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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Castle a Happy Writer
I was reading a post by Nathan Bransford again recently entitled, Ten Commandments for the Happy Writer My favorite comment on his post is #1. Enjoy the present.

This is probably one of the biggest problems I see as a counselor in many people’s lives today. Too many of us miss the joy of the present. If we're writers then we are usually striving for publication and if we're published then we're hoping to be published again. Maybe we're looking for an agent or just the right publishing house. We’re either planning ahead or ruminating about the past. And speaking of the past, one of the best lessons any of us can learn from is the scene between Rafiki and Simba in The Lion King..

Rifiki is thinking
Adult Simba: I know what I have to do. But going back means I'll have to face my past. I've been running from it for so long.
[Rafiki hits Simba on the head with his stick]
Adult Simba: Ow! Jeez, what was that for?    
Rafiki: It doesn't matter. It's in the past.                 
Adult Simba: Yeah, but it still hurts.
Rafiki: Oh yes, the past can hurt. But from the way I see it, you can either run from it, or... learn from it.
[swings his stick again at Simba, who ducks out of the way]
Rafiki: Ha. You see? So what are you going to do?
Adult Simba: First, I'm gonna take your stick.
[Simba snatches Rafiki's stick and throws it and Rafiki runs to grab it]
Rafiki: No, no, no, no, not the stick! Hey, where you going?
Adult Simba: I'm going back!
Rafiki: Good! Go on! Get out of here!
[Rafiki begins laughing and screeching loudly]

I’ve been striving this year to become a satisfied, contented, focused writer. I love what I do. I think sometimes I tend to get so wrapped up in everything that’s on my plate that the first place I turn to take out my frustrations is my writing. That’s probably because it demands so much of my time. But maybe it demands so much of my time because I’m A REALLY SLOW WRITER. And I’m coming to terms with the fact that it’s okay. I’m learning from the past. 

What can we learn from turtles? I wrote a post about that once. :)

Turtles have:

1. A hard shell-for protection. That hard shell is something all writers must develop to protect ourselves from rejection. Let’s face it, I don’t think too many of us look forward to getting rejections from potential publishers and agents. We have to find ways of coping with rejection so we can move on and continue to write what is important, entertaining, encouraging, and meaningful.

2. A slow and steady gait. You know the old story of the tortoise and the hare. Who won that race?

3. Pull that head inside. Turtles can pull their heads in (but not the Green Sea Turtle) and protect themselves that way as well. I also think that’s a turtle’s way of sleeping and thinking or possibly avoiding Rafiki's stick.

4. The belly of some turtle's is soft. That happens to us as writers too if we don’t get our exercise. Some Green Turtles can weigh up to 700 pounds! I bet some types of turtle or tortoise weigh even more.

You’d think after being a social worker and counselor for more than thirty years that I wouldn’t struggle with all this stuff. But I’ve figured out recently that if you’re not struggling with something you might be dead or at least not living as fully alive as you’d like.

So I’m on a quest. I’m always on some kind of quest.:) This time it’s to discover what really makes for happy, focused, contented writers. I’ve shared a little of what I think. Now, I want to know what you think, what you're experiencing, what's working and what's not working. I’ve looked up a few interesting posts. Read one or all of them if you have time.

10 Things I Wish I Would Have Done Differently


I know one thing for sure. When I’m not writing, I’m not happy. Yes, writing changes a bit when we get published. Okay, it changes a lot, and if we let it grab us around the neck and give into our fears we will be NO writers and not writing. So whether or not you are published keep writing, and while you are on this journey find ways to share your knowledge and power with other writers.

So what kind of writer are you? Anything ring true for you here today?

And as Rafiki would say, “Good! Go on! Get out of here!”


  1. Ha--yes, I'm that crazy hare writer, running like mad to the next deadline. I'm even writing to my OWN deadlines. I'm so goal-oriented, I can't rest until I reach it. Which makes it EXTREMELY HARD when I'm forced to wait on queries/proposals! But writing lots of stuff actually makes me a happy writer, too. All the best to you, turtle writer! We both get there in the end!

  2. I like that thought of we both get there in the end, Heather. I sure wish I had some of your speed. I feel for you with the queries and proposal waiting. This business is not a fast one until an agent or editor wants something from us. :)Uh oh. I'm feeling an Eyore vs. Tigger thing here when you mentioned writing a lot of stuff. See you at the finish line!

  3. I've done the mad deadline thing as a freelancer, been goal oriented to get the job done, but the part of writing that makes me happiest is the process. If I focused on the rejection and the waiting on agents or editors to answer, I'd drive myself crazy and never do anything, and that would be depressing. I write because I love to write. I have to write. That is the part that makes me happy. A book in print would be great, but if it never comes I'm still a writer and have accomplished something many people never will--I've written THE END on a bunch of manuscripts. If, along the way, I can impart my knowledge to others, that's great too.

  4. Writing "THE END" certainly is satisfying isn't it, Catherine? And don't forget that in this new world of publishing that you can publish whichever books you want now on line. Maybe you'll want to experiment with one book and see what happens. Enjoying the writing process is what makes the craft interesting.

  5. I'm a licensed social worker too! Knuckle bump.

    Love the post; and sadly, I appear to be more soft in the belly than hard to work on.

  6. Knuckle bump, indeed! Hey there social work sister!
    Don't worry, I'm soft in the belly too but that will change. Right? :)

  7. Jill, what an excellent post, and one that I understand on a deep level.

    What I told the students in a creative writing class I addressed recently: "you have to find the conditions that make the writing life tolerable for you, whatever that means. Because it's not worth giving up every other thing in your life: friends, ministry, family time, stability, health."

    For some, publication may be worth giving up everything else. But writers of faith should know better.

  8. You're creative writing class was blessed to have you, Rosslyn. The fact that you were able to share with them after just having finished a 3 book series was probably very eye-opening for them. And I'm sure you put those crazy ideas out of their heads that with the first contract comes wealth and fame. :) But I really think most writers will have to experience this to understand all that is involved.