By Abyrne | November 10, 2013
As I sit here thinking about “O” words and commentary as to things we have known all along to make our writing ventures great, I for some reason have Smokey the Bear in my head and the tag line about “Only you can prevent forest fires….” which in it’s own way is an appropriate launching point for this installment, because like fire prevention, ONLY YOU can write your story. Until the time when we can think a story into tangible creation, we have an issue. We have to take ownership (another “O” word) for the process and make it happen. Wishing does not make one an author any more than dreaming does, though those two things are stepping stones along the path to the process, so keep them around.
No two writers will tell the same story the same way and THAT is why we each have an avenue toward authorship. The best example of this is in interviewing witnesses at a crime scene…each one saw the same thing, but they noted and gave heavier creedence to different pieces of the same event, thereby the stories differ…sometimes slightly, sometimes greatly…but differ none the less. Your story, while perhaps centered on a familiar or popular theme, will never be exactly the same as someone else’s telling tales in the same genre. Unless of course, you resort to overt plagiarism, in which case you are not a writer, you are a thief.
The other thing that comes to mind is owning the process. You cannot call yourself a writer if you don’t write. It is a fact. Writing does not have to be stellar to count as writing, and in fact, most writers start out with some pretty disheartening attempts before they get to the bigger ball field with the fan base and t-shirts. I would guess that most writers, if asked, would tell you that they have many pieces in a drawer somewhere or ashed in the compost that will never see the light of day. Why? Because failing forward is how we get better….but we have to keep going and own the fact that we did not sit down at the computer or the pen and paper a NY Times best selling writer…we had to exert effort and take chances, seek opportunities to grow and accept the skinned knees as we crawled before we walked, before we ran and hit success.
Owning the process is what enables us to become something bigger, better, and known. Owning the process means the whole process too, not just the final event. We can only appreciate what has been gained when we accept responsibility for the times that we did not reach the full potential because THAT is where we learn what works, what doesn’t, and if we pay attention, what we need to do next time to get farther than we have been. Writing is a marathon of sprints. The long road to success is paved with the cast off pieces as we hone our skill set and rework our dreams to fit out growing abilities. The only thing that remains is drive and the question of how bad you really want it. Good things come to those who wait. Great things come to those who bust their asses and really go for it.
Are you wishing, dreaming, or preventing forest fires…Only you know the answer.
(In other news….where is my spell check button gone?)