Saturday, September 5, 2009

Don't Do As I Do--Do As I Say

I told someone today that I believe my calling is to encourage other writers and create opportunities for them. I’m not sure what that means—‘create opps’ for them, except, I search out markets, keep my ears open, look for good articles, blogs, websites, agents, and quotes that will help them reach and stretch in the right direction to grab some bylines and bucks.

When I was growing up, my mother bought Dial soap. In her mind (and experience) Dial was the only soap that got us clean. She used Tide—no other—and Purex. When it came to fruit drinks, Hawaiian Punch was it. And there was nothing better than Crisco.

She baked with Fleischmann's Margarine. Absolutely no compromises.

When I married, I chose my own brands. Well, actually, I still use Dial, but I prefer Cheer, don’t use Purex at all, prefer I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter and my fruit juice consist of Crystal Light powder sprinkled in a bottle of Aquafina.

When I became president of the Bayou Writers Group, I wanted each and every member to work hard, enter contests for feedback and send their work out. You learn by doing, I tell them. You learn from rejections and critiques. Writers write, I say, as if I’m some great philosopher sharing wisdom. I also harp for them to read how-to books, stand at the magazine rack for hours like I do to know what’s there, study the periodicals, surf the net to learn what’s out there, write, write, write.

Recently I told Robert Swartwood that
many new writers want to be spoon-fed—they don’t want to teach themselves, work hard to learn and achieve their goals. I think I might have been wrong. I guess what I’m trying to say is… I’m becoming my mother.

Am I guilty of force-feeding?



Debra Harris-Johnson said...

If encouraging and pointing writers in the right direction is "force feeding," serve me up another helping>

jess said...

Oh Debra, you yanked the spoon out of my hand and ran with it. :-)
You create your own opportunities and then some! In fact, you could be another ME. LOL

Jake Chambers said...

jess..i was asked to write an article summarizing our business unit as we look to the impending closure of the process unit. in my was sent up the line to corporate folks..i received it back from one lady with the same type of RED lines and suggestions as you used on us in our forum... is that some sort of critique methodology you teachers have at your disposal...I had to sit back and laugh at myself when I first saw it... it will be published as the final sun down approaches for the final run....

jess said...

Jake, that's too funny. Haven't teachers always carried red pens? Computers don't change things.
Hope you're doing well.