One of the most uncomfortable consequences about being a writer or wanting to be a writer is that a writer must make herself vulnerable to the world. That’s right. Once the words spill out, they lie there naked, waiting to criticized.
If I have any advice to bequeath to a beginner, it is this: Develop thick skin, rhino skin. That’s the area I’m working on. Oh, writing is great—when readers have positive things to say, but when the writer is misunderstood, well then, the rhino skin repels the fiery darts.
There is a fine line between confidence and bragging, another fine line between concern and whining. Writers should be “oh so careful” not to cross that line. I have the words “More of You, Less of Me” on a Post-It note on my computer. I have to remind myself that God allows me to write. I’m not entitled to this pleasure. It is a gift.
It’s better to take “me” out of the picture and to focus on the craft.
One of the best things I like about interviewing people and writing about their lives is that I can hide behind the story. There is a sense of satisfaction that comes with publication of any type of writing. But when I write about other people, I’m baring their souls, not my own. My byline gets lost below the headline and somewhere among the pictures. I kind of like that.
But writing fiction is another story. The writer is put in the limelight, ready to be torn apart or to be set upon a pedestal. Either situation can be dangerous.
A beginning writer like myself is too easily reminded of how far she is from perfection or publication. It’s too easy to become consumed with oneself.
So instead of talking about me, I would rather turn our attention to a special day, Make a Difference Day 2010, sponsored by USA Weekend and the Hands On Network. This year’s day falls on October 23, 2010.
As a teacher, I have encouraged my students to participate in Make a Difference Day for several years. My students have used their time and talents to sing at nursing homes, to read to people with vision problems, to clean up the park, to rake the yards of elderly neighbors, to visit nursing homes, etc. Some of my students have even made the day a family affair. That’s cool.
What I like about Make a Difference Day is that I can get over myself and can help others at the same time.
I challenge you to get involved in Make a Difference Day. If you can’t participate on October 23, choose another day leading up to that weekend and participate then. I will share some of ways my students are making a difference on October 23. Why don’t you join in?
I feel a contest coming on for October 23. More details will follow.
Make a Difference Day typically involves hands-on help, but we can make a difference just by extending gratitude or kindness through our words, not just our actions.
There are three types of people who take my heart:
- The person who helps me fit in even when I don’t
- The person who encourages me when I fail
- The person who says “thank you” (or shows it through actions) when I offer a gift—not so much a material gift, but the gift of my trust
Who has made a difference in your life?
Maybe in appreciation of Make a Difference Day you can honor your special people with a mention in your blog.
Make a difference.
Please take the time to click on the blogs below. In big or small ways, these writers have touched my heart or lifted my spirits. It’s my way of saying “thank you” for making a difference in my life.