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Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Is it Working? IWSG October, 2020

It's IWSG Day. The goal of this blog hop is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. IWSG is the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh. To find links to other IWSG contributors, click here. A big thank you to co-hosts for October: Jemima Pett, Beth Camp, Beverly Stowe McClure, and Gwen Gardner!

October optional question: When you think of the term working writer, what does that look like to you? What do you think it is supposed to look like? Do you see yourself as a working writer or aspiring or hobbyist, and if the latter two, what does that look like?

 

For purposes of this question, I suppose the term working writer means writing for pay. But even though in my past life as a freelancer I earned money writing, I’d never consider the term “working writer” in that context, only.

Whether you’re paid or not, aspiring or a hobbyist, any good writing takes butt-in-chair dedication, which means hard, diligent work. Too many times, people who call themselves writers say, “but I haven’t been writing lately.” In that regard, a “working” writer could be someone employing the dedication to practice their craft regularly.

Truth be told, I’ve never cared about making money through writing. Simply put, more than anything else I do, the “work” of writing gives me life. And, as I have so profoundly rediscovered over the past five months, for me writing also means healing.

Regular readers know I lost my husband in April. He passed on a Thursday and by Friday, I was driven to sit down to write about him, a piece that turned into my May IWSG post. Even though I was a wreck (or maybe because I was), those words poured from me. Looking back on it, I can only think the goal to capture the essence of my Tim on a page kept me moving forward during that first, excruciating day without him.

After that, I struggled to accomplish any writing while navigating the crater that had formed in my life. I wandered the house, sometimes forcing myself to sit at the computer to get a couple of sentences out before drifting away. But those few sentences I managed told me something. During the brief spells in which I could focus, writing delivered me from my drowning self. Somehow, I came to know the work of writing, was—and is, going to save me.

Five months later, I’ve finished what I call “First Draft B,” of the very first novel I tried to write. Eight years ago, the original first draft was a disaster I didn't have the skills to fix. For lack of a better project, I’d resurrected it before things took a downward turn with Tim, early this year. 

To distract myself from missing him, this summer I picked it up again. At first, I could only concentrate for a few minutes at a time. But after a while, the story captured me and I was not only able to fix issues with my newbie writing, I was also able to lose myself in the process.

May I state for the record that right now, losing myself in anything is a huge victory? 

So, working writer. What does that mean? To me, it means getting up in the morning knowing there’s writing work to be done—each idea a reward, every sentence a blessing, all of it salvation, a means by which I attend to something other than grief. I may never be paid another penny for anything I write, but hell, yes, I’m a working writer. And grateful that, for the time being anyway, my writing appears to be working.

What does being a working writer mean to you?

 

21 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm glad that story helped you heal some and you were able to finish it.

Joanne said...

Sad for the reason, but glad you found your focus. The comment that you are a working writer and the writing is working - that's the summation. Hard work is paying off and I bet Draft B is really good. Keep plugging away and enjoying your product. Excellent

Jemima Pett said...

Losing someone leaves you in a morass where actively thinking about them and writing your thoughts, or musing on the pictures of the loved one can actually help, so long as you have the time and privacy to do it. I'm glad you emerged to look at other projects.
Grief is such a personal thing. I hope you're managing okay now. Except sometimes...
I pretty much agree with your definition of a working writer, too :)

Natalie Aguirre said...

I'm glad you're finding healing in writing. I think it's great that you have been able to so soon after your husband's death. It's taken me years to get to that point. But that's okay because everyone's journey through grief is different.

Jan Morrison said...

Of all my blogger pals your view of the world comes closest to mine. I too heal by writing. I do not see writing as different from living. I'm a living human ergo a writing human. Thank you for continuing to share your experience - it may be a must for you but it is still brave to share it. Much love flowing to you from me...

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

"Simply put, more than anything else I do, the “work” of writing gives me life." Yes. Just yes.

Keep going, Liza.

Nick Wilford said...

What a moving, inspiring post. Your definition sounds spot on to me. Being creative can be so rewarding because it allows us to focus on something else, something that almost exists by itself even though we created it.

mshatch said...

I often find that writing can help me work through grief. I wrote my dad's obituary for the local paper, and many essays and poems about beloved dogs and cats. Strong feelings seem to produce powerful words. I am glad you're writing more :)

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

Your words are beautifully written and very inspiring. I am not a writer, but have found keeping a journal has helped me through the most difficult times. We each find our ways to get through grief and hope to find a place of peace.

Leigh Caron said...

When I lost my beloved to diabetic complications, I wrote this: "I don't want to down the gauntlet of emotions to get to the other side of sorrow." You're very strong. I too used writing as a way to get through the sorrow of his death and the years of still missing him.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Thank you for sharing your journey with us!
And yes, you are a working writer. I'm so glad you're able to lose yourself in the process and find purpose in the persistence of the work.
Hugs.

Carol Kilgore said...

I'm so glad that writing through your grief has helped you. We never know where life is going to take us, but writing can help hold us up when all else fails.

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Writing can be wonderfully therapeutic. I'm glad it's help you.

Fundy Blue said...

I'm glad writing has helped you through an unbelievable time, Liza. In my mind just getting though the day after what you have experienced is a big win! Keep moving forward.

Janet said...

This sentence--"To me, it means getting up in the morning knowing there’s writing work to be done—each idea a reward, every sentence a blessing, all of it salvation, a means by which I attend to something other than grief." -- is beautiful. I'm so sorry for your loss and so glad you are able to find solace in writing. All the best.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I'm so sorry you lost your husband. Your writing became therapeutic which I admit I've used mine for, too.

Shannon Lawrence said...

I'm so glad your writing helped you through your loss. You're definitely a working writer. Congratulations on finishing First Draft B.

Stephen Tremp said...

Liza, "Hell yes" and "grateful" great words to live by.

Empty Nest Insider said...

Liza, You are an excellent writer and poet. I remember your heartfelt tribute to your husband, as it left me in tears. I also wanted to learn more about this wonderful man. I’m glad writing has helped ease some of your pain. Take good care of yourself, Liza!

Julie

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

You inspire me, Liza. I'm thrilled that your writing has helped you get through the pain and loneliness of losing your husband. For now, I've lowered the bar so far, I consider it a win if I can write an occasional blog post. Maybe someday, I'll be able to focus on my poor abandoned manuscript again. You give me hope that it could happen.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Liza - losing the love of your life must have been so desperately sad - yet writing about him immediately afterwards will have triggered many memories in years to come. Settling to writing must be challenging ... but as you've done taking one step at a time ... a few paragraphs has obviously guided you on your way. I feel for you - so well done on being able to carry on writing. All the best - Hilary