We are all natural storytellers. Some of us decide to write our stories down. We want to pass them on to children or others have encouraged us because our unique stories have universal value or we are driven to write because writing helps us solve our own problems.
I think of some of my writing friends' tales of a grandparent's life in San Francisco at the turn of the 20th century, of struggling to survive a Japanese war camp as a child, of traveling to places like Brazil as a single woman, of trying to find a mother's home, or like me, moving to another country and having a normal life except with the adjustment to a different culture and being illiterate in a new language. We all have stories to tell, but it takes persistence, dedication and focus to bring a book to life.
I've been in a writers group for more than 20 years. Many of the writers in the group join with the intent to complete a book. They all have great stories to tell. The writers are aided by the encouragement and support of the group of fellow writers. As they write portions of their book, they realize how difficult writing, editing, publishing and selling a book can be. All of those tasks are more complicated now. Major publishers have been squeezed by digital publishing so they rely heavily on well-known authors. Independent publishers look for new authors, may have editing staff, but not the resources to provide promotion. Agents are swamped with requests for help getting a book published. All the different jobs besides doing the writing can deflate the interest of a fledgling writer. But if they persist, they can publish a book.
I've been lucky to watch numerous friends produce a book. Sometimes the book is not the story they thought they were going to tell. Often they started with a memoir, which honed their writing skills. They struggled with naming names of people close to them and decided to turn parts of their lives into fiction. Sometimes they started over and over again with a different point of view each time. They sought the help of editors to polish their work and to help them stick to deadlines.
For me, I started out with family stories, asked relatives to send me their responses to the statement, "I remember..." which I collected and published through a printing company owned by one of my cousins. The more I wrote the more I realized that short essays about life and my artwork let me say what I wanted to say. Writing helped me to understand my place in this crazy world. Blogging became the avenue for my writing.
Some friends have managed to produce a finished work (some have published more than one book). I am proud of their endeavors because I know they have accomplished what many us dream about.
Elizabeth is the founder of Wednesday & Friday Writers Groups, journalist, teacher, and author of 5 non-fiction books about women and their relationships with their families. Her latest book, co-written with Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, Ph.D
A mother, author and blogger who in her own words: "My first fun blog, shoezle, started way back in 2011 when I barely knew anything about social media or how to take a picture on my shiny hot-pink cell phone. I guessed at how to blog and through the amazing feedback from readers and a bazillion writing groups and classes, I got better. I got better a blog photos too. Then I got the courage to write a book."
B. Lynn Goodwin
Former drama teacher, continuing to be a writer, editor with Story Circle Network and blogger. Her latest book, Never Too Late, describes her new life as a wife at 62 and the challenges of changing from lifelong single to married woman.
Talent is a young adult novel about a young teenager trying to get out from under the shadow of her older brother.
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