Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Writer’s Personality

From Cheryl's Writing Crate

There are many days when I am amazed that I am the mother of eight kids. It was never the plan, but I am so grateful that some higher force thought I could handle countless temper tantrums, emergency room visits, baking cookies for last-minute bake sales, holding a basin at 2 a.m. when one of them was barfing all over me, kissing endless boo boos, and teaching four of them to drive.  Each time I'm called “Mom”,  I realize, without a doubt, I’d never change a thing.

There are also many days when I sit with my never ending thoughts and marvel at the fact that I am a published author and full-time writer! I’m not Virginia Woolf, Stephen King, or J.K. Rowling. Even better—I’m Cheryl L. Butler. I have my own unique writer’s voice and style. Though many readers have not read a single paragraph I’ve written, I believe that someday that will all change. It’s not that I have some psychic super powers that tell me this, but what I do have is something more important—I have a writer’s personality which will help me persevere.

Although I always knew writing was in my blood, I didn’t have enough gumption and faith in myself to take my writing seriously. However, my writer’s personality slowly came out of hiding as I shlepped through my days as a stay-at-home mother until I couldn’t ignore the signs any longer.

Here are a few of the telltale signs that reaffirmed that I had no choice but to write:

An imagination that never sleeps

I’ve always had an active imagination. When I was four, my family lived in Puerto Rico. Not only did I have a pet iguana, I also created a magical world underneath one of the coconut trees that grew in our yard. I would sit underneath those wispy leaves holding one of the rough, shaggy coconuts and pretend that the milk sloshing inside was transporting my sister and me to an ocean made of creamy chocolate or to a rainbow-colored beach where mermaids would swim with us. 

As an adult, I still enjoy visualizing crazy, make-believe worlds, but the difference is I now write everything down.

Patience—it’s a virtue and a writer’s best friend

As the inspired novelist Richard Bausch said so beautifully about a writer’s patience:

“I don't teach writing. I teach patience. Toughness, stubbornness, the willingness to fail. I teach the life. The odd thing is most of the things that stop an inexperienced writer are so far from the truth as to be nearly beside the point. When you feel global doubt about your talent, that is your talent. People who have no talent don't have any doubt.”

This quote reminds me that although I’m nearing 50 and haven’t written a best-selling piece yet, I am on my own timetable and the journey to reach my writing goals is just as important as the final destination.


Applying the gift of your senses

If we are vigilant, we can use all our senses to live more vibrant lives. Rely on them to navigate everyday matters as well as the most difficult or exciting paths you choose to take. (I do!) When you let your senses lead the way, they open up your brain allowing it to transform experiences into concrete and vivid details thereby furnishing yourself with an endless source of writing material. 

Let your writer's personality inspire you to sit down and write.  Never mind if you don't know where it will take you, you just have to find a starting point!

Diligence—make your writing a priority

I have kept journals since I was a young girl. I write notes on our family calendar every month, jot things in my children’s scrapbooks, send letters to faraway friends, and slip “I miss you” notes into my kids’ lunchboxes. 

This was the type of writing I had known for years, until I answered an ad in a local town-wide magazine that was looking for writers over a decade ago. Now I write two or three 1,200+ word articles as well as a column every month. I also write for this blog once a week and run the newspaper club at my children's school--all of these deadlines while working on my novel, too.

To accomplish all my writing goals, I sit down and write every day from 5 a.m. – 7 a.m. and usually between 9 p.m. and midnight—faithfully. I truly believe that diligence is the backbone of my writer’s personality, and, in combination with the other traits I listed above, I will persevere until I completely satisfy my muse--which hopefully, will take a lifetime!

What qualities do you consider the cornerstones of your writer’s personality?  We’d love to hear about them.

1 comment:

  1. I have no imagination at all. It's why I stick with memoir and reflection