who say, "I want to write." I say: write. We are all writers and
if you do it on a regular basis, published or not, you know what
I'm talking about. A not-so-famous author, like most of us,
Mary Heaton Vorse, who wrote in the latter part of the 19th
century about politics and literature, who wrote fiction and
non-fiction during a time when women were supposed to be
doing domestic chores, is quoted as saying: "The art of writing
is applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair."
Well put. Writing is like playing a musical instrument, one must
practice every day. Once we find our voice, we learn some of the
rules and then we know enough about the art to break them
now and again. The result is a personal style. We write to make
sense out of the chaos, and when we get good enough at it others
want to read what we wrote. We are all writers because we go
through every day writing the manuscript of events and
our understanding of them in our minds, like ribbons of text
fluttering in the breeze of our existence.
My Writing Life
As an author—fiction and non-fiction—editor, writing and publishing coach, grant writer, historian, and artist,
I am a woman of many projects. I am forced to organize and prioritize my days. Writing comes first.
Ten years ago I retired from a full-time education career to focus on literary endeavors . The first thing I
did was write a memoir. Then I joined a critique group and someone said, "Why would anyone be interested in
your story?" I hadn't formed a thick skin yet (critical for any artist), so I put Growing up Nancy on the
back burner and wrote a novel based on the memoir. My back burner might look like
a messy closet to some, but it all makes sense to me. I suggest it's OK to pursue multiple urges and projects,
but do keep them organized and let one inform the other and in the end you can pull the bunny out of the hat.
Maybe you'll have an audience, maybe not; I can help.
Find out more about my other publications here.
And here's a sample short story
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MY THOUGHTS ON WRITING
To write what others might stay up all night to read is to be willing to practice and learn every day. In my
quest to become a better writer, I attend author readings and lectures. I read religiously what agents and
editors have to say about exceptional writing and the complex pursuit of publication. Every month, I read my
copy of Poets & Writers cover to cover, submit short stories to literary journals, and pay my fair share of
writing contest submission fees. I am a member of Women in Portland Publishing and Willamette Writers.
If you're serious about writing, read and write every day. If it's your passion, this will not be a problem.
Birds must fly, grass must grow, and writers must write. For me, writing a winsome sentence or an engaging
scene is like playing a sonata in the dark, one you've practiced since childhood. It's executed so effortlessly,
you evoke an emotion in everyone who hears you play.
I started writing fiction at the age of eight, and have kept it up all my life. A long time ago, I wrote a
serialized soap opera for the Eugene Magazine: “As the Rain Falls.” I borrowed so much juicy material from
my friends and their foibles, to save my skin I wrote under the nom de plume, La Plume. Since then I’ve used
Camille LaPlume as a handle in all kinds of situations. Now that I’ve exposed my cover, I’ll have to think of
something new should I reinvent myself as a spy.