Wise words…

I came across this interview today and thought I would share it.

I’m posting these questions because it seemed to fit in with the editing season.

Oprah Book Club Author Elizabeth Berg Says Write First, Sell Second
by  Jessica Strawser

What’s the hardest thing about writing a story for you, when the words are flowing easily?
It’s not hard for me. It’s so joyful. It’s so much fun.

You hear so many successful writers talk about the agony of writing.
Sometimes I think people say that to keep the competition down. [Laughs.] “No, no, you don’t want to do this!” I feel the opposite. I feel like we are in such need of fresh voices, and I worry sometimes that emerging writers pay a little too much attention to what other people say.

If I could say anything to aspiring writers, it’s to keep your own counsel, first and foremost. There’s nothing wrong with listening to what other people have to say, and I used to be one of your readers who would gaze longingly at those pictures of people who are published and think, Oh man, what must it be like? But there is something inside of a person that makes them be a writer in the first place. That’s a strong and true thing. And you can have your head turned very easily by the business of writing. It’s so important to keep it church and state—keep it separate. The process of writing and creating and answering that very unique call inside yourself has nothing to do with agents and sales and all that stuff. I can tell you as someone who’s enjoyed a lot of success in my career that nothing matches the feeling you have when you get it right on the page, when you please yourself in that very intimate way: That’s always the best thing, no matter what happens. For me it is, anyway.

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That is wise advice and I think important to remember in the editing and critiquing process.

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Sorry I’m a little slow on the blogging front this week. I’m ear deep in edits. I know you all are too so I hope you understand if you don’t hear much from me.

13 thoughts on “Wise words…

  • Wow, what a GREAT and inspiring interview! Thank you SO MUCH for sharing it.

  • Yes, I loved it too. You’re welcome!

  • Oh YES!

    “I worry sometimes that emerging writers pay a little too much attention to what other people say.

    If I could say anything to aspiring writers, it’s to keep your own counsel, first and foremost.”

    I can’t wait for the day when I can exude just a smidgeon of this amount of confidence. Oh wait I’m doing that at midnight aren’t I. 😉

    • I think she made a good point. Sometimes we are so busy listening to advice and how-to that we lose ourselves in the process.

  • Thanks for that. Good timing too. I’m about to read my draft and begin edits. I’m really good at remembering that stuff during the first draft, but once I turn my left brain back on for rewrites . . . that’s when the agony sets in. I haven’t considered thinking of edits the same way that I do my first draft – that it’s just for me. I’ll have to keep that in mind!

    • LOL–I think that’s true for all of us. Once the analytical side kicks in it’s hard to resist to urge to listen to the critics.

  • Just know that I am in so much AWE of you all! You have written something that comes from inside you and have put those very special words on paper. Yes, those words need some editing, but WOW – you have the start of something special – something from within. I know it will get better with your attention. Go for iit!

  • Hearing this makes me want to get back into writing more seriously again. Nothing beats the joy I find when I’m pleased with what I’ve written.

    Thank you.

  • One or two of the classes I took scared the daylights out of me, talking so much about publishing and how to please agents, blah, blah, blah…it stunted my writing for a while. But I guess I have just enough confidence (very little, BTW) to say, “There is someone out there who will like what I have to say, and it will encourage them or give them hope or whatever.” Thinking too much about what others will think just stresses me out! And worse, it keeps me from writing.

  • Thanks so much for kindly sharing my interview with your readers–I’m so glad you found it inspiring! Best of luck to you in all your writing endeavors.

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