Sunday, August 21, 2011

Courage: Part One

I found a Borders Gift Card in my top dresser drawer last week and, considering their sad situation, I decided I'd better go use it immediately to good purpose. While browsing the shrinking inventory I found a book on writing that is worthy of mention here. It is called "The Courage to Write" by Ralph Keyes. Subtitle, "How Writers Transcend Fear".

First I must admit I am only on page 42. Only about one fourth in. Somehow I can finish any fiction book in 24 hours (who needs sleep?) but with non-fiction it is a slower journey for me.

I have found this book affirming. Many of the pages and examples are from and about published authors. What? To think this anxiety, this feeling of extreme vulnerability that comes from presenting a few sentences for anyone else to read, is universal? And that it won't go away when the agent, editor, and public finally discover my work?

Ok, in some ways it is a hard little lesson too. Much easier to envision all my problems will be solved by (trumpets sound effect)...publication. All fears washed away. To instead read over and over again that this isn't true, that authors continue to feel nauseous levels of self-doubt almost every day, even on their twelfth novel. Even if they sell well.

But I feel both enlightened, and lightened. As if a truth has been revealed. And as if the burden of "pretending to be a real writer" were lifted -- they are all pretending. We are all pretending.  

I will continue to batter my way through job woes, back-to-school time crunch, moving one daughter into college and hopefully share further on this book. And on courage in general. Where to find it. How to keep it from drifting away.


Progress towards goals, this week:
     Finished "The Year of Magical Thinking" by Joan Didion
     Read "Between the Tides" by Patti Callahan Henry
     Movies I saw: "The Help" (give it a solid 'A') and "True Grit"

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