By Keith Fisher
It’s quiet now. The whole house is asleep, so I rise from my bed in my vain attempt to write, hoping to find words that will inspire. I marked an anniversary recently. It was twenty-seven years ago, when I first tried to write a story on an old typewriter. Nineteen years ago, I began to write biographies for family history, and twelve years ago, when I came home from a stress filled day at work, locked myself in my office, sat in front of my computer, and started to write serious fiction.
After awhile, my neck muscles loosened and I found myself carried away, so to speak, on wings of my imagination. I revisited the world of make believe, where, as a child, I spent hours making life conform to my desires. I was in charge. People and events followed my will.
The next night, I returned to my keyboard. I picked up where I left off, and found myself putting my characters in places, and situations, I never expected them to go.
I was hooked by the third night, and I found treasure in the experiences of my life. The story I’d written turned out great. It ended up with 45,000 words, and it became my pride and joy, my offspring.
When I finished, my neighbor agreed to take a look at it. She had editing experience and I didn’t have a clue, but I was a talented guy. I could do anything, and I could cook too.
You can imagine my dismay, when she tore my manuscript apart. My pride fell. I didn’t understand half of the things she talked about, but I knew, (I knew) my story was good, and I could write it any way I wanted. After all, what did she know?
As time went on, I wrote another book. I swallowed my pride, and perused the writing section in the public library. I read about the right, and the wrong ways to write, and I got better at it. I submitted manuscripts, always, with the same results. I did, however, get a rejection recommending a conference or workshop.
I attended my first writer’s conference in 2006 and heard someone talk about how good it felt to be around people who understood. Yes, it did feel good, and I began to believe I could be published. I learned many lessons that day, and adjusted my writing. I improved, but there were still problems.
Through it all, I knew belonging to a critique group would help me, but nobody invited me. So at the LDStorymakers conference 2008, I did the inviting. We met and established our critique group. We had two published authors. One member was a beginner. Another talented, member had worked on a newspaper, and there was me, (the mediocre wannabe).
There have been changes. Because of time constraints one of our group can’t come, and a new member lives out of state. I’m the only unpublished writer. Everyone else is either published, or they have contracts.
Now, I write three blogs and try hard to post a positive thought on Facebook, but I remember the sound of that old typewriter, and the pressure I had to apply to each key in order for my words to appear on paper.
It’s been a tough road. For some reason, it’s hard for me to balance all the rules and still be able to write the story I want to tell. A friend said I’m a much better writer than I used to be, but with my latest rejection I got a very nice letter. It mentioned the changes I need to make, but to be honest, I’m not sure I understand all of it. Part of what they mentioned occurred as a result of following the directions of other editors.
So, I rise in the morning with great intentions of writing, hoping I can make the changes that will finally transform me into a better writer—good enough to be published, good enough to make a reader want more. Next year, I will have been writing for twenty years. I think I’ll throw a party and invite all of you.
I’ll continue to try and put all the pieces together, attempting to tell the stories that run through my head now, like a continual stream of soldiers marching. They pause briefly, making sure I note their presence on the stage of my mind. I will keep writing, because I have no choice. It’s part of me.
Good luck with your writing—see you next week.