The author and editor Andi Cumbo-Floyd has challenged writers to post a love letter to themselves. It’s a chance for writers to counter the often-negative internal voice of criticism that keeps some of us from writing. Since that’s something I struggle against often, I’m taking part in her #LoveLetters2Writers challenge.
Crafting a love letter to myself as a writer is harder than I expected.
I’ll start with my natural writing style. Lately, every politician seems to be an amateur lexicographer or linguist. They parse their words and obliterate previously understood meanings in an effort to retain their power and money. Political spin, outright lies, and gaslighting are tools of the trade, and our citizens suffer for it.
With so many people purposely mangling clear communication, I think a straightforward writing style is an advantage. My natural rhythm and flow, my word choices, and my preferences for metaphor and simile weren’t lofty enough for an academic career. They serve me well in writing stories, novels, and essay that touch readers, though.
Another strength I bring to my writing is empathy. Many times, I find I can step into another person’s experiences and imagine my own reactions if faced with their circumstances. That skill is priceless for a writer, who must be able to understand the motivations for every character in the story and make those decisions believable to the reader. Stepping into a character’s point of view and finding that you can understand their reasons for often horrible decisions is often an uncomfortable experience, but it’s vital to succeed as a writer.
I’ll close this with this thought. The writer’s life is challenging beyond anything I could imagine. Until I really dove deep into this world of words, I thought it would be a breeze.
It’s not. It’s a life filled with tears, frustration, and fear. At times, I despair of ever being the writer I thought I could be.
And yet. On the really good days—the days when the words flow well and I truly put my heart, soul, and deepest thoughts on the page—I feel both energized and completely drained by my work. It’s invigorating and exhausting at the same time. Not enough of my writing days end with that feeling, but enough do that I keep coming back to the page, despite my frequent attempts to quit the writing life.
And now, back to crafting my current WIP.