When I was a kid I was fascinated by the flecks in the ripples of the Natchez River. I thought they were gold, waiting for me to discover them.
was the writer I'd target, inviting her to future classes and coaching
sessions, itching to get my hands on all that talent.
Ah, but I've learned a few things.
Talent and pizzazz do not a writer make. They don't necessarily make a fabulous client, either.
Neither do they foretell hard work, integrity, or commitment - the real things that make a champion in the creative life.
teaching writing classes for sixteen years and coaching for eight, I've
finally caught on. An outward show of talent is no predictor of writing
Those confident ones often take their skills
for granted. They rely on haphazard inspiration instead of daily
writing. They don't know how to be honest with themselves about the
self-sabotage that happens in the writing life.
those quieter ones, needing to be drawn out, doubting themselves but
willing to work. It's those with the stifled voices who nevertheless are
ready to be brave, who are sick and tired of coming up with excuses,
who are ready to tackle their writing dreams in the mud and sweat of
everyday playing fields.
It's the ones with commitment that become "real" writers.
commitment shows up in unexpected people. There's the older gentleman
who blushes when reading his hometown short stories. There's the
business owner who's never written much at all, but knows she has a book
in her. There's the scientist with gritty short stories of loggers and
trailer parks. There's the engineer whose playful side erupts into
children's stories with ogres.
A coach or teacher is
simply available - it's the writer and client who shows how ready he is.
They show up week after week, and write chapter upon chapter. They
listen and learn and care and don't brag. They may not be flashy. At
But the shine that emerges isn't that flinty stuff you find at the surface of a river. It really is: pure gold.
Are you being honest with yourself about your commitment? What will it take for you to get in there and do the work?