by Stephanie Suesan Smith on June 26, 2010

I read a variety of writer related blogs and newsletters. Christina Katz asked these questions in her The Prosperous Writer newsletter and dared everyone to answer them. Here goes:

So. Let’s talk about you. Have you been haunted by the talent ghost? Are you still waiting for it to possess your body so that others will proclaim you permanently brilliant? Or is it enough to just write? How will you persevere through the long silences and occasional showers of praise?

The talent ghost doesn’t live here. She has never even visited here. Dogged persistence, however, has moved in and made herself at home. In fact, I had to put the dogs on a diet because she sneaks them treats. To me, writing is a skill and as such, it can be learned through effort and repetition. Most people call that stubbornness. I have that down cold. My stubborn is stubborn. I just keep trying until I get it right. Do I get discouraged? Of course I do. Right now I am annoyed that a magazine I wrote an article for folded and I have to retrieve the article and find someplace else to put it. I will do just that, though. I guess some people would throw up their hands and give up, but I put a lot of work in that thing and it is going to find a home.

I cannot take credit for my stubbornness. Both parents are stubborn. My Dad loves me deeply and has always pushed me to keep going. He doesn’t give a lot of praise, though. Excellent is what you are supposed to do, so why praise for it? So long silences are good — I am doing what I am supposed to. Praise comes in the form of a paycheck — if someone buys my story they liked it better than whatever else was available. That said, I do not refuse praise. Effusive praise makes me think you want something and I get nervous. Why do I write? I can’t not write. If I can channel that need into a place that brings in the groceries, that is what I will do. I would write even if I never sold another word. It is a compulsion inside that pushes the words out. I am just grateful I can make a sale with the words that ooze out more or less constantly, like magna under great pressure.

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