Writing Tip #108

Always remember why you became a writer. Yesterday, I had the privilege of speaking to prospective MFA students at Hofstra University about my experiences in grad school there and about publishing as a career. I got to see old professors and old friends, but perhaps the most exciting aspect of the afternoon was the opportunity to hear current Hofstra students perform readings of their work. How inspiring it was to see these students recite their poetry, their creative nonfiction and fiction. How proud I could tell they were to have been asked to showcase their stuff. You could see it in their eyes, hear it in their voices. It’s been, gosh, almost four years since I graduated from Hofstra, and I had forgotten how exciting it was to be in a place where the written word was cultivated and so valued. (Can you tell I miss being there?) As I struggled with my current work-in-progress this morning, I thought about the faces of those students I saw yesterday who didn’t seem worried about agents and publishers and readers and sales. They just seemed to be enjoying the moment, the opportunity to share their thoughts with others. That’s why most of us have become writers, isn’t it? Because we thought we had something to say, stories to tell. Good. Bad. Long. Short. Funny. Sad. Whatever it is that we’re struggling to say, we have to always remember that it deserves to be written.

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6 thoughts on “Writing Tip #108

  1. Wouldn’t it be great if we never had think about publishing and promotion again? If we could just immerse ourselves in what we love–discovering and creating stories. Seems like your visit was a nice reminder of that. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Wow, I’d love to be in that environment of writers. Sounds amazing. As for being in school in general — to me one of the most wonderful things about it is the permission to be totally immersed in whatever we’re studying without worry about anything but the moment. As the mom of a college senior I wonder if those worried feelings kick in as graduation rolls near? It’s sure been true for my two (not writing students)… Do you think it’s true with writing students as well?

    • Julia, believe it or not, one of the most difficult times of my life — and keep in mind that when I say ‘difficult’ I mean psychologically — was when I graduated from college in my early twenties. The thought of suddenly having to DO after years and years of PREPARING TO DO was terrifying. You’re right. All these new worries creep in. I’d venture to say that happens to many students, writers or otherwise. :) Thanks for your comment!

  3. I wish there was a like button for your comment about promotion not killing the writer as well. Promotion is such a big time and emotion sucker. Honestly I hate to admit it but I think I’m starting to enjoy it and am slightly looking forward to promoting book 2..yikes!

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