Monday, February 09, 2009
Gotta Love It!
I just returned from the Love is Murder Conference, a wonderful writers/readers' weekend in Chicago. And I realized something, that no matter how much we love our work, no matter how excited we are by it, there's something special about seeing the response of an audience to the words you toiled over for so long.
In my case, this was especially rewarding as the good folks at Love is Murder awarded LIFELINES the Readers' Choice Award for Best First Novel of 2008!
Of course I was thrilled, more than thrilled--it was an unexpected and most wonderful honor, capping a wonderfully inspiring weekend!
But as I worked my way home from Chicago--complete with unpacking my carry on to show my award, affectionately known as a "Lovey", to TSA officials concerned it could be used as a weapon--I thought about the care and feeding of a writer.
We all need some sort of validation to keep going--everyone does. And, as anyone who read the rather lengthy acknowledgments in my books would know, we can't go it alone. There are always others to thank for help needed along the way to success.
Most writers work in solitary confinement, just the voices in their heads and the paper or keyboard in front of them. Hard to get validation from a computer screen.
Yet, somehow we do. Merely the process of telling our stories, making them come alive outside our minds, keeps us going, is validation enough to get our first drafts done.
Which is fantastic! Because when we write our stories down we're putting our hearts and souls on the line, exposing our vulnerabilities for all to see.
You never knew writing could be an act of courage, but it is. As well as an act of love.
So to get external validation whether a kind comment from a mentor, great cover quotes, fantastic reviews, gushing fan mail, or even an award from peers, well that reward is, as they say in the commercials....priceless!
But you don't need that to stay motivated, which was my big eureka moment as I flew home last night.
All it takes is the smile on the face of a single reader, knowing that for the time they held your words in their head they were transported to another world, one you created just for them.
Thanks for reading! And yes, I mean that literally!!!
As a pediatric ER doctor, CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about in her cutting edge suspense novels. Her debut, LIFELINES (Berkley, March 2008), became a national bestseller and Publishers Weekly proclaimed it a "breathtakingly fast-paced medical thriller." The second in the series, WARNING SIGNS, is due out January, 2009. Contact her at http://www.cjlyons.net
Margie Lawson -- presenter, psychotherapist, writer -- lives at the top of a Colorado mountain west of Denver. Margie merged her two worlds, psychology and writing, to develop psychologically anchored editing systems and techniques that teach writers how to write page turners. A former college professor, Margie works as a psychotherapist, writes fiction and nonfiction, and presents full day master classes for writers internationally. Go to http://www.margielawson.com for more information.