Some reflections...I have been writing ever since I could hold a crayon or pencil--as evidenced by early experiments on the walls of my childhood home. Upon the advice of a neighbor, my mother bought me a blackboard. Thank goodness she didn't hit me; that might have ended my creativity right then.
Instead, I can remember the power of expression I felt -- and the scratchy surface of the yellow duck sponge eraser. Soon I was holding classes in our basement. I must have helped the kids feel good about writing and learning.
My parents were immigrants who initially struggled with English, and education was valued in our household. I helped them translate and pronounce, and I learned to listen and read between the lines. My sense of world community was formed in my early years in a neighborhood in which different languages blended like voices in a choir.
At key points in my education, teachers have provided unstinting encouragement of my writing. A history teacher told me that she wanted to use my essay exams as lecture notes. Another urged me: Always write. I am grateful to them and to the editors who have crossed my path. I have learned something from each of them.
These sunny memories do not mean that there has been no shadow side. I remember vividly the frustration of second grade, when I wasn't a "fast-enough" writer and my fists would sweat and blur the faint blue lines on my papers. My impatient teacher would tower over me while I strived to put the finishing touches on my project. Sometimes, I would cry.
In time I acquired both speed and skill in writing. Remembering early struggles has sensitized me to the race to get it done--coupled with the desire for quality work. Most of us do feel that urgency. Each task is something of a balancing act: Shall I revise once more...or let this project fly out the door? An experienced coach or collaborator can help you decide.
A good writer juggles inner processes and positive self-talk along with a sense of purpose. Yes, it's important to get critical, too -- but not cruel to one's self or others. Sustaining inspiration, developing content, understanding audience, and polishing style--all these tasks are important. Writing makes demands cognitively and emotionally. Some might add: spiritually.
A good writing teacher-coach-editor flies with the the muse,
and can serve as a listener, guide, and collaborator.
Let me share