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Our guest today is Paula S. Zwenger. Paula is a wife, mother, and grandmother who, upon finding herself an empty nester, tried on the hat of rhyme loving writer. It fitted very well. Her joy manifests completely while taking the ups and downs of life and wrangling them into poetry. She has a passion for creating rhymed treasure hunts with a Catholic flare to celebrate the faith and learn a thing or two along the way. You can find her musings at RhymeLovingWriter. You can also connect with her on Facebook.
From Paula…I sat in a quiet kitchen one week after our youngest son moved into his college dorm room thinking, “This is it. I’m finally going to do something I’ve talked about for years. I’m going to start writing.”
And I did. For nearly two hours that afternoon, interrupted by numerous side stops to check Facebook or email each time a notification bell dinged, three games of Sudoku plus the daily crossword puzzle online, and two trips to the refrigerator for tea, I wrote. No inkling at all remains of work produced that day, but I was on the path.
In the intervening two years I’ve moved in fits and starts from being a closet poet to a fairly consistent rhyming blogger. The way has been enhanced by on-line writing classes with Metropolitan Community College (MCC), two WordSowers conferences and several monthly meetings, countless hours of internet research, and being part of a writing community. The sheer amount of information available is staggering, but digestible in small bits. Even in these early stages I’ve learned valuable things.
Be not afraid. This is easier said than done some days. Fear of getting things wrong and looking foolish often slows me. But not trying guarantees I won’t succeed and every ‘failure’ holds a lesson.
Speak the words “I’m a writer.” Aloud. This took me a long time. I’d produced two to five pieces of poetry daily for months and created numerous rhymed treasure hunts for family and friends. Yet when people asked what I did I’d stutter, “I’m thinking about writing.” I wasn’t thinking about anything. I was doing it! Because my work hadn’t been sold, or wasn’t in book format, it somehow didn’t count. The first time I actually said the words, I waited for the sky to fall or a gigantic finger to point out my mistake. Guess what? No one blinked or laughed and I’m still breathing. Tada!
Write something every day. This was easy at first because words burst from pen to paper. Eight months later things slowed down. Now once in awhile it feels like work (gasp!), and that’s OK.
There is no one perfect path. Do you write the book first? Start a website? Attend a conference? Join WordSowers? Yes, yes, yes, and yes – in whatever order works for you.
At the most recent WordSowers conference in April, I learned many more great tips. I’m practicing them as I write this post. You can read more about what I learned here.
Finally, because I write in rhyme, I’d like to leave you this little ditty:
If you have tips to share with all, we beg you, don’t be shy.
There’ll never be a better time to tell another why
it’s worth the work and sweat and toil to write the words He sends.
When sown for love of Him who saves – the story never ends.
Do you remember the moment when you
finally called yourself a writer?
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