I am not naturally a glass-is-half-full kind of gal. Given a half a glass of any beverage, I’m going to wonder who drank up the missing droplets and whether or not the remainder would suffice if, let’s say, I suddenly found myself stumbling through the Sahara.
No one does “What’s the worst that can happen?” better than I do. It’s a skill that frequently dismays my husband and provides my therapist with a steady income. (I pretty sure there are some days when she must bite her tongue to keep from saying, “Really? Really??” I just hope she never decides to write a book.)
I suppose it’s a benefit for a writer to have such an . . . expansive? volatile? wild? imagination. My ability to transform the present into anything but itself comes in handy when I’m actually writing. But the gift of an active imagination can also be a writer’s curse. I am quite good at imagining all of the possible ways I can fail.
When the “what if?” part of my brain is in panic-overdrive, it helps to escape from my own rattled thoughts into someone else’s. For me, a good book is better than any glass of water, half full or overflowing. A gifted writer has the power to transport. If that writer is also active in the blogging world, it’s like a daily dose of inspiration.
Continuing the spirit of praise that I began a few weeks ago, here are some of my favorite dig-me-out-of-the-pit-of-despair writers, the people I turn to when I knock the glass over with my elbow and send the half-full right down the proverbial drain.
1. Therese Walsh is the author of The Last Will of Moira Leahy, a captivating story full of character twists and touches of magical realism. She is also co-founder of Writer Unboxed, a wealth of resources for anyone interested in writing, publishing, and social media for writers. More than that, Therese is a generous soul with a lot of sympathy and compassion for writers on the path to publication. Her story of how she found an agent is one of the most inspiring I’ve read and a healthy reminder that perseverance and hard work can, in fact, pay off.
2. Kathryn Stockett, the author of The Help, also writes eloquently of perseverance in this article on how The Help was rejected 60 times before finding the right agent. Stockett admits to lying to everyone, including her husband, to cover up her “obsession” with the book after it had been rejected so many times that everyone else had given up. Her refusal to bury the manuscript may seem obvious and easy to us, in retrospect. To her, in the moment, I offer up my humblest “wow”.
3. Patricia Caspers is a brilliant poet who blogs at Fish Head Soup. I’m also lucky enough to count her as a good friend and critique partner. Her poetry is simply stunning, with cadences and word choices that transform the way I think and read and see the world. Her writing makes me fall in love with language all over again. There’s nothing better than that.
4. Natalie Whipple is an author of young adult fiction who blogs at Between Fact and Fiction. Her novel, Transparent, was recently acquired by HarperTeen and I am counting the days until its release. Whipple has faced her share (and more) of setbacks on the path to publication and has been strikingly honest about her struggles. She is a prolific writer who always has a new project brewing. One of the latest is an as-yet-unnamed story about a witch that has my fingers itching for the pages.
5. Nathan Bransford is a former literary agent whose popular blog on writing and publication has probably kept more than a few writers sane along the way. He is also the author of the middle grade novel, Jacob Wonderbar and the Cosmic Space Kapow, the story of a boy who trades a corn dog for a spaceship and causes quite a mess in the universe. I’m waiting for my copy from amazon — I’m certain Rainbow Girl and I will enjoy the read. In the meantime, Bransford’s blog posts have the sort of honesty, integrity, and light humor that keep me focused on what matters most in a writer’s life: writing.
That’s my short list of author inspiration. I kept it limited to authors whose thoughts on writing have fished me out of half-empty glasses. If I expanded the list to include writers who have simply inspired me with the beauty of their words, well, then we’d be in for a rather longish blog post.
Instead, I’ll ask you to add to the list. What books or authors have kept you treading water when the “what ifs” were storming all around? Believe me, when the Sahara calls, I’ll need the suggestions.