Thursday, April 18, 2013

All You Need is Pain

    With all respect to the Beatles, I have found that more than love, writers really need PAIN in their lives.
     As an instructor in the continuing education department at Central Piedmont Community College, this week I participated in their annual Sensoria event. I was joined by two other writing instructors, Jodi Helmer and Edward McKeown, and together we quickly overviewed the writing and publishing industry.
Ed, Jodi, and I greeted students after the Author's Panel
     Besides sharing the author who has influenced me the most (CynthiaVoigt) and my writing mentors (Joyce Hostetter and Rebecca Petruck) I also told the student audience they needed to consider the P.A.I.N necessary to get published. 
     Let me explain.
     P is for the passion a writer must have in order to bring a piece to publication. Writers must love translating their ideas into words, sentences, and paragraphs. More than seeing their name in print or getting paid gobs of money (which may or may not happen!) writers write because it’s something they can’t NOT do.  They enjoy the process of discovering a new and creative way of telling a story. But passion isn't enough. Writers need skills. Which brings me to,
     A stands for the ability writers need to use all the rules learned in elementary school in order to create a coherent piece of writing.  All those boring things like correct grammar, appropriate punctuation, when to indent a paragraph, how to distinguish homonyms, choosing active vs. passive verbs, avoiding adverbs---all of these must be in a writer's toolbox. And if they're not, would-be writers can read books, take a class, or go on-line to gain instruction and acquire writing skills. 
      Although the writer's craft encompasses more than just stringing words together to form complete sentences; writers can also learn how to choose the best words, and how to use the imagery of poetic language to communicate their ideas. Which leads me to,
     I is for idea. Every article, story, poem, or play began with a seed of an idea. Half-Truths began because I observed many Caucasians and African Americans with the same surname in Charlotte, NC. The many articles I wrote about glass came out of my fascination with a material that is incredibly strong, yet fragile; as old as dirt and as modern as fiber optics. And although my book on glass was rejected by more publishers than I can count, I learned that,
     N is for never giving up. Writers must persevere in spite of critiquers recommending that a piece be re-written for the 15th time; family members mocking their work; editors or agents rejecting the manuscript; and even their own desire to-do-anything-else-in-the-world-besides-sit-in-this-chair-and-write. 
    Take an inventory of yourself:
  • Are you passionate about the creative writing process?
  • Do you have the ability to write or are you committed to learning and practicing?
  • Do you have ideas that grab you and demand to be written about?
  • Are you willing to put in the time, effort, and energy that is necessary to bring a piece to completion?
     In a recent webinar, Emma Dryden said, "Pay attention to the journey, not just your goals."
     And realize that PAIN is part of that process. 


Unknown said...

I enjoyed sharing the day with you. thanks Ed

Ann Eisenstein said...

Thanks for a great piece, Carol. And a wonderful acronym. I am in PAIN!

Carol Baldwin said...

Glad you liked it, Ann!

Linda A. said...

You have such good tips on your blog. Thank you!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks for stopping by, Linda. Glad you find it is helpful.

Linda Phillips said...

Your years of experience and hard work shine through here, Carol. Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Linda.

Jean said...




Carol Baldwin said...

I hear your pain, Jean!

Young Authors Program said...

This is a GREAT post, Carol! I will be tweeting it.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Dorothy!

Clara Kensie said...

Lovely, Carol! PAIN. So simple, yet so effective. I love it!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Clara, for stopping by and leaving a comment!

Unknown said...

Love this post! I think I'll write that on my white board this month! Also, I'm excited I found your blog!

Carol Baldwin said...

Glad this resonated with you and so glad you found my blog--thanks on both accounts!

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