Friday, February 21, 2020

Staying Authentic with Your Intentions as a Writer--Not Always Easy?

I had a very lucky and much too fast beginning as a published author.  My first book, now long out of print, was a huge success--the press's best seller and winner of a prestigious award.  I was in my twenties, busy with a new  relationship and a new business, and fairly ignorant about what was happening.  It was just a fast train, I was on it, and I didn't know the writing life could be any different.  That first book landed me an agent who helped me with several others.  Out of it came a nationally syndicated column and good income for a number of years.

Some writers fall into success.  That's not to say we don't work hard, but the ride we're on might not align completely with our deepest intentions.  I was too young, truthfully, to care back then.  

A decade passed, a number of books, and I felt a little lost.  I didn't really like writing anymore. It was all about production--meeting other people's deadlines, following the publisher's marketing department's idea of what their audiences wanted.  

At some point, I got very ill.  I had to say no to the next contract and stop for a while.  That became a blessing in disguise.  Even though the money train passed me by, I got to think about what I really wanted to write.  What was truly authentic to me.

Deep inside the productive nonfiction writer was a novelist.  My first attempts at fiction were laughable, but I loved writing it. When it became serious enough, I went back to grad school to get another degree.  I started studying like a beginner.  

Each new journey in my writing life felt scary.  Beginning again isn't always fun.  I liked being an expert, well regarded, successful.  I lost my agent when I left, and it took years to get another one. But beginning again brought authenticity back to my writing.

If any of this resonates, and you are also taking advantage of winter days to reflect and review your writing decisions, asking yourself hard questions, you may enjoy checking out a small book that has guided me well each time I make a serious turn: Creative Authenticity by Ian Roberts.  

Roberts is a painter and a writer. He feels that by connecting to the core of your own authenticity, your work will have "strength and relevance."  I find his short, poetic chapters both inspiring and relevant to that risky beginner place of starting anew. (Click on the book title above to read more of his wisdom about creating well.)

If the new year has found you floundering, check out Roberts' wisdom this week.  It may foster more authenticity, and a stronger sense of communication with who you really are, as an artist on the page.

No comments:

Post a Comment