One of my favorite ideas was expressed in the film "White squall". A group of young men begin a semester of high school on board a sail boat. They learn to do all the work of making the boat function, as well as their education, and the realities and dangers of the sea. Halfway through their journey they reach the island that marks the point where they will return, they climb a steep hill to where they all ring a silver bell to claim the victory of their voyage.
The inscription on the bell reads: Where we go one, we go all.
This brief statement shows the bond of friendship and family the boys have forged along their journey. It also binds them together when tragedy strikes and the people back on land want them to turn against one another. It reminds me that even when it is hard to work in tandem, or alongside the people we love, We do it. The best lessons in life can be learned by sharing them. I will never experience every thing that is possible, but I can learn from those around me. It makes the lessons I learn rich and diverse.
A friend of mine pointed out to me that I can serve that same purpose. So with that in mind...let me tell other writers what I have learned from those who have gone before me and where we must go all.
1. You aren't going to please everyone. Even the writers of best seller's can't please everyone. Even the greats don't claim every fan out there.
You can't make everyone else happy with you're writing.Make yourself happy.
2. You can know your characters and story so well that you converse in public with these fictional people, but what you know is worthless if-
its more than readers want to know, or if it is only in your head.
You must give away only enough to tempt the reader and keep them wanting to know more. This is a mystical formula we all strive to claim. If your critiquers know too much and want you to cut back, or tighten it up some more-Listen
3. The first thing you ever wrote is garbage. It doesn't matter what it was. It doesn't matter how much your mom loved it. It doesn't matter if it is your 'baby'. Its garbage. You have grown and developed as a writer. Get rid of what was and build something better. Even great writers like Nicholas Sparks admit this truth. Sparks' first manuscript is buried in his attic to this day. "Its not your 'baby' even if you feel like it lives and breathes. Mine the nuggets of gold from its pages but don't give it a false life.
4. If you have shined and polished your work to perfection. Three months, or three years, or even three days from now, you will find something wrong with it. If it's published, let it go. If you can re-do it later you're lucky. Most writers don't get that chance though. Let it go. It's not perfect, neither are you. It isn't the end of the world. Keep practicing, improve your skills, and laugh at yourself. It will make you a better writer and a better person.
5. There is another writer who can use your help. You are a writer who can use someone else's help. Don't let the fear of competition or failure stop you from not only offering your expertise but from excepting someone else's.Reaching out and thickening your skin is never to your detriment. It actually broadens your world.
I am always grateful for the wisdon and support of my writing friends. The one's who said: "Show don't tell.
The one's who helped me fix "matter unorganized", and the ones who told me it was hard but I could do it. We are all members of the crew aboard the sail boat. We can all reach the top if we remember.
Where we go one, We go all.