Change. It happens to the best of us. It can come in many guises. We all know that. Recently, I’ve had some changes. In the past four months, I’ve lost my grandfather and an uncle. They’re gone. Nothing I can do will bring them back. Would I, if I could? Yes. I’d bring my uncle back so his wife could have another day with him. In my head, they’d talk and he’d tell her he was okay. He would tell her she didn’t have to burst into tears when she sees another man wearing his favorite sports team’s shirt. He would tell her that even though he died on Christmas Eve, it’s okay to celebrate the holidays because he’s always with her.
My grandfather, I’d bring him back for just a little bit. You see, after my grandmother died, he remarried. The woman he married was someone he’d loved since the second grade. They didn’t have a long life together, but they had fun. He was in a nursing home and she was in the hospital with pneumonia when he died last Wednesday night. I know she understands that he’s gone to a better place, but I know she’d love to talk to him again and have him actually remember who she is. I’d love to have him know his whole family just one more time.
I guess that brings me around to the point of this blog. We get one life. One life to live, laugh, love, smile, and for those of us who are writers – one life to fill with the stories of many. I admire the people who say they have no regrets, but most people do. On that note, if you knew your last days were here – would you write? If so, what would you write? If you could write one story, one book that would define who you are as a writer – what would it be?
Is your current work something you’d be proud to leave as a testament of your talent? If not, why? What would you change? Some people take years to write a novel, while others do it in a matter of months. Some writers put their heart and soul into their work, while others write light and chase trends.
A lot of writers say they’d die if they couldn’t write. I realize that’s an exaggeration, however, I want to say to them – write the best you possibly can. Don’t make excuses and don’t worry about your writing colleagues and how much they’re producing. Show the world your voice – something no one else has. Your voice and your stories are unique to you and only you can tell them. You and your voice are beautiful, take time to cultivate that beauty and showcase it. It’s okay to take the time. After reading the beginning of this post, that’s probably not what you were expecting me to say. Look at some of the most enduring stories of our age; Gone With the Wind, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Wuthering Heights, and Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland – just to name a few. What is special about these books that they’re still read so many years after being written?
They’re classics, to be sure, but look at Harry Potter – it’s not that old and yet it’s considered a classic already. Why? How can you write a book like that? Honestly, I don’t know, because if I did – I’d have done it already. But I will say this. In an interview J.K. Rowling did, she said her quickest book took a year to write (http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/interview-j-k-rowling). However, look at the legend she’s left. People will be reading her series for generations to come.
Don’t be afraid to take time. Write what you want, don’t follow trends. Write the stories that matter to you. If you chase trends, more than likely, they’re going to be on the downhill slide by the time your book goes into publication. Life’s too short to be anything but true to you and your writing. Be original, be a trendsetter, but most importantly – be you!