Carol Callicotte

Author

On Being a Writer* November 18, 2018

Filed under: For Writers,Goals,Uncategorized,Writing,Writing World — A French American Life @ 8:20 pm
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It’s not often that I tell people I write. I never call myself a Writer in my non-writing circles. I think of myself as a writer with an asterisk. A caveat. Yes, I write stuff. But.

 

I devote so much time to writing. I’ve been at this for years. I’m self-aware enough to realize that while I may not be the Next Great American Novelist, I’m not bad at this whole writing thing. Sometimes, I’m even good at it. I’ve come a long way since my first attempts and I’ve devoted much hard work to honing my craft.

 

Still. For me, the fact that I am, as of yet, unpublished, makes calling myself a writer feel so trite, verging on pathetic. I fear the glazed-over eyes and feigned interest from those I venture to tell of my hobby/passion/dream. I dread the questions: “Where can I find your work?” Oh, no, nothing published. Yet. Big vulnerable smile. “I know someone who self-published, can’t you just do that?” No, that’s not the path for me. I hate that it paints me, in moments of total insecurity, as a grown-ass woman with a ridiculous pipe-dream. Most every writer will attest: writing opens up a roller-coaster of highs that could quite possibly be delusions of grandeur, and lows of complete self-doubt. I sometimes fall into the mindset of wondering – is it worth is? All the time and energy I put into this? Will it still be worth it, even if my work is never picked up?

 

A writing teacher recently talked about Process vs. Product. It was exactly what I needed to hear at exactly the right moment. Focusing too much on Product can lead to dark places. It was a needed reminder of all the reasons I love the Process of writing: the insight I gain, the creativity I harness, the worlds I get lost in, the catharsis, the intellectual stimulation, the way writing (and reading) changes the way I see the world and improves my ability to empathize. The escape it grants me, and the complete unfettered joy that comes from seeing my words arranged onto a page in a way that I’m proud of.

 

Does being a Writer depend on the Product? No, I don’t think so. Do I permit myself the title of Author only if I am agented and published? I still tend toward “yes” on this. But. In a healthier, less self-flagellating sort of way. So much of publishing is dependent on the being in the right place at the right time. It’s good, too, to have writer friends to give me someone to talk to ad nauseam about all things writing. It helps that I’m married to a guy that will happily let me carry on about writing for hours at a time. Who will read everything I write and give me feedback and encouragement.

 

I still hope to find an agent. To be published. But hanging every hope and dream on that nail takes too much away from the joy I find in writing. And while some people may never understand the time and energy I devote to this, and I may never feel comfortable talking about it to non-writers, I can come to terms with that. Like so many things in life, it boils down to a healthy balance. I’m a big fan of the 80-20 rule. Eighty percent of the time spent on craft, 20 percent on pursuing publication/industry stuff. And from now on, none of the time thinking badly of myself because I’m not “legit” by the high standards I’ve been holding myself to. I am a writer. I write. And I freaking love (nearly) every minute of it. Even the minutes I hate, I still love the passion and energy it evokes in me. Begone, asterisk. I’m done trying to qualify and quantify. I am, always have been, and always will be a Writer.

 

 

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Speed Bumps November 30, 2011

Serious obstacles in my way these days. Rewriting this novel is turning out to be a much bigger project than I anticipated. I keep encountering speed bumps. I’ll be rolling along just fine then suddenly, something is in the way, I slow down to a crawl, try to ease my way forward, feel it out, but then I get stuck, sometimes even bottoming out, and it is taking me forever plus a sizable self-induced kick in the rear to get going again. Ugh. So frustrating.

I’ll take a cue from a classic I’ve been reading to my daughter: I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…

 

I’m Back! November 13, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — A French American Life @ 6:03 pm

It was a long and unintended hiatus, and I apologize. I don’t even want to think about all the writing I have not gotten done in the last couple months! We’ve had a lot going on – three weddings and a funeral. Sounds like a good story…. Also, a trip to Egypt, changes in jobs for both my husband and me, several trips out of town. I realized recently that we’ve spent a grand total of 5 weekends in San Diego since June. Including a couple of prolonged international trips, where we weren’t around for the weekdays either. Some of it has been fun, some of it has been heartbreaking, some of it bittersweet. But now, I’m back.

My creative writing was put on the backburner, then neglected so much that it slipped off the stove and to the floor, between the wall and the oven. Now I’m having to rock and wiggle the oven out of the way, squeeze my arm in there and feel around through all of the dust bunnies and nasty sticky things, searching for my inspiration and discipline.

If this sounds like an entry full of excuses, that’s true.

It’s been a challenge to try to be creative with all these life events. The last thing I’ve wanted to do is work on my novels or write in my blog. I have gone through 3 journals though, so I haven’t completely neglected my need for the written word. It has simply served a different purpose.

But now, I’m back on track. Thanks for your patience.

 

My First Blog May 27, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized,Writing — A French American Life @ 12:00 pm
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At the last two writers’ conferences I attended, I heard over and over again that to make it in today’s publishing world, a writer must have a “web presence.”  So, here I go!

I now have a website and my very own blog!  I find the prospect of blogging a bit intimidating – funny for a writer, perhaps, but I’m accustomed to writing, editing, re-editing, scrutinizing, editing some more, showing what I write to my husband and once he’s assured me that he loves me no matter what (and that what I’ve written is brilliant), it’s back to the drawing board to rip apart what I’ve written and begin again.  With a blog, publishing something is as easy as writing an email.  I could vomit on the page and, voila, send it out for the world to see!

But, alas, I must set aside my phobias and join the world wide web.

I’ll start with where I am in my writing career.  I, like many writers, have written all my life: journals, short stories, a few uncompleted novels.  I was always one who preferred writing a paper to taking an exam.  I’ve done a bit of technical writing, and some advertising copy.  But it’s creative writing that really gets my juices flowing.  I completed my second novel (the first is in a drawer) in April, and will soon start looking for an agent.  This part of the process is excruciating, because it is out of my control.  So, I’ve done the only thing I could do: I’ve begun another novel.

My goal is to post a blog two to three times a month.  Topics will be mainly writing related, but I’ll probably throw some traveling-related articles in as well!

For now, thank you for reading!

Carol