Thursday, June 25, 2015

Act Well Thy Part

In a Scottish castle the phrase What E’re Thou Art, Act Well Thy Part is carved in stone. Like most writers, I didn't wake one morning with rejection letters in one hand and a finished manuscript in the other. It wasn't a bug I caught in school or a gift bestowed by a mentor. The obsession to create was imbedded at birth.

The musical in elementary school, the high school newspaper, the freelance editing for college students, and graduate resume building were supposed to be stepping stones guiding me toward the almighty novel, the holy grail of most writers. But children came and so did freelance writing gigs—a marketing plan here, or a conceptual edit there. 

It wasn’t until I had lunch with an old employer that I began to wonder if I’d ever become an author. He asked if I was still “pretending to write.” 

I remember answering him that I was writing—or rather editing.

With a smile, he said, “Then act the part.”

And so I did.

I stopped advertising, only accepting referrals and reduced my workload to one job a month. I scheduled writing hours and joined my local writers group. I attended conferences, boot camps and workshops from California to New York. I dove into a few critique groups (and now lead an advanced critique group with a workshop atmosphere). Finally, I’m down to the last few miles of this marathon, the Mt. Everest of writing—the submission process. I’m about to present my story to the agents and editors who previously requested my novel (which means I’ll be wrestling an entirely different beast).

My fellow writers, welcome to the land of authorship. Join a writers group, attend critique sessions and defend the sanctity of a writing schedule. You are a writer, it’s time to Act Well Thy Part.