Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Find Your Magic

by Jeffrey Savage

Saturday morning I had the chance to meet three lovely and intelligent women who do a website and a monthly podcast on LDS books and books that LDS women would like. The website is called LDS Women’s Book Review. They have a very fun and amusing podcast they did with Rob Wells among others, and mine should be posted shortly. It will be number 11.

Anyway, in the course of our podcast (which I might add was the longest they’ve ever done—narrowly beating out Rob’s. Nyah, nyah.) I was asked if I’d always known I wanted to be a writer. Over the course of their interviews, they’d found that quite a few authors did not know they would grow up to write books.

This was the case with me. I didn’t write my first book until I was 38. And if someone had suggested I might be paid to write books back when I was in school, I would have considered them as nutty as Stephanie. (Sorry, Stephanie, but you know we love you.)

Now my point is this. There are many talents you either know you have—or don’t have in my case—by the time you’re old enough to ride a bike without training wheels. I knew by the time I was eight that I would never make a living singing. And I knew shortly after, that I would not be shooting hoops in Madison Square Garden. In fact the garden was where most of my shots ended up.

But other talents can sit dormant for years and suddenly spring up out of nowhere. Very few people sit down to write and find that they are William Faulkner. But lots of people discover they have a little flair for putting words together. And the more they work at it, the better they get.

I’ve been part of a critique group, which I jokingly call The Women of Wednesday Night, for five years. When I started, we all had some talent, but we also had a lot to improve upon. Now four of us have published novels and the others have published articles, short stories, and even sold movie scripts.

Did the seven of us just happen to be great writers that linked up? No, but we worked at it week after week, for years and years, and now I have to say that we are pretty darn good. So don’t think that authors are these incredibly talented people that sit on unreachable thrones. We are just like you. We struggle, we write a lot of crap, and occasionally we write something good. But if you go through enough crap, eventually you have enough good to make a book.

I hope that there is someone out there reading this blog who has always wanted to write a book of their own. Or maybe they’ve written a book or two without getting published. If so, I want you to know that getting published or more about perspiration than inspiration. Or maybe it's another talent or aspiration. Whatever it is, this is the year to make it happen. So reach down inside yourself and find your magic. Then put in the time and effort to share it with everyone else.


At 1/23/2007 12:29 PM, Blogger FHL said...

Alright, Jeff, I'll take your challenge and see if I can come up with a book this year. I've been percolating an idea for at least 6 months now and it's time I got to work actually putting words down on paper.

I'm a little bit bothered in that I learned there's a similar project out there (I shouldn't be surprised) but I'm not sure if I should read those other books. Should I read them, and find out the concept is too similar and get discouraged? Or should I read them and find out she's a much better writer than me and get discouraged? Or should I just write my own darn book and let the chips fall where they may?

I'm probably going to go with the last option so that I can at least go through the process. If all else fails, I'll have a nice present to send to family members. =)

At 1/23/2007 1:22 PM, Blogger Annette Lyon said...

Well put, Jeff. Perspiration indeed is the key.

As one of those "Women of Wednesday Night" (I love that name!), I can attest that I've written plenty of crap over the years, but if it weren't for our group, I wouldn't have ever learned how to polish it up and get published.

Perspiration and feedback are the keys.

At 1/23/2007 3:23 PM, Blogger Mean Aunt said...

Stephanie? Nutty? You don't know the half of it. (hee hee, Hi Steph!) Of course that nuttiness may be genetic. . .

At 1/23/2007 4:39 PM, Blogger RobisonWells said...

Work is for suckers. I prefer plagiarism.

At 1/23/2007 6:37 PM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

Yeah, really I wrote 2/3 of the scenes in The Counterfeit. You'll be hearing from my lawyer.

Nutty? I thrive on nutty.

At 1/23/2007 7:56 PM, Blogger G. Parker said...

Did you see I was yelling your name over at Authors Inc? Finally finished your book and about flung it out the window with your ending. ;) Drive me crazy!!!

At 1/27/2007 11:09 PM, Blogger Josi said...

Hearing you guys talk about your critique group almost makes me wish I lived in Utah county...okay, not really. That's just the ice cream talking. But I am jealous--and I'm right with you on the perspiration part. Thank goodness for Degree!


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