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Reach Out and Touch Someone

May 5, 2013

A reporter once asked a writer friend of mine, “If you could only have one, would you prefer A) being published, B) writing for money, or C) having a readership?”

Her answer was swift and simple. “If I am able to touch one person,” she said, “it’s worth it.”

I’m striving towards that perspective. Being unpublished and unpaid, and having a – well, a lovely and a well-educated, though perhaps a small, readership, my perspective is admittedly biased. I would like to be published. I would like to be paid. It brings up an interesting question:

If blogging was as far as my writing career ever went, would I be satisfied?

So far my blogging has mainly been confined to thoughts on modern life, stories about homesteading in the city, and updates on my writing progress – non-fiction, in other words. But my passion is fiction.

If I were to accept blogging as my writing ceiling, I would approach it differently. I’d give my stories away. Non-fiction and fiction. No reason to bury a story just because the editors don’t want it, and I might receive feedback that could help my writing grow.

It’s not a bad idea, though I’ve not accepted the ceiling just yet. Fifteen months (since I vowed not to cut my hair until I made progress in my writing career) and there’s been no external confirmation of the internal progress I feel I’ve made, except my hair is getting long and curly. Perhaps I look more like an author. But how is my touch?

The thing about touching other person (as a writer, though it certainly applies otherwise) is what they’re left with. Are they inspired, or satiated, or perhaps reeling in disgust (only to come back for more, like a kid looking down an outhouse for the first time)? It depends on the writer’s touch, which depends on their message.

What do I want to say? What’s so important that I need to convey it to the world?

I’m trying to find a way of living I believe in, hence the chickens and the homesteading, the philosophy and the (hopefully infrequent) preachiness. I’m learning as I go; sometimes I’m as surprised as anyone at what I uncover. And sometimes I’m the person that gets touched.

Addressing these questions is something we can all do, writers or otherwise. The answer lies in getting to know yourself. It might sound corny, but it’s true. As you begin to understand what works and doesn’t work in your life, and as you are able to embrace these personal boundaries and speak up to protect them when necessary, your life’s passions will emerge on their own. All you have to do is follow them. Then, when the time comes, you’ll know exactly what to say to the world.

Or to that one all-important individual who needs to hear what you have to say.

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From → Rants

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