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Delma Luben

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Featured Book
The challenge
by Antoine Raphael

an abused female adolescent sets out, despite everything, to fulfill all her dreams..  
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What Does It Take?
by Delma Luben   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Friday, November 21, 2008
Posted: Sunday, October 19, 2008

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Delma Luben

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Tips for succeeding as a writer

                           WHAT DOES IT TAKE?

By Delma Luben

What does it take to become a professional, regularly published writer?

To become a complete novilist Leon Uris said, it takes the concentration of a trappist monk, the organizational ability of a Prussian field marshal, the insight into human relations of a Viennese psychiarist, the disipline of a man who prints the Lord's prayer on the head of a pin" ...

James Thurber, speaking to an audience of aspiring authors, said that it takes" talent, application, and aspirin."

And everyone tells you it takes time.Even with today's speedy  technology, plus practice, and patience. To attain your particular goal, the success you dream of, may take the patience of Job.

And additionally, there's another necessary requisite, that you may not have considered-- the ability to successfully balance your writing life with your family life.

Unless they live alone and have no friends, victims of “the divine discontent” sooner or later discover that a writing career requires rearrangement of their personal lives. The essential solitude for serious writing mandates a change in everyday living habits. Dealing with the inevitable distractions, and interruptions becomes a major challenge.

No matter how many times you tell your friends that you work until noon, they'll still call or come see you during your work time. Family members may agree not to interrupt you except for a true emergency, but all too often they do-- and usually respond to your inevitable frown of impatience with, “but this will only take a minute!”

Does this sound familiar to you? Does someone repeatedly break your chain of thought? Or frequently ask you to do something else, while you‘re writing? If so, do you acquiesce for peace in the family?

If you don’t, do you feel guilty?

To communicate clearly on paper takes patience and practice-- and more of both to convince non-writers that a break in your chain of thought is serious.

So how are you doing with this communication problem? When someone’s thoughtless interruption results in the loss of that perfect phrase you were refining, can you manage a smile and act as if it didn’t matter?

To some, it matters so much they feel like crying....

After President Carter retired Rosalynn kept family and friends at bay while he wrote a book. But when she decided to write one, he didn’t think to return the favor-- until one day after the third interruption in an hour she ran from the room crying. Upon returning she found that Jimmy had put a sign on her door: WORKING HOURS 9 - 12, DO NOT DISTURB. And thereafter he ran interference for her, insisting on family cooperation.

Don’t neglect your family, or other duties; work out with them when you are least needed (if it’s midnight to six a.m.) Then if your agreed-to schedule is not honored, firmly remind the people you live with of their part of the bargain. Or you will wind up defeated by a list of poor excuses for lack of progress, like these I repeatedly hear from my students who fail to complete their assignments.

“My wife came upstairs bearing a treat; she thought I needed a break.”

“My husband keeps interrupting, just to ask trivial questions.”

“A friend came over, and I never got back to it.”

Explaining our priorities without seeming to put loved ones second is a communications challenge. It’s difficult to convince people on a traditional time schedule that keeping an allotted writing time is the same as "reporting for work.”

Professionals who have the money often rent an office downtown, or keep a secret room somewhere-- or build a hideout in the woods, and concoct a reasonably sounding excuse for their long absences.. Some have handled the distraction problem by disappearing entirely. One writer I know went this route, and she made great progress-- began selling regularly-- but was divorced for it.

If you are among the lucky few privileged to work under the umbrella of a supportive family, you will probably make it-- if you also have talent, and grit. But those plagued by constant frustration and emotional upheaval seldom hang in there long enough. Beginning writers, living in an atmosphere of family antagonism, made to feel guilty, find it psychologically risky to swim in the inevitable sea of rejection, and usually quit.

In an open letter “to victims of family resentment, or indifference,” Writer’s Forum editor Alexander Blackburn said, “If you can quit, you probably should.”

If you can’t, you must work out a way to live in harmony with your family and friends.

More than anything else, that's what it takes.

* * * * *

Excerpted from THE WRITING WORLD Living The Literary Life, © 2003.

Delma Luben, authors’ advocate, writing teacher, and former contributing editor for Writers World magazine, is a popular speaker at writing conferences.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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By

Delma Luben

What does it take to become a professional, regularly published writer?

James Thurber told a group of aspiring authors that it takes “talent, application, and aspirin.”

"To become a complete novelist,"Leon Uris said,"it takes the concentration of a Trappist monk, the organizational ability of a Prussion field marshal, the discipline of a man who prints The Lord's Prayer on the head of a pin ...."

 

 

 

 

 

 



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