Friday, December 18, 2015

A Christmas Wish (or six)

Shannon Dittemore is the author of the Angel Eyes trilogy. She has an overactive imagination and a passion for truth. Her lifelong journey to combine the two is responsible for a stint at Portland Bible College, performances with local theater companies, and a love of all things literary. When she isn’t writing, she spends her days with her husband, Matt, imagining things unseen and chasing their two children around their home in Northern California. To connect with Shan, check out her website, FB, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest.

My house is full of Christmas already. Yours?

I know not everyone celebrates Christmas in the same way and some of you may not celebrate Christmas at all, but as we round out 2015, I find myself wishing all sorts of things for the young writers that surround me.

For you, dear writer, I hope that writing will always be a source of joy. Not happiness necessarily because happiness can be a flighty thing and most always our writing requires more out of us than flighty emotions. And so while you may delve into dungeons of despair and hot fiery hells, while your writing might allow you to soar into adventures of peril, I hope that those moments--locked away in your writing cave--bring you a deep sense of satisfaction. A joy only the teller of stories can ever know.

And for you, young wordsmith, I wish you words upon words. That they would arrive in your soul in various states of dress--with their definitions firmly attached or begging to be understood. That you would open fictions and sift through histories to find shimmering arrangements of letters that will brighten your collection. Don't adopt the habits of an old gent though, collecting coins only to lock them away behind glass. Display your word collection proudly, first this way and then that. Take them out and use them for everyday living, will you? Play with them and turn them on your tongue. And for certain, write them on paper. Shape them in ways that make you smile or cringe or cry out in agony.

And please, please share them.

To those who worry about it all. About your voice and the time and the commitment and the craft, I pray you find another soul who understands. A creative heart you can depend on to inspire and motivate, to listen and truly hear how the worry feels inside your bones. I wish you the pleasure of being the answer to another creative soul's whispered prayer and I hope your writing is enriched by the conversations the two of you are certain to have.

To the ambitious crazy man inside your chest, the one who bangs against your ribs with his little fists and shouts about relevance and career paths and the talentless peons excelling in your place--yes, for the crazy man inside all of us, I wish a year of silence. Silence so that you can relish the words all around you, the stories waiting to be plucked from the air. Silence so you can converse with the slightly less crazy characters who desperately want to sit you down and tell you of the mischief they've got planned.

To those wondering if you'll ever know anything worth telling, worth sharing, worth writing, I say this: live. I wish you the kind of journeys you have to take with your own two feet. The kind that take place outside of stories. I wish you bravery in the face of the monsters and boldness when your voice is necessary. And I wish you would not worry so about mattering. You matter. Your voice matters. Some stories take longer to tell than others. Let the words steep inside you, like a good strong tea. When they're ready, when you've collected enough of the right ones, the sentences won't be so hard to come by.

And to the teenager who only has a handful of years to be a teenager (yes, you!), I hope the stories you're writing will enhance your youth and not keep you from it. Beware the heroes and heroines that steal you away from your own adventures for too long. You have stories inside your skin that must be lived. This next year, go live them.

Have you any writerly wishes, my friends? 
Anything you're hoping for that can't be tucked into a stocking?

44 comments:

  1. Every time I read one of your posts I come away amazed. You have such a beautiful way with words, Mrs. Dittemore.

    I'm wishing to have the right plot come to me for a new story idea I'm super excited about. I want to start writing it in the New Year, but you know plots. Ya can't rush 'em. I'm also wishing that some agent would find my currently querying novel irresistible, because I just can't imagine leaving these characters and their world for another. I believe in these guys more than I ever have in other novels I've written.

    Thanks so much for the encouragement, Mrs. Dittemore. :)

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    1. <3 Be encouraged, friend! I wish so many of the same things you do! For good plots and a smile at my submission and for the characters I've crafted so carefully to attract just the right support. I wish you luck with all your wishes this year!

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  2. Wow. This was an amazing post. Thank you so much, Mrs. Dittemore. I really needed this right now.

    I wish to have the perseverance to stick with the series I am currently writing. Soon it will be a year I have stayed with this particular one, which is the longest I have ever worked on a WIP. So many other story ideas keep popping up, drawing my energies and brain power away from the series. I don't want to leave the series. I only wish I will be able to stick with it.

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    1. Oh, how I understand this! I worked on a story (a single novel) for 13 months solid before sending it to my agent. I totally understand, but that story just took a while to come together. Don't lose heart!

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  3. Such a good post. I'm not a teen writer anymore (feeling 22, over here), but it made me feel all happy inside anyway. Thank you for the beautiful words. :)

    Ashley

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    1. Hugs! There's a teen writer in all of us, I think. I feel it more intensely some days than others.

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  4. Such a sweet post. I'm no longer a teenage writer at twenty but I still feel a lot like I did as a teen writer, insecure and certain the beauty of the story in my head will never fully come out on paper.

    Thank you for your words! No, writing does not always bring me happiness but it certainly does bring me joy. I don't know what I'd do if all the words and stories I have had to stay inside me.

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    1. It's that smoosh of insecurity and certainty that does it, right? That makes all of us feel like a teen writer sometimes. I'm so glad you find joy in the writing. I hope it's always so for you.

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  5. "You have stories inside your skin that must be lived." So beautiful. And such a great reminder, friend. You're a blessing to us all!

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    1. I could ramble forever about the blessing you've been to me. I CANNOT WAIT to see what next year has in store for you and your stories. Love you, friend.

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  6. Such a great post. I became thirteen only a few months back, and I've been struggling to find something worth writing. This is truly sage advice. Thank you so much! Happy holidays!

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    1. Sage! I don't know that I've ever given sage advice before! Maybe I'm growing up! ;)

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  7. Thanks so much for this post. At fifteen, I'm right in the middle of my teenage years, and still struggling to find my writing style, voice, genre, characters... It's so hard to form plots sometimes!
    I wish that next year I could pick up my NaNo story, which I still care for, and yet am letting sit in a sad state of plot-holes, give it a good ending, and edit it into something worth reading. (And, yes, this is my first time editing a full novel.)
    This is an excellent post, and one that a lot of teens, near-teens, and adults need.

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    1. You inspire me, my dear! Promise me you'll have a few adventures of your own as you work on your story!

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    2. Likewise. xP
      Okay, I'll try. xD Merry Christmas, Mrs. Dittemore!

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  8. I feel like this was for me, especially the last two paragraphs.
    Thank you for this; it was exactly what I needed.

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  9. I wish...I wish I could go back to writing. I've been on GTW for over a year now, but it was only this past March that I set down my (metaphorical) pen and took a break. I've had story ideas come and go, but after the first thousand words, I can't get them out and I have no more drive to write stories.

    I still think this is what I was made to do...I just need to wait. 2015, for me, was a waiting year.

    Thank you.

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    1. OOOOHHH I so know! ME TOO! I'll be posting about this on my personal blog in the coming days. SO MUCH WAITING.

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    2. Yes... I understand this. It hasn't stretched out for so long with me, but there was a period where I couldn't write anything. I'd maybe write 500 words at the most, and then wouldn't be able to force any more...
      I finally got out of my writing rut by writing every day, writing different things. I used the prompts in the book Writing Magic.

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    3. You know, Rachel, this was me this year too. I'm so glad it's not just me. <3 We can wait together, friend, and let those words steep.

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  10. Some of this is advice I need to hear. Thank you.

    Kelsey

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  11. Such wonderful wishes! Thank you for the inspiration and motivation I need. Have a blessed Christmas season.

    God bless, Anne Marie :)

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  12. Thank you!!!
    Thank you for the post and the wonderful things you would like to give each of us. I hope that you, too, find the things you need for the coming year. :)

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  13. Merry Christmas and thank you! I think that just about covered it! (Except I do want to go to a writers conference and pitch in May :D Still saving for that one :D)
    Thanks again!
    Emma
    Mylifeisinsane1.blogspot.com

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    1. I need to hit a conference or two this next year as well. Fingers crossed, yes?

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  14. This is beautiful! I really needed to read this:)
    God bless you and Merry Christmas!

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    1. I'm so glad. And a Merry Christmas to you, Megan!!!

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  15. This is beautiful, I loved reading it!
    As for a present ... well, if someone could wrap up a literary agent for me, I'd be pretty pleased to open THAT on Christmas morning :D.
    Merry Christmas, Mrs. Dittemore! Thank you so much for posting here at GTW and giving us such good advice and encouragement!
    ~Savannah Perran

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    1. Literary agents REALLY resist being wrapped. I don't know why. ;) Merry Christmas to you too, Savannah!

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  16. The only thing I want that can't be tucked into a stocking is for my brain tumors to be gone so I can focus on living my life the way I want to.

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    1. I just prayed for you, Sada. :-)

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    2. Oh Sada! I'm praying for you right now! For healing and peace and joy and the best Christmas ever.

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  17. The thing I want that can't be tucked into a stocking is a transporter to use to visit my two older siblings who can't come for Christmas this year. Unfortunately, transporters are a bit hard to come by now-days.

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  18. Cute post. Mustve been feeling a little sentimental when you wrote it, am I right?

    Yeah, I'm the worrier and I so know what you mean about the crazy man in your chest:)

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  19. This is beautiful!!!! I'm printing this off and putting it up on my wall.

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