Jan 22 Written by 

Who Will Help Me?

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Lately I've been consulting horoscopes and swamis, praying to God and wearing crystals, wishing and hoping in all sorts of ways that my writing efforts will soon bring me success. I have just put in five hours on a writing project. I'm surely working hard, can't be faulted on that.

I stopped and looked out the window and thought, "Who will help me?"

The answer I won't accept anymore is, "Nobody will help you; you'll have to work even harder and do it all yourself." Believing in the lone-writer-in-the-tower, man-against-the-world myth almost cost me my sanity. If you believe in it, it can cost you yours. One may write alone, but one can never succeed alone. A writer needs friends, editors, a publisher, and readers, just to get started. Ideally a writer also has a good teacher or a writing group. Then a writer wants acclaim, reviews, invitations, grants, prizes, and opportunities, and those come only through other people.

Well, I've been acting as if I don't know that.

Did I ever tell anybody what my current project is? About nine people know, and those are folks I can't hide it from. It's 95 percent done and I've only let one person read the whole thing.

And the project that follows that one? It's about half done. Two people know about it.

Should I tell more people? But I want to keep these secret! Why?
1. So no one will steal my ideas. And then give them better life than I can. And then get the success that should be mine.
2. In case these projects fail, I won't be embarrassed when I'm asked, "Whatever happened to that thing you were working on?"
3. I'm ashamed in case someone will think these are selfish projects.

Sheesh! What idiotic thinking! Nobody wants to steal from me. These projects won't fail. And calling a writer "selfish" is an old trick to keep the writer from writing. But nobody has actually called me selfish. I'm only worried that they will. Sheesh!

If people don't know what I'm working on because I'm hiding it, how can they encourage me? How can they help me?

They can't!

It's as if I've painted over my own window and am wondering why I can't see the view!
Catherine Rankovic

Writer, with 30+ years' writing and publishing experience, 20+ years' teaching experience. Last book read: Mrs. Lincoln by Catherine Clinton.

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