Thank you for having me today…to discuss, “Does writing define who you are?”
Another author asked that question the other day and it puzzled me. My first thought was, no, I’m Joyce Henderson, I happen to write books. Still, it is a dilemma when you consider how writers react to certain things.
Many think, all I do is write. I don’t exercise like I should. My kids are threatened within an inch of life to not disturb be when my office door is closed. We don’t do much socializing. When I’m facing a deadline, my husband knows not to disturb me. He’s such a jewel, he makes dinner and entertains the kids. Still, does all or some of that define who you are?
When we see friends or relatives, one of the opening gambits is, “When is your next book coming out?” Or in conversation, “I know an author!” Does that mean in her mind I’m a writer, period? Does she think of me as me? She might say, “My friend Joyce writes novels.”
Working writers can’t evade rejection, after rejection, after… Well, you get the idea. Even writers who can now claim to be authors because they’ve sold books are rejected by editors who bought prior work. Why? I don’t know other than an editor may know more about trends than the author writing what s/he loves.
How do we take rejection? I’d say most if not all react on a personal level, even though we are told, “It’s nothing personal.” Right. Tell that to the writer or author who just opened a rejection letter. Nothing could be more personal than the evil retribution that seethes into the writer’s creative mind. LOL
After one of the milder desires to kick that editor or agent in the patootie, the writer thinks, Just wait till I sell this wonderful story to another publisher and it becomes a bestseller! Or the writer seeks consolation from other writers. “I got a rejection from so ‘n’ so.” How many writers can truly say they haven’t uttered those exact words? Or when trying to console the down-in-the-mouth writer, the other says. “Oh, I’ve been rejected by just about all the NY publishers.”
Did you notice the pronoun, I? “I was rejected…” Trust me. That’s what immediately pops to the minds of 99.9 percent of writers and authors. Unless you leaped into this world with pen in hand, or tiny fingers on a keyboard, you are YOU. You may write books, you may write for newspapers or magazines, but without the sum of who you are as a person, you couldn’t write the first word.
Don’t you always think, Lovely-Lila is an author. Mark Do-right is a doctor. It doesn’t make sense the other way. Author is Lovely-Lila. Doctor is Mark Do-right. Did you notice my bio? I write what I know. Actually, I write what I’ve learned or enjoyed doing over my lifetime. Without those experiences, without studying, without ongoing research that I can get lost in, I couldn’t write word one of what I love to write.
So, how would you answer the question: Does writing define who we are? Taking it further: does laying bricks define who you are if you happen to be a bricklayer? Does guarding prisoners define a person as only a prison guard?
At a young age I chose to get married and be a wife, then a mother, and those two things are still a part of me. I’ve done office work, accounting, ran my own business and managed others, worked with my husband in his business. I’ve owned and rode horses, farmed avocados and several citrus fruits, bought a few houses, drive a car, danced on stage, swam on a swim team.
So, to answer the question: Does writing define who I am? I rather think I am the sum of loving many people and being loved, of enjoying how I’ve spent my days, of the memories and friends I cherish, and presently I, Joyce Henderson, have chosen to write novels.
Again, my thanks for allowing me to share my thoughts at LASR.
Please check out my latest release, Capture an Eagle.
Joyce Henderson is a multi-published author who writes Native American Romance set in Central Texas where she was born. Joyce writes “what she knows,” horses and ranching, and she loves researching Indian lore. Her work has finalled in national contests: National Readers’ Choice Award, Georgia Romance Writers’ Maggie, and several others. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America, Southwest Florida Romance Writers, Published Authors Special Interest Chapter, Florida Romance Writers, and Novelist, Inc.
Joyce loves to hear from her fans. www.joycehendersonauthor.com
Two years in an Eastern boarding school haven’t tamed Mariah Kelly. She returns home to Texas as tempestuous as ever, still clinging to a forbidden desire for her brother’s best friend. But the insufferably rude man doesn’t know she cares for him, and she’s not about to tell him.
Silver Eagle has longed for Mariah half his life, but if her father knew, he’d banish the young brave from working at the Broken Spur. Mariah can never know he yearns to possess her as his own.
When Silver Eagle is faced with possible prison for a crime he didn’t commit, can he and Mariah find true love in a society that believes a union between a white woman and an Indian man can never be?
Or will Mariah risk all to have her heart’s desire and…Capture an Eagle.