Several years ago a friend and I met to support each other in our beginning writer status. Those meetings evolved into the O-Pen Writer’s Group. I realized the people who have attended, their stories and their writing paths, are stories of all writers in a way. I’m only going to mention a few due to space constraints, but I think you’ll see what I mean. Each description goes beyond that person’s individuality, to describe the writer in all of us throughout our writing life.
Pat is the soul of the group with a kind word for everyone, the balm on any contention that arises. She comes from a difficult history, but through it all she has continued to journal and to write poetry. She feels she is not a writer because she ‘only journals’. I miss her inner joy when she isn’t there. I believe over the years she has slowly come to realize that her journals and her poetry are valuable and beautiful, and a true form of writing. She is the writer in the closet, just realizing that she truly is a writer, like Jenni, a close friend who attends through Facebook, and who is also just budding as a writer. Both remind me of beginnings.
Lisa has written an amazing novel. Strong, original, funny, heart wrenching, everything you want in a story. But for many personal reasons she has not returned to the story. I wait for the day that she realizes the strength of that book, and picks it up again. She is the writer in the middle, the one who has passed the beginning, works on her craft, and has created. Yet sinks under the weight of the inner critic and has yet to realize she is truly gifted as a writer. She reminds me of the heavy struggles of being in the middle, of knowing where to go but not yet able to see she has the tools to take her forward. Right now we walk together.
Susan came with a draft novel that had problems she wasn’t sure how to fix. We realized her actual beginning was five chapters into the story. Ruthlessly she hacked and deleted, outlined and studied, and ended up with a published novel. She belongs to large groups, has chaired local chapters, attends conferences, studies, works diligently and regularly, and is now publishing her third novel in the series. She is the experienced writer, striding along with the discipline to work. She’s the writer who has left the twists and turns of a narrow path in the dark woods, for the clear straight highway, the horizon within reach. Lisa’s husband Mark is on the same segment of path as Susan. A writer who is also an engineer, he has perfected the ability to remove the creating hat and put on the marketing one. His published short stories and anthologies are compelling and entertaining, and he, too, now speeds seemingly effortlessly along the writing highway.
There are other members who also show me those stepping-stones on the writer’s path. Maybe I’ll have to do a part 2 to this post. But for now, I thank those who walk beside me along this learning curve. It’s great to not be alone.