Friday, April 17, 2009

The Committed Writer


This post might get me in trouble. It might ruffle some well placed feathers. So proceed with caution.


I expect commitment. Not only from myself—but from others I come into contact with. When I attended a 4-year college, I borrowed the money and committed to finish no matter what side-lined me.


When I married my husband almost thirty-two years ago, I committed to him for a life time. It hasn’t always been easy but I have always expected him to give back the same commitment.

When I bought a Christian bookstore with a partner, I committed to doing my best to make it succeed. I asked for the same commitment from her. Within the first year, we increased our profits by 30%. The ministry still exists over 15 years later.


When I sat down with my husband and said I wanted to write, I committed again. I’d been a dabbler for years—writing in journals, dreaming about writing a book. But I never made any real steps to find out what I had to do. When I finally committed my passion—it took off. I submitted. I got published and I still work hard at my craft.


A year ago, I started a Christian Writer’s group. I wanted to find other committed writers. I’m struggling today with a hard decision because although I’ve seen a few work at writing, I’ve also seen others come and go, make goals but not fulfill them, and write as a hobby and not as a commitment.


When I make a friend, I commit to that friendship. I expect certain things in return. When I committed to facilitate a group of writers, I was hoping to find that same level.


As I said in the beginning, I’m really hard on expectations—but mostly I’m hard on myself. So I ask this question? Do you want to dabble in your passion or do you want to become the committed writer and experience the possibilities?

25 comments:

Kristen Painter said...

I'm so committed I should probably be in a padded cell.

Jessica said...

I def. want to be committed. I strongly believe in following through on what I say I'll do. Great post Terri! I think it's usually the committed ones who succeed in this industry.

Linda said...

Committments are another facet of character.

Ginger said...

I love what Linda said about it being another facet of character. So true. It speaks volumes about who we are when no one is looking.

Robin @ Be Still and Know said...

So here is what happens to me. I find that I really feel called to write, yet the thing of life, the part time jobs, the slaundry, the grocery shopping, the budget and bill paying, the fact that I nearly 50 years old and my energy level wains and I fall into bed most night exhausted after working, working out, cooking dinner, taking care of my family......I was thinking the other day that in a perfect world I wold be able to just write full time all the time. I have several posts that I want to get done yet the titles remain in my draft folder. I have a WIP laying dormant on my computer that needs to be finished or have a query letter done, no idea how to even attempt that!!! I have a few books on how to begin the process but I am wondering if I should give up sleep all together.
Whine Whine Whine.

I agree with the previous commenter, sometimes I think I just need padded cell and my laptop and then maybe I can get something done

Priorities I know, but it is a problem. how do you keep thing in proper perspective, how do you keep up with the stuff you have to do with the stuff you want to do!!!!!!!

Sassy Granny ... said...

Great challenge! Whether it's applied to writing or yard work, you rally us to live intentionally. Most of us would say we do, or at least we want to. But where discipline is involved ... often not so much!

Be blessed,
Kathleen

Lin said...

I have a group of inexperienced writers and we have spent several sessions on priorities and writing about what they want to do with writing in their lives. I see its value as mostly therapy and self expression but those who are really motivated have self published and submitted. For the others we did a group poetry-free verse booklet. One of our members is dying of cancer but it gave her a break and outlet during her many treatments.

Jenna said...

Great post Terri. I've been struggling with this lately. I am hard on myself. I don't want to be a dabbler. I am want to be very committed to my writing. But I struggle with all the commitments I have and things that come up that I let get in the way.

This post is a great kick in the pants because it forces me to admit that I "let" things get in the way. Yes, my family comes first. Providing meals and comfort and sometimes clean clothes ;), is my first priority and others things are up there too such as friends and extended family and commitments at church. But I have to ask myself what I would ask anyone who wants something as bad I want this writing thing is, "So what are doing to get there? What are you willing to give up?"

Terri, you made me realize I need to find some time, crave it out, protect, insist on it and insist that no one interrupt it.

Janna Qualman said...

Commitment is such a big word. But I think my shelf is large enough to hold it.

I'm ready.

*hugs*

Yolanda said...

Not sure that God has me being a "writer" per-say...but I'm the most hard on myself, which causes me to have HIGH, darn HIGH Expectations for others, and I'm committed.

Love ya!

Angie said...

Commitment is a foreign thing to many in this day and age. What a refreshing post.

Writing for me is a joy and pleasure, hence the commitment comes easily.

Slendarella said...

Great post & well said (I mean written)!

Although I'm a published playwright, and continue to write every singe day (right now I'm working on a screenplay) - I have dabbled with the idea of writing an e-book about my Raw Food experiences. Well, anyway, it's a raw blog for now...but I keep thinking, get in there and commit to that e-book!

Thanks for the kick in the proverbial pants! Cheers!

Greg C said...

I am right there with Robin. I want to write, I do write but I guess I have too many passions to keep that one fire going. I work two jobs, have a family to contend with and have numerous hobbies of which writing is one. Having younger children, I do have to devote much of my time to them. I would be interested to find out what great writers do other than write. I mean maybe I am just making excuses but I seem to have a lot of interests and I always have lots to do. I enjoy writing, boating, fishing, gardening, woodworking, bird watching, small engine repair, hiking, and lots of other things. Calgon take me away. Seriously other hobies do the people who you know have?

Susan Storm Smith said...

Terri, I smiled all the way through your blog :) For those around me I have always heard two words, you just have to do do do and you always want to get the bottom line .. well, yes, that is me. Its called commitment and finding success.

It isn't always an easy place to be, but I don't know how to not be. But take heart, do who you are, I stopped with the writers groups for the most part, at least in the physical setting. They became more coffee clubs than writing.

For me, writers groups on-line are the most productive and sincere. But commitment is the basis of all success.

Thanks dear friend for another block buster ( and yes, take that any way you see it) :p

Cindy said...

I most definitely want to be a committed writer. I want to ENDURE, and that takes more than inspiration or a passing whim.

Helen Ginger said...

It sounds like it may be time for you to move on from your writing group - even though you're the one who started it. If it's not getting better, then it's only going to get worse for you.

Deborah said...

I'm in the same place as Greg. I want to write and I love to write, but then there's a whole lotta other stuff I'm interested in too that also require a commitment. My # 1 priority is my family, which still includes 4 kids at home aged 2 - 13, not to mention the foster kids that come and go...and then there's the granchild that arrived in March, and the one expected next week! There's also the kid's club we run at church....
Somehow in all this busy living I still manage to do some writing....but commitment...hmmm...I'm not sure writing is at the top of the list!

Jill Kemerer said...

Terri--you ARE an "Inspirational Writer." Thank you for a wonderful post.

I'm committed %100. It's who I am. I can't do something less than that. Unfortunately, I want everything NOW, NOW, NOW, but I'm learning patience.

Thanks again.

Carmen Gamble said...

Well, no one can say you're not committed!! You are one busy lady! I have never even written a query letter, and don't really know how! I recently joined a writing group and hope that someday I'll be able to call myself an author. It's hard to make that jump in my own mind from loving to write...to author, you know?

Helen Ginger said...

Did you change the picture in the header of your blog? I don't remember that pic when I was here earlier today. Hmm.

Kasie West said...

I'm one hundred percent committed. That said, I can see how this industry can wear people down. It's a tough business.

Cheryl Wright said...

Apart from my marriage and my children, writing has been my biggest personal commitment.

It was never a hobby but what started as a childhood dream has has become a full-blown passion.

As God gives grace and strength and life, I will continue to pursue its possibilities, despite blocks and procrastination and rejection.

Melissa Marsh said...

Committed. Absolutely and positively.

And on a side note...that is one reason why I quit a local RWA chapter that I was in - I didn't see a commitment to writing and getting published in it. There were so many that had excuses for not writing that I couldn't surround myself with it anymore.

sherrinda said...

Nice post! And very convicting. I'm just starting this journey, and am realizing it is definitely a huge committment, with no assurrance of the reward of getting published. But the friends I am making and the knowledge I am gaining is definitely worth the time and energy I have spent so far. Also, finishing this WIP will be an accomplishment I will be proud of...to say I have done it! I can hardly wait to get there!

Angie Ledbetter said...

I'm way too old to be a dabbler. :) Good luck with the group facilitating. It's really rewarding, but you gotta kick a bahonkus now and then to keep everyone accountable. :)

YOU WON MY WEE CONTEST, SO I NEED YOUR ADDRESS! yay