Monday, July 6, 2009

Words to Write by

I had a friend find me this last week. A new one, someone I have only met once in person. She had the insight to e-mail some kind words to me. Amazing stuff.

Here's a piece of her advice:

"You have to be published in order to get published." Which seems impossible but really makes a lot of sense.

Then they followed it up by saying, "Everyone has to make the original 'bad deal' in their career." They were just talking about how everyone starts out at the bottom of the totem pole.

The last thing they said that really struck me was: "You have not yet written your best story" and "You have not yet had your best idea."

And, as if I needed a topper to that, she gave me this...

You're not just telling stories. You're changing lives. Now that the choice is made, move forward and work hard. Sure footing depends on the direction we're looking in. While it's okay to look back, do so briefly and then turn forward.

Everyone needs a friend like her. Everyone needs someone to remind them that even though life is hard, we can work harder. Move forward instead of looking back. Who doesn't need that reminder?

And, you haven't written your best story or had your best idea. Wow. I love that. It means that anyone who has the gumption to try writing in the first place can only get better if they keep working at it.

You're not just telling stories, you're changing lives. That's why I write. I know how much influence other authors have had on me. Imagine writing something that sunk into the readers minds and hearts and helped them want to be better. Is there a better career in all the world?

Okay, don't answer that. I know there are lots of ways to change lives. I just happen to love writing- and teaching. I'm so looking forward to the school year when I can go into schools and talk to kids. That will be one of the pinnacles of this whole writing journey. I love teaching just as much as writing. School visits are like all the best parts of teaching- a captive audience, fun stuff to talk about, funny moments and stories- without having to grade papers at the end of the day. What could be better than that?

I know that there are so few people in this world who have read my book, and even fewer who I have had a chance to talk to, but those kids who I have met personally have written on my heart. A fourteen year old girl came to one of my booksignings a while ago and sat down on the floor next to my table and talked to me for a half hour about writing and books. She had already read my book before she came to the signing. I don't know if I'll ever see her again, but the fact that she came just to meet and talk to me, a total stranger, really made me stop and think about what kind of influence a writer can have on young lives.

No matter how discouraging life can get, I know there are people out there that make it all worth it. It's a strange thing. Just when I start to wonder if any of it is working, worth it or going anywhere, someone steps in and makes a difference.

So to my new friend, thank you.


L.T. Elliot said...

Dude...way to make me bawl myself silly! Okay, really though...I'm all teary and embarrassing sounds and stuff...and totally incoherent in thought and word.

I'm so honored, Laura, and touched. Thank you. I'm glad my email didn't offend--especially as it went on forever and forever!

Thank YOU for your friendship, warmth, and thoughtfulness. Just knowing you better is a treasure I can't repay. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Laura said...

How am I supposed to top that? You've out-done yourself again.

One of these days I'm going to be asking you to autograph your book for me. I can't wait.

Anonymous said...

Great advice! I think I need to post it on my mirror or something :)

Caryn Caldwell said...

I loved this - so inspirational! Though the part about how you have to be published to get published sometimes seems depressingly true. Just this morning I was thinking that exact same thing...

P.S. For the first time EVER a Blogger captcha word makes sense! Mine is "extra".

Laura said...

Thanks- all of you for your thoughts. It's nice to know I'm not writing in a world alone.