At first, I kept my writing a secret. I told nobody. My kids thought I was writing a lot of letters. It was a hard time. I felt like an impostor at work, grocery shopping, anywhere I wasn’t writing, because suddenly it was all I wanted to do and all I thought about and yet nobody knew it. Still all along I was learning; I was writing my training novel. And during that time I carried a fear that I would be hit by a truck and die before I could get good at the craft and then people would read my mounds of manuscripts and pity me, because I was such a bad writer. The idea nearly paralyzed me, but I pushed on.
However, I was tested along the way. I received a lot of “change back” messages from my family, which I tell about in my newly released book, WRITING WILD, Forming a Creative Partnership with Nature. I also received many, many rejections from agents, editors, magazine publishers and I lost every competition I entered. Recently my friend and novelist Tim Sandlin, director of the Jackson Hole Writers Conference, said, “But you just kept going.” And he’s right. I kept going - past the point of sane behavior it seemed at times.
I had to ask myself along the way just why I was writing and it turned out that it didn’t have as much to do with being published as I had thought. But it did have to do with the exchange between myself and others of thought and beautiful language. These two issues were what I loved about reading and what drew me to want to be a writer. So it became my job to find ways to enjoy an exchange with other readers and writers.
I found four other women who also wanted to write and learn to write well, so we met together every other week at a coffee shop and critiqued each other’s work. Eventually, I found open mic opportunities, and discovered that some non-profits held events that offered a chance for public readings, and I found a couple regional print avenues. I participated in whatever came my way.
Now numerous magazine articles, four anthologies, and three novels later I’m celebrating the publication of my first non-fiction book that tells what I’ve learned all these years. WRITING WILD – if it’s anything - is a testament to perseverance. So, Writers, keep going. Write and write. You are following your longing. You are making your life worth living. Do you realize how many people in the world envy us just because we have a passion in life, something we love to do? And this something wakes us up to a livelier experience than most people enjoy. We are engaged in creative energy and it is the substance, ethereal as it is, that makes the world go around.
Lynn chimes in...
|Turns out Tina and I share a love of Vedauwoo. |
This magical place in southeastern Wyoming played a role
in Tina's awakening to wild writing and living.
I gave myself the assignment to read Tina Welling's, WRITING WILD so I could say a few words about it in conjunction with Tina's blog post. Good call, Lynn. I finished the book yesterday, and let’s just say that I'm going to turn right around and re-read it. It’s that impactful. I don't want to miss a thing.
Tina took me on a wake-walk (her term) through the three-part process that makes up the core of this book. She introduced the process lightly at first—just a few twigs—then extended a wise hand to lead me further into this dense forest of a concept. On a serendipitous trip to Strawberry Park Hot Springs in Colorado, I practiced some of Tina’s techniques. I am still reverberating with all that I sensed, discovered and absorbed.
Using stories from her own life, quotes/ideas from other creative folks (William Stafford, anyone?), and distilled wisdom from nature, Tina gives us plenty to work with to find a connection with the natural world—or enhance the one we have—to the benefit of our lives and writing.