Monday, April 18, 2011

Openings

A to Z Blog Challenge: O
Post by Jenny


The other night, I lay in bed on the verge of sleep thinking of great twenty-dollar ‘O’ words for today’s post. Omniscient (as in point-of-view), onomatopoeia, obfuscation…. But as I drifted off, a simple word popped into my head. That word was ‘open,’ and the more I thought of it, the more I realized that it’s a very appropriate word for writers.

For many of us, our writer’s journey began (even if we didn’t know it then) the first time someone opened a book for us. As we got older, we opened many more on our own. Eventually, we opened ourselves to the idea that we, too, could put words down on the page, and we wrote the very first one. Long and short fiction, non-fiction, memoir, poetry—it all begins with an opening word, which leads to an opening phrase or sentence, an opening paragraph, an opening scene, an opening chapter.

As we progress, we keep our eyes and ears open, observing the world around us, taking in information. When we’ve amassed enough words and have them arranged in an acceptable order, we feel brave enough to let someone else take a look. That’s a big step, because again we must open up, this time by inviting an outside opinion. If we can, we keep an open mind when we are offered suggestions, advice, critiques, and the inevitable sharp-edged criticisms.

Over time, the process can begin to feel like the letter ‘O’—no beginning and no end, many laps around the same track. Perhaps someone opens a window of doubt by suggesting that writing isn’t the best use of our energy, and we should consider a less frustrating “hobby” or more gainful employment. Once that window is open, it can be hard to close it again, to shut out the soul-sucking draft. But if we can slam it down and keep on, we meet like-minded folks who encourage us and open doors of opportunity.

I’ve found that writers are equal parts obstinate and optimistic. With perseverance, we hopefully find ourselves at the point where we can hang up the shingle that says “Open for Business.”

How do you stay open in your writing life?

5 comments:

Bob Scotney said...

Sounds like we need an open and shut case to come out on top.

Heidi Windmiller said...

I love the image of the endless O with no end and no beginning.

I suppose I stay open by continuing to believe that I can achieve my goals--if I just keep working and learning.

Kerrie said...

Another outstanding post Jenny! I stay open by being optimistic about my writing.

Andrea Mack said...

It is so important to be open-minded when receiving feedback. I usually let the comments stew for a bit in my mind before I try to use them, so I can think about them with less emotion.

I'm trying to be open to new directions that emerge in my novels as I work on revisions (sometimes it's hard to be open-minded when you just want to get finished).

Jenny said...

Thanks for the comments.

I think if we can stay optimistic and open-minded, that's half the battle!

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