sitting within me. I value those writers who remind me of the work I must do. They encourage me and remind me of what it takes— practice, patience, and always coming back to the work.
I look again at each essay, poem, and chapter I have read that day. These writers’ voices produce words that glide gleefully across the page as if poured like warm honey, easily, smoothly, inviting me to keep reading. They inspire me to write one sentence and then another.
Then I examine my words, words that fought me every letter, every syllable, of every word along the way. I see potential, not perfection.
My mind turns down the volume from all the sellers, hawkers, and nay-sayers. You know who I’m talking about.
We see them, and desperately want to believe in the magic. Let me know if you come across some fairy dust.
Ray Bradbury set me on a better path as a writer with his sage advice. I am learning to embrace his wisdom.
And finally, have you trained well enough so you can say what you want to say without getting hamstrung? Have you written enough so that you are relaxed and can allow the truth to get out without being ruined by self-conscious posturings or changed by a desire to become rich?
Tomorrow, I will sit down in my comfortable spot, coffee in hand, and feed my mind with the best writers I can find. I will live life to have something to say to the world. I will tune out the negativity that buzzes in my ear.
I have no time for that.
Bradbury reminds us, “By living well, by observing as you live, by reading well and observing as you read, you have fed Your Most Original Self.”
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And always—Be kind. Be brave. Be you.
Photo: “The Journey” by Kathryn LeRoy