A Writer Sees Red

From time to time, this blog looks at something about writing, which can sometimes be as much of a spiritual practice as meditation or prayer or labyrinth-walking.

Writing, though, is usually more intentional than many other spiritual practices. Part of the intentionality is how deliberate the writer must be about word choice and image choice.

Just in case you don’t believe that, here is a short and somewhat playful demonstration:

“Her face reddened” means one thing. (Has she been caught in a lie?)

“Her eyes reddened” means something altogether different. (Is she sad, or about to cry?)

“Her hair reddened” is a whole other thing. (Only her hair dresser knows for sure.) And “her ears reddened” is another shift in meaning. (Likely embarrassed about something — or possibly just caught out in the cold without earmuffs.) Yet, all of these are about redness occurring on the head.

We also talk about “red-handed,” which means something different from “her hands were red.” And a business might be “in the red” but might be saved by a “red-letter day.”

The English language offers so much meaning, often layers of it. It is a gift to find a writer who knows the depth of what’s possible with our language and how to employ it artfully.


Who’s an Author?

Rob Eagar posted a “Monday Morning Tip” this morning making the claim that there is no such thing as an author. Sort of a provocative way to start a workweek for us writers! Here is an encapsulating line from his post: “It’s not the act of writing that makes someone an author. It’s the act of someone else buying what you wrote.” Okay, that’s pretty provocative too.

It appears to be a reality of publishing today – regardless of the route by which your writing reaches print – that writers have to do their own marketing. This is viewed as daunting to most of us, but for some of us, it’s a world of promise. It hearkens back to the words of wisdom most of us heard repeatedly in our youth: “if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.” I don’t mean that major publishing houses can’t do marketing well; just that these days they tend to devote their marketing funds to already established writers.

Maintaining regular spiritual practices can help with the marketing process in more ways than one. First, of course, staying deeply in tune with your spirituality fosters a state of calm for approaching the task. Second, spending regular time in silence helps to clarify in your mind avenues that will be helpful to you and those unlikely to be. Third, and probably most important, frequent prayer keeps you connected with the knowledge that you do not have to go it alone.

So, move forward in marketing what you have written, and become an author – by Rob Eagar’s definition or anyone else’s.