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A Perfect Day for Writers

In one of the exercises in my "Getting Started as a Freelance Writer" workshop, I ask participants to describe what a "perfect day" would be like for them.

The responses are frequently tender, wistful and unfailingly vivid. Those who've taken my course write about waking up first thing in the morning, refreshed and filled with anticipation for what their "perfect day" holds in store. They paint lush and lovely surroundings with their words, serve up exquisite foods, and spend endearing or romantic time with loved ones. They describe feelings of peace and deep contentment, so often lacking in their day to day realities.

But what invariably surprises me is that these writers seldom include time to write in their "perfect day" narratives. Nor do they mention that such a day would include the thrill of opening their mailboxes to find acceptance letters or checks for something they've written. What I had thought would be an exercise that would enable workshop participants to visualize writing as an integral part of their lives, generally turns out to have nothing to do with writing whatsoever.

Not that I'm criticizing--there are no right or wrong responses to these writing exercises. I simply wonder whether placing such a low priority--or none at all--on writing as part of one's "perfect day" is a reason for lack of writing success. In other words, do people truly dream of being writers, or simply dream of what writing might bring them--fame, fortune, freedom--while skipping the process altogether?

The idea of being a published writer, or a six-figure income writer, is indeed glamorous. But make no mistake--writing is hard work for most of us. Rejections outpace acceptances, at least until we're very well established. Making a more-than-decent living from stringing words together takes extensive persistence, diligence, dedication and chutzpah. Moreover, you've got to love doing it.

I do a lot of writing during my vacations from my day job. All of my "perfect days" include stints at the keyboard, or filling page after page in a paper notebook when I'm far from home. As a matter of fact, I am on vacation as I write this. It's a stunning day outside, deliciously warm and gloriously sunny. I will venture out soon enough, to run errands and bask in the day's beauty. But right now, in front of my PC, I am perfectly content, my fingers clicking along the keys, putting black words onto a white screen.

Certainly my own perfect day scenario would include a beautiful and peaceful setting, excellent cuisine, time with John and my family, and the freedom and energy to volunteer my services to a worthy cause. But I believe that a "perfect day" for all writers must include writing. If it doesn't, how could it ever be perfect? And even in an imperfect world in an imperfect life, every day that I do at least a little bit of writing comes that much closer to perfection.

© 2004 Mary Anne Hahn

Mary Anne Hahn is editor of WriteSuccess, a free biweekly ezine of ideas, information and inspiration for writers. She is also building a Web site that hopes will someday be one of the best online resources for new and experienced writers alike. To check out her growing site and subscribe to her ezine visit http://writesuccess.com.

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