When I was in college, I was in love with a totally campy movie, “Center Stage”. It’s about a group of ballet dancers trying to make it into a dance company. And I can admit, even then, that it was kinda dumb.
But there’s this one scene …
The only Black female dancer, Eva, (played by Zoe Saldana) is addressed by her instructor (Donna Murphy) places her hand on the barre and says, “No matter what happened, if you come back here, you’ll be home.”
(I’m totally paraphrasing that!)
That scene always stuck with me. That every artist, dancer, writer, has a HOME out there in the creative-sphere. And when life, work, business get sideways, you can simply, go home.
Let me ask you:
Where’s your home?
For me, it’s coming back to “how to write” books. Yes, I have a degree in Creative Writing. Yes, I’ve spent the last 20 years of my life in serious study and practice of the writing craft.
And when I’m feeling shaky and unsure and like a fraud … I come back to the “how to write” books.
Is most of it review?
Yes. Frankly. There’s not a lot “new” in those books.
But it’s home. It’s remembering my roots and my studies. It takes me back to being a too-skinny teenager who carted around manuals about plot and dialog and iambic pentameter.
At this point in my career, my bookshelves only hold a couple of treasured “how to write” books. The ones that I just can’t stand to part with.
So when I need a feeling of “home” I do what a lot of life-long students do: I head to the used book store and stock up!
Right now, in my business, I’m on the cusp of some exciting changes. (More on that in a couple of weeks – stay tuned!) It’s making me feel excited and nervous and unsure of myself. It makes me feel like I need to retreat to an earlier version of myself – the one WITHOUT the degree, without the 20 books in my name, without the award-winning poems and stories, without the world-wide client base.
So as a nod to that goofy, geeky, skinny teenager, I picked up a good half-dozen “how to write” books. I’ll skim them in the coming weeks, thankfully remembering that yes, I do know a lot about the writing craft; I am an expert. I’ll peruse the forgotten/remembered/ingrained rules of writing. I’ll turn over the Must Write This Way lessons that these authors impart – and remind myself that I too am a professional, make-all-my-income-with-words author – and remember to take what I need and leave the rest.
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