All About Your Host: Karen
Some years ago at a fancy writer’s conference I was attending on an ex-employer’s dime, a workshop leader shared his “formula to be a writer.” This came from a pretty successful fiction writer, a guy who had published multiple well received books, who had taught and traveled and been around the writing racket long enough to know what he was talking about. His formula: Commitment, discipline, and endurance. This would turn out to be the best advice anyone’s ever given me about writing. It is unequivocal, not open to interpretation or the whims of taste or editorial judgment. It is the most true thing. Especially the endurance part. All the lucky breaks, all the friends with the right connections don’t mean a thing without tenacity and hard work.
So I’m working on a novel, and I’m doing it—however much, however little I can—every day. I have a full-time job and a husband and a house and a child. I can’t imagine my life without them. Mothers out there, I know all the demands placed on you. I struggle with them, too. But I still claim my writing space, because it’s part of who I am and being true to it is, in a way, being true to myself. I would want anyone I love to do the same.
We can’t ultimately control whether our work is published by the powers-that-be, or even read past the first three pages. It’s all a hideous crapshoot with terrible odds, so I focus on the one part that is within my power. I write. I dig in and hold on and make it work. Because that’s what it takes, and I owe myself this much.
Cathy and I have been friends a long time, since the days we were MFA students wondering how our lives would unfold. Well, they’re unfolding just fine and we’re still writing. Won’t you join us? Check back for our weekly posts. Draw inspiration, annoyance, maybe even a few laughs from us, and then get back to work. Who knows where we’ll be one year from now.