What are you searching for in your writing? That’s a question the best editors, writing coaches and our own instincts help each of us answer as we begin, develop, struggle with, angst over and complete – or set aside – our storytelling projects. In various ways, it is also the question at the heart of the articles and interviews in this issue of The Writer.
Most directly, contributor and writing teacher Linda Lappin takes on the quest narrative as a way to explore character, place and plot. She offers formats for understanding structure, exploring sacred space (real and imaginative) and digging into the themes that inform penetrating adventure stories, whether in The Odyssey, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows or Eat, Pray, Love.
Writing coach Don Fry takes the question to another level: Why can’t you finish what you start? His practical advice is a guide to identifying pitfalls and then forging ahead to get the job done. Writing is not, after all, for the weak of spirit. (Read the Twitter excerpts in this issue for further proof from the trenches.)
The good news, says Danielle Krysa, founding blogger at The Jealous Curator, is that you can set your creative potential free. Her book Creative Block, the subject of our Write Stuff column, is a compendium of insights from artists of all sorts responding to the questions: Would you ever give up on a piece? Do you ever equate self-worth with artistic success?
One of my favorite interviews in this issue is with poet Catherine Barnett in the micro feature Writers on Writing. In so few words – oh, to be a poet! – she captures the identity of a writer whose semi-conscious states can be informative, propelling and cosmic. Indeed, it’s all about the orbits you frequent and the orbits you light out to visit.
As you read these stories, we hope you will reflect on the reasons you write, the catalysts for your success and the ways in which learning about the process, success, advice and techniques of others can create a community of support for your work.
A friend of mine has a cogent way of encapsulating the bulk of long winter months in a list: January, February, March, March, March, April. March is a long month, but let’s use the time to consider our quest, to get cosmic (after all, this March marks the moment when Jupiter will reach its highest point in the sky for many years) and to get practical by finishing the work for which we care so passionately.