Saturday, January 30, 2010

On Writing

I'm taking a six week class at a local art school for Writing and Illustrating Children's books. That said, I'm not positive I want to write Children's books. Though I don't particularly like children, I know I'd love to write something. I also know that in six years of motherhood, something close to a dozen ideas for children's books have pounced on me. So, hey. Why not?!

Don't ask me about the Illustrating part. I'm trying not to get too worked up over that. Rumor has it publishers know some illustrators anyway, should anything I compose ever get that far...

The first day of class, the instructor quickly brought up something that stuck with me. He said that being a writer, any kind of writer, comes with a certain level of fear and vulnerability. Anything that you write inevitably exposes your thoughts or feelings about something, and you are therefore made more vulnerable with the exposing.

I've not had much hesitation here in blogland, where really I imagine my onlookers are dear pals or relatives, but thinking about anything else I might write... even just for this class? Yes, it's a little intimidating. Though I've not put much thought into why, I think with his statement, my class instructor answered the question I never asked. There's a vulnerability to it that feeds the eternal adolescent concern: but... what if they don't like me?? What if NO ONE likes me??

Fortunately, the instructor, after pointing out we would all become vulnerable with one another, did come to soothe the tween-agers in us by reinforcing that writing should be something that you do for you. Instead of looking for acceptance or fame or fortune or notoriety of any kind, it should just be an individual journey that the writer enjoys.

As I pursue this next writing adventure (wholeheartedly or otherwise), I will try to accept my vulnerability and work to just enjoy the act of writing.

So, did you like what I wrote? Did you? Did you??


  1. what if no-one likes me is an adolescent concern? are you sure? Are we allowed to maintain adolescent concerns without staying adolescent?

  2. I have a couple childrens books I want to publish too and have the same issues of fear. Ugh. I really should just get over it. Let me know if you find out any good publishers through your class!

  3. yes, zach. adolescent... but there is no allowing or prohibiting when it comes to emotional concerns. but don't tell my kids i said that.

    assuming my translator is accurate, my visiting stranger, you bring an important point. words in print are lasting. they immortalize us.

    niff, i'll keep you posted on publishing tips.

  4. A friend of mine has definitely been told most children's books are NOT illustrated by the author -- at least in this day and age. (This same friend conducts a Haiku contest on her Web page. Talk about vulnerability. Try writing a haiku!)

    And I always like what you write, Melissa. I'm often envious of your wordsmithin'.

  5. oh, pam. i find i am always envious of your writing!

    i wrote a haiku once about abi several years ago. some people have really bashed it, but i liked it. here it is:

    Most curious child,
    Pulling a foot to the face
    For a toe scratched nose.

    alright, maybe this writing thing is a bit over my head....

  6. Not only did I like it, I loved it. And I <3 u.

    I'm exploring this too, being more open not only in writing but in general. It's rewarding and also terrifying, as I've lived most of my life happily in shadows.

    I don't know if you feel this way, but I've always felt like your true calling was writing. You have a gift. Fear doesn't dilute that... although it can affect the drive. But it can't take away your talent for self-expression.