Monday, December 22, 2014

My Christmas Wish For Writers

My late husband John M. Cavalieri wrote on the dedication page of his memoir; “I owe more than I can ever repay to my wife, friend, lover and first editor, Susan . . . to her I dedicate my efforts.”

Many people have blessed my life, but John is, and always has been, my inspiration.

All it takes is one person. In the Women’s Writing Circle we teach each other the power of love and acceptance. We remind each other that writing is a great act of generosity and personal exposure. 

We dig deep for meaningful stories. 

We learn that our brokenness can be an instrument for change.

As I look back on this year, I see many writers have given up. They have folded their tents . . . disappeared. They feel overwhelmed by social media, keeping up with all the expectations they find impossible to meet. Constant comparisons and competitions based on what our culture tells us equates to success buries their enthusiasm to move forward.

They tell me they are disheartened by the predatory nature of the publishing world; one that revolves around impersonal stats: author rankings, ebook sales, reader reviews, awards won or not, contests entered or not, comments or lack thereof on blog posts . . . 

Yet often the most unforgiving audience is ourselves. We demand perfection . . . . brood over the jealousy, shameless self-interest or cold silence of others.

Sometimes, we turn our back on a changing world, longing for a time now a distant memory. As my son would say, "Don't be a fossil. Embrace the changing times."

Writing is not whether your parents or your children approve of you, it is not dwelling on unhealthy attitudes that hurt rather than nurture. It is not whether Random House or IngramSpark publishes you.

A Portrait of Love and Honor,  based on John's memoir, might never make the NY Times bestseller list, nor receive a review from some "literary expert" . . . win a prestigious publishing award . . . even sell very well.

But I hope it does this: Offer readers something of value about the pain and the joy of living . . . or possibly encourage another writer to push the send button to their editor, their publisher, their online audience.

My Christmas wish for every writer: Give each other the gift of one nod or word of encouragement . . .  find someone who believes  . . . even if that person is you.

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