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Rae Hallstrom

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Member Since: Before 2003

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Blogs by Rae Hallstrom

Writing for your Life
5/22/2009 6:28:13 AM
What's normal? Do words fall from fingertips to keyboards without hesitation for other writers? Does anyone else have to work hard at this? Of course!
Have you ever picked up a dictionary and said to yourself, I know the right word is in there? Have you written and rewritten a single sentence five times? Flipped through a thesaurus and then had the word you want come to you, all by itself, like a gentle poltergeist with delusions of Daniel Webster?

That's because you're a writer. I know, you knew that. You did. You really did.

But why didn't that last freelance piece sell? Why didn't your story win the contest? Why can't you research the history of Englewood, New Jersey in 30 minutes and whip out a web piece in time to make the soccer match, bearing the children's halftime snacks? Could it mean you are not the language lover you thought you were? Could it mean you should hang it up and sell shoes instead?


Not that there's anything wrong with selling shoes.

Especially heels, in forty different colors, and nine kinds of stripes. Or athletic lace-ups that take the torture out of step aerobics. And those smooth-bottomed swing dancing treads. No, nothing wrong with shoes, or selling shoes, at all.

It's just that writing is what you do best. It defines you. It's who you are. And what you are experiencing is what all writers go through, the ones who care about their craft and keep on trying, that is.

Sure, it's hard to put yourself out there. You take it on the chin, all those rejections, all those pregnant essays floating around unpublished. But the simple fact is that nobody sells anything they don't send out. And nobody improves their work by slacking off.

You just have to pick yourself up, sit yourself down, and put a keyboard or a pen in your hand. You have to face the blank page and forge ahead. You have to be fearless. It's do or die. No choice. You have a Jones for the published word.

Besides, you can't be as bad as me. I have got to stop telling my friends the lame joke that the dictionary is my favorite book. But it's true, I'm hooked. I love the dictionary. I do. I have 12 of them, not counting the version on my word processor. OK, they're not all in English, but still. Twelve.

So I ask you, what's not to love? The dictionary has all the words in it, and they're spelled right. I can check five definitions and etymology and archaic uses. All the words I could ever want, in easy peasy alphabetical squeegee.

All I have to do is rearrange them. Jumble them up, like socks in the silverware. It's rather humbling, isn't it?

You'd think I could write as fast as I could say apple pie with cheddar cheese, now wouldn't you?

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More Blogs by Rae Hallstrom
•  Writing for your Life - Friday, May 22, 2009  
• Lathered, a writer's dilemma - Monday, April 07, 2008
• Rae's Take - Thursday, August 21, 2003
• Rae's Take - Thursday, August 21, 2003

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