Dear Writergirl: Powered by you

Dear Writergirl, 

I’m a big fan of female superheroes,
Wonderwoman and Xena in particular.  And now there’s … 
Writergirl!   Cool.  Do you have any special powers?  Can
you fly with your writing cape?  Cast magic spells with your special
book?  Can you read invisible ink?  Spell perfectly while writing
backward?  Whatever your powers, I’m already a big fan. Mysterious female
superheroes are my weakness.

Dear Awestruck,
You do know how
to start a girl off on the right foot. But let’s not dwell on my awesomeness
right off the bat. A wise writer like you already knows that to get too caught
up in your specialness will get you in trouble. You have to save that moxy for
when you really need it, Awestruck, and if you are the writer you aim to be, you
already know that, too.
Before we get
into the business of spells, capes, and disappearing ink, I’ve got a
shoutout for Deb, who for the past year has occupied this corner of cyberspace.
She begged for a break, and I swooped in to help. Because that’s what I do,
Awestruck. I help, which on the special-o-meter is way up at the top, right
next to asking for help. We writers are a little overly shy about that, don’t
you think? We believe we must be clever and smart. Confident and charming, with
words that flow with grace, power, ease, profound insight, and of course wit.
Except that we
aren’t, and they don’t.
This is why you
have a thing for mysterious female superheroes, Awestruck. I’m not here to get
all weird and gendercentric on you, but Wonderwoman and Xena, they rock because
they’re oozing with passion, which our slight screwed-up culture allows to
girls more than boys. Sure, your superheroes fight for justice and truth and
all that, but you know what matters the most? They care.
Remember when
you first decided you were going to be a writer? That nutso day when your world
flipped itself inside out?  Maybe it
crashed over you like a tsunami. Maybe it was more of a slow, irritating drip.
Either way, I’ll bet at some point since then you’ve wished for a cape and a
spell book, and while you were at it, a phone booth, not so much for your
presto-change-o routine but for hiding out from the people who love you, people
who would like to know why you couldn’t have taken up something safer and more
productive than writing, say scrapbooking, or fly fishing, or detonating
Like every one
of us writers, you’ve surely wished for invisible ink, so that no one – not
even, or maybe especially, you its creator – could see the god-awful crap you’ve
written as you slog your way to the good stuff. I know I have. Not just for the
horrible poem I wrote when I was sixteen, about the boy whose blue eyes I was
desperate to describe, except that I was way too scared to actually look at
them. I could use it for the chapter I wrote last week. The paragraph I wrote
yesterday. The sentence I just rewrote for the twenty-eighth time.
If I told you
it got easier, I wouldn’t be much of a superhero, would I, sweetness? The work
we do is hard, and the more we do it, the harder it gets. The ink stares you
back in the face and the right words elude you and even when you punch the
delete key like it’s the bully who kicked your little Pekinese and you start
all over, it’s still not what you wanted, only an itsy bit better than the last
twenty-eight tries. But that tiny improvement is a big, big deal, and you know
how you got there? You cared.
This gig’s
inconsistent as hell, if you want the truth. And I can tell you do want the
truth, Awestruck, because you’ve got questions, and that’s where the truth gets
its start.
You know what
else is ultra-cool, darling? You’ve got a weakness, and you don’t care who
knows it. That’s a fantastic thing in a writer, better by far – trust me on
this – than a cape or a spell.
Truly yours,

Send your questions on writing,
publishing, or anything else to Writergirl at Don’t be shy
– your identity won’t be revealed
. Writergirl logo by James Stugart.

1 thought on “Dear Writergirl: Powered by you”

  1. I love being a writer. Absolutely love it. And it is difficult especially since I can't write all day/every day. After twenty + years I've grown, educated myself, taken classes, and I'm sure the next twenty + years I will still feel the same anxiety when I sit down to start a piece of work. Will they like it? That's the biggest question running through my head. The one thing I have learned is that if I enjoyed writing it, then there is always going to be someone out there who will enjoy it just as much when they read it.

    I really enjoyed reading your posts. Thank you.

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