Thursday, July 22, 2010

My Writing Life by Elizabeth Maxim, Guest Blogger

I first had the pleasure of meeting Elizabeth Maxim at an event sponsored by Northern Colorado Writers. Intrigued by her book on how we can overcome the effects of Electro-Magnetic Field (EMF) exposure, I was pleased when she accepted my invitation to submit a guest post.

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My Writing Life by Elizabeth Maxim


The path to becoming a published author has been long and adventurous, complete with switchbacks and rough terrain. But, like most challenging hikes, it has been filled with beautiful wonders I would never have experienced if I’d quit when the going got tough.

I was three years old when I declared to my parents that I was going to be a writer, and although I later worked in technology and then became a holistic doctor, I never quit working on that original dream. As I grew into my identity as a writer, my focus morphed from short stories to poetry, to novels, and most recently, to nonfiction.

I cherished small victories, such as winning my first writing contest and seeing my name in print in a small, independent publication. As Melchizedek, the king in The Alchemist advised, I paid attention to the omens which seemed to appear whenever I most needed encouragement.

I learned to ignore the negative.

When I was a freshman in college, I told my advisor that I was studying technology but I wanted to be a writer. He replied, “Yeah, and my son wants to be in a rock and roll band. I told him to get a real job first.”

I wrinkled my brow at his insensitive response and realized that such encounters actually strengthen our resolve. Far from being a deterrent, his remark motivated me to succeed as a writer. Over the years, anytime that conversation came to mind, I would reflect instead on what my Writ/Lit teacher wrote in my yearbook: “Waiting to read your first book.”

Well, I am about to see that book become available to the public, and I would like to provide a few suggestions to those who are making their own way down the path to published author.

Surround yourself with people who will support your dream, not try to step on it. Choose your cheerleading squad carefully and know that they don’t necessarily have to be other writers, just positive and supportive. You want people who will cheer you on and encourage you, not just through the good days but also through the dark and scary ones when you feel lost.

Join a writer’s group. These people are often traveling the same road and can provide wonderful support and encouragement along the way. Don’t just join the first one you find. You want to make sure the group you become a part of is a good fit. My experience has been that the more diversity in the group, the better. It can get boring if everyone is working on the same kind of project.

I would also suggest getting a business card with your name and the words Writer or Author. It will help you get used to your identity as a writer and will give you a sense of pride whenever you hand it out.

And remember. You’re a writer, not when you’re published, but from the moment you put your thoughts down.

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Thank you again, Elizabeth, for joining us today.

Riding the Waves will be available soon on ebook and in paperback, so watch Elizabeth's website for release date announcements.

To learn a little more about Elizabeth's work and her book, read her post on Diagnosing, Treating, and Living With EMF Sensitivity and What is EMF Sensitivity? Information on her background and education is available at her website.

9 comments:

Ann Best said...

As writers, we need "positive and supportive" feedback. This is what I needed to hear this morning. Thank you, Elizabeth, for an interesting and helpful post, and thank you, Pat, for guesting her.

Margot Kinberg said...

Patricia - Thanks for hosting Elizabeth.

Elizabeth - Thanks for sharing your journey to becoming a writer. I couldn't agree with you more about the vital importance of surrounding oneself with supportive people who will be "in your corner." I know that for me, there is no way I could even conceive of writing without my "cheering squad." : ). Nor could I without the help, advice and support of the other writers I've come to know, like and admire in my online writing community.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Ann and Margot, you are so right. I've found the best help and moral support from other writers in my own town. But as I branched out, I found the same kind of cooperation and made new friends at conferences, and through blogs and other social media. My circle of friends has grown so much.

Carol Kilgore said...

It took me a while to realize I was supposed to write down all the stories in my head. Slow learner. Other writers are great!

Linda L. Henk said...

I certainly agree with finding a supportive arena for creative efforts. Thanks, Elizabeth and Pat and all you "common-taters." What keeps us going is the commonality of this writing process.

Stephen Tremp said...

I've never heard the term Electro-Magnetic Field (EMF) exposure, but I do agree with surrounding yourself with positive people. Some of the best advice I ever received was, "Choose your friends carefully."

Stephen Tremp

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Thanks for inviting Eloizabeth, amost interesting read and enjoyable.

Yvonne,

Elizabeth Maxim said...

Thank you, everyone, for your comments. Stephen, EMF Sensitivity is sensitivity to electromagnetic frequencies. You can learn more about this condition and the upcoming book by visiting my website. Have a great day! Elizabeth

Cricket McRae said...

Ignoring the negative is key! And I like your business card advice. The first time I said "I'm a writer," was when the Canadian border patrol asked my profession. It's always stayed with me as a turning point.

Thanks for sharing your story, Elizabeth. Going to check out your website now.
Hearth Cricket