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Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie

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‘Fat Free’ Seasonal Treat? Have I Got a Deal For You!

So, how was your Thanksgiving?  A little too much mashed potatoes and gravy?  Are you wearing that third piece of pumpkin pie?  Not to fret.  Here’s a seasonal treat that’s not only “fat free,” it’s $-free, too!

Download your FREE copy of my micro-memoir, Isabella’s Torch: A Thanksgiving Memoir.

Isabella's Torch Cover Photo.3

Grab your FREE copy of Isabella’s Torch today!  Consider it my thanks to you for reading!  Why not make it a two-for? Sign up for my FREE newsletter at the same time.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned!

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Hemingway and Raison D’Etre

AspenResearching what others had to say about “reasons to write” recently, I came across these tidbits (in descending order)

3) People want to read what I have to say

2) Give yourself a feeling of accomplishment

1) To be able to tell everyone you’re a writer!

Really? The #1 reason a writer writes is so s/he can hang out a shingle and crow from the rooftops, “Hey everyone! I’m a writer!”

I’m not too sure about “give yourself a feeling of accomplishment” or “people want to read what I have to say.” I get that, but are reasons #2 or #3 what really drive you to write, deep down? Is your drive to write a combination of two or more of the above?

Here’s another: “A writer’s sense of self-esteem is wrapped up in writing. When we don’t write we feel unfulfilled. When we make progress with our writing projects, the world feels right again.”

I get the “world feels right again” part. But self-esteem wrapped up in writing? If that’s true, then some uber talented writers must have had “self-esteem” in the basement. Consider the following excerpts from actual rejections received by established authors:

  1. Sylvia Plath: There certainly isn’t enough genuine talent for us to take notice.
  2. Rudyard Kipling: I’m sorry Mr. Kipling, but you just don’t know how to use the English language.
  3. J. G. Ballard: The author of this book is beyond psychiatric help.
  4. Emily Dickinson: [Your poems] are quite as remarkable for defects as for beauties and are generally devoid of true poetical qualities.
  5. Ernest Hemingway (regarding The Torrents of Spring): It would be extremely rotten taste, to say nothing of being horribly cruel, should we want to publish it.

So let me ask: Why do YOU write?

Cause for Commitment?

Most writers I know who are committed to the craft write for one over-arching reason: they write because they can’t not write. And make no mistake, if you’re a serious writer, writing is a commitment. It’s not something you dabble in or play it. It’s work. Rewarding and fulfilling, yes. Sometimes the words come easy. Sometimes not. But a real writer is into words and stringing them together to communicate like Hershey’s is after chocolate.

Think of it this way: If a writer’s vein is cut, ink flows out. Or as Ernest Hemingway* said,

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

Some have criticized this observation, equating writing with torture. Maybe. But I think they miss the point. I think what Hemingway is trying to convey is that for a serious writer, writing is who you are, heart and soul. Your essence.  Your life blood.

What say you?

Misty lake, pineFor a serious writer,  ‘reasons to write’ includes – but goes far beyond – “I have something I want to say” or generating a feeling of accomplishment.

Writing isn’t just something you do. It’s  your blue sky. Your open meadow or misted lake awaiting the spring sun. 

Writing is your raison d’etre.

Writing is what makes you tick. Gets you up in the morning. Keeps you going through writer’s block, clogged plumbing, rejection letters, and unmade beds. Computer crashes and a raid on your private Hershey’s stash. You write because you can’t not write.

Isn’t that what motivates you to keep at it, deep-down?

What do you think about Hemingway’s quote? What are YOUR reasons for writing?

* A variation on this quote is attributed to sportswriter Walter Wellesley “Red” Smith.

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Irma, Honest Critics and Honey Trees

Public Domain

Know any “Irmas”?

Irma (not her real name) is one of those li’l black rain clouds who think it’s their mission in life to rain on everyone’s parade. Negativity drips of Irma like water off a duck’s back. She makes Eyeore look like the Energizer Bunny. A Turkish prison look like Club Med. So when this non-writer who’s never published a sentence beyond “See Spot. See Spot run” started in on my latest magnum opus, uninvited, I made her Queen for a Day.

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On the Lookout for Guest Authors

Do you have a story to share?  An excerpt from your next great American novel?  Tips for fledgling (or even seasoned) writers?  What have you learned about editors, query letters, traditional vs. alternative publishing venues?

Roads Diverged is accepting guest posts on these and other writing-related topics.  To submit, just leave a comment and we’ll connect.  The more we connect, the more our readerships grow and the more opportunities for all.

That said, here are a few ground rules and guide lines. First, you don’t need to be a professional writer or have the publishing “big boys” banging down your door to post at Roads Diverged.  Just a passion for writing and the desire to learn and share.  If accepted, your post will include a byline and a link to your blog or website as applicable.
Submission guidelines:

  1. I prefer content that’s fresh and original.  That is, content that hasn’t been previously published elsewhere.
  2. Yours truly is partial to “short and sweet.”  Stories should be between 300 – 500 words.   (Tip: humorous and/or true-life “slice of life” vignettes as well as travel stories always catch my eye!) A longer post may be accepted if I really, really like it.
  3. If your post is accompanied by an original photo or two, so much the better!
  4. I do not accept anonymous posts.  You may use a pen name if desired, but it must be specified as such and your real name must accompany your submission (withheld from publication upon request).
  5.  This blog is G-rated.  I reserve the right to reject any submission, for any reason.  Likewise, posts that include links or references to sites that are not G-rated or include spam and viruses will not be accepted
  6.  There is no compensation for any posts.  As in, zip.  Your “compensation” is boosted traffic and exposure for your work.  Roads Diverged is connected to LinkedIn and Twitter.  I’m also on Facebook.   You are encouraged to promote your submission via your own social network.  More exposure for Roads Diverged means more exposure for you.

Ready? Set? Go to the comment section below. Type “I’m in.” I’ll get back to you.