I’m honored to present our first-ever guest author feature…a post by award-winning author, Rebecca Dunning. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be a writer or what obstacles one has to overcome to become an author of a book that gets published, please read her wonderfully candid and informative words. It takes determination, tenacity and the ability to stay positive and motivated even when obstacles loom before you…Ms. Dunning has all of these attributes and more! When you are finished, please check out the links at the end of the post so you can visit her website and blog and find out more about her fantastic children’s books, Real Life Princess and Beetle Hunter.
A Personal Reflection on Becoming a Writer: by author, Rebecca Dunning
Being a writer is something that has always been with me. It’s not something that happened over time or due to a defining moment like I’ve heard many writers talk about. Now that I’ve said that, I must admit it has been a long journey into sharing my writings with anyone, feeling like I have anything of worth to offer in comparison to the “greats” and overcoming the resistance that stops me as an artist from exercising my gift.
In the early years of my life, writing brought me sanity. For me, processing my emotions on paper is like breathing air – clean air. When I write it is a catharsis. I feel most normal after I’ve given life to something on paper, even if it isn’t that great.
Beginning in early elementary school, I remember writing short stories in mass and, by the time I was in eighth grade, I entered a competition and got third place. I was devastated that I didn’t get first. So there, I’ve let you in on my biggest hurdle to being a writer: ME.
Before I got married, I regularly journaled and wrote poetry. Then I married an amazing visual artist and thought that my gift paled in comparison to his. It wasn’t until a couple of years into our marriage that I shared with him anything I’d written. My husband told me that he thought I had talent and really should pursue something with it, but I thought he was just being nice and didn’t do anything with it. Then there were kids and I “was too busy” and so on. There was always an excuse.
Four years ago, my husband and I found a group called Greenhouse Artist Community and joined. I was a writer that didn’t write so I felt like a total poser. The group was organized by a now good friend, Christi Bovee, for artists of all mediums and was meant to facilitate the creative process and give an outlet to share bits and pieces of whatever we were putting our hand to. It was a small group which made it comfortable but the sharing was done on a microphone, which at first was a hard thing, even though I’d traveled for years doing public speaking. After someone shared we then gave feedback.
The first time I shared, I cried like a baby because I brought in one of the most vulnerable pieces I’d ever written…maybe not the best idea. Afterwards, the silence in the room was thick; tears ran down a few faces and, in all honesty, the feedback kick started my career. I guess I needed a group of people to tell me I had what it takes.
Because of this and a book they recommended called The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, I now have two children’s books published and write for various organizations, publications and have a well followed blog. I’ve just finished my first novel and hope to write for the rest of my life.
I still come up against the big ME sometimes but I have several artists in my life that help me push through it. Getting your most vulnerable writings critiqued by publishers and reviewers can be brutal to the sensitive artistic soul, but it can also be rewarding and has helped me hone my craft.
I get a lot of questions from writers on what to do to get going. There is a lot to say actually but here are a few.
First, write! Then write some more.
Second, get someone(s) good to edit and critique it. (Not a nice friend who tells you what you want to hear.)
Thirdly, if you want to get published, get a thicker skin than you presently have. When you get ripped apart, learn from it and make yourself get back on the horse as soon as possible. Remember, most people who make it in acting, writing or any other kind of art get a lot more NO’s then yes’s. Get your no’s out of the way so you can get to your yes’s.
All in all, the only way to be a writer is to write. Period.
Rebecca Dunning is an award winning writer who lives in Colorado with her husband and three children. She not only loves to read and write but also enjoys hiking, climbing mountains 14,000 feet or higher, running, biking, traveling the world and about anything else out-of-doors. Rebecca is the author of two children’s books, The Real-Life Princess and Beetle Hunter and just finished her first novel, The Awen: Book One of the Sacred Oak Series.
Link to The War of Art: http://www.amazon.com/War-Art-Through-Creative-Battles/dp/0446691437
Link to The Real-Life Princess: http://www.amazon.com/Real-Life-Princess-Rebecca-Lynn-Dunning/dp/0982667000/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpi_1
Link to Beetle Hunter: http://www.amazon.com/Beetle-Hunter-Rebecca-Lynn-Dunning/dp/0982667027/ref=pd_sim_sbs_b_1
Link to website: http://www.rebeccadunning.com/
Link to blog: http://www.rebeccalynndunning.blogspot.com/
I’m thrilled to have had the opportunity to welcome Rebecca to Positive Parental Participation. In the upcoming weeks, we’ll be visiting with several other children’s book authors…hope you all enjoy hearing their stories.