Friday, June 8, 2012

The Joy of Writing by Lisa Norato

How many manuscripts do you have tucked away in a drawer—or in a computer file? You know, those first attempts. Stories you loved, but were rejected more times than you want to remember. They’re a part of the process along the road to publication. Writing your first, second, or tenth novel is never a waste of time, especially if you love what you do, as author Lisa Norato shares today. ~ Dawn

The Joy of Writing
by Lisa Norato

The ability to write is a gift.  And the joy found in that gift can be one of the most powerful tools we authors have for success.  As newspaper columnist, Herman Cain, once said, “Success is not the key to happiness.  Happiness is the key to success.”

Though we may all write fiction with similar elements, the characters’ development and their journeys are different under the pen of each individual author.  So it is with our writing paths.  The how, when and where our writing takes us will be a unique experience for each one of us.  That is why it is so important not to compare our progress to other writers.

My latest novel, Prize of My Heart, was my first attempt at writing, started in 1989 and accepted for publication in 2010.  Early on, it very nearly sold.  I met with the acquiring editor at a Romance Writers of America conference, and she introduced me around as the newest author to her line.  Ultimately, however, Prize of My Heart did not sell because of a lack of popularity with seafaring settings.  It came as a devastating blow, and yet it didn’t kill my passion for the story.  In those twenty-one years, I periodically pulled that manuscript out and rewrote it more times than I can remember.  For some reason, I wouldn’t let it die, even when a writer friend tried to discourage me.  I say honestly that waiting nearly a quarter of a century hasn’t diminished the joy I feel now at Prize of My Heart’s release.  Perhaps it’s even made it that much more poignant.

My point is, don’t let a setback or the fact that your career is not moving as quickly as you’d like steal your joy.  Think back to the beginning when all that mattered was the story in your head and a burning desire to get it down.  Hold fast to the joy in your writing, and you won’t stop growing, learning, improving, seeking.  It’s not about the way we start in our careers, but how we finish that truly matters.

Every writer desires publication, validation, recognition, monetary reward, but those things are not completely within our control.  Learn to let the simple joy of writing be its own reward.  Let us not live solely for the big moments, but tend to what God has placed in our present.  Focus on what you do have.  Relish inspiration—when you become so immersed in your writing you forget your surroundings and time disappears.  Celebrate each small success, whether it’s finishing another chapter, working out a troublesome plot point, learning something new at a workshop or hitting upon a brilliant idea.  Write for the stimulation, for the challenge and the delight of creating a fictional world of your own making.

Throughout the process of pursing our dreams, we can all find things that have nothing to do with publication to be grateful for—precious friendships made through writing groups, creative expression which provides an escape from daily life and stresses, the inspiration and motivation that having a goal provides.

And may you always write from a place of joy.

Lisa Norato is the author of Prize of My Heart, a historical inspirational romance from Bethany House, in addition to two earlier romance novels published by Five Star.  She balances writing with a career as a legal assistant specializing in corporate law.  Lisa lives in scenic New England and just recently adopted a vegan lifestyle.  She is a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA), American Christian Fiction Writers (ACRW), Rhode Island Romance Writers (RIRW) and the American Colonial Christian Writers.

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