Strategies for the Writing Life

I’m prepping for a workshop called Strategies for the Writing Life, set for Feb. 9, (see details under Workshops), and I came across an exercise we did–writing a eulogy for yourself, listing what you have accomplished as a writer by the time you die.

I chose to write mine in the voice of some unnamed friend, someone who knows me as well as I know myself. Here it is. You do it too!

My friend Marjorie is a writer with heart. She was smart when she was little–but she was so very shy. She was also the kid who brought home stray dogs, got bandaids for kids who were hurt, stood up against bullies, all the while quaking in her rain boots.

When she got older, she got fierce. She worked in mail rooms and construction sites with Navy guys and Italians. She worked in bars. She smoked cigarettes in self-defense, then quit and convinced her college to ban them from the classroom. She kept trying to be a writer, and over and over again people said it was not possible. She wouldn’t make any money. She stared at her jars of quarters from waitress tips and thought it had to be better than that. She kept trying. When her boss stole her words and put them under her own byline, she noticed that she was good at this, her work was valuable enough to be worthy of stealing. She noticed that NOBODY liked her boss. When she started writing sad little stories, they weren’t very good. But some people encouraged her. So she kept going. 

The first story she sent out won a prize. When, unable to keep herself from writing fiction, she turned and quit her day job, Sam was behind her all the way. She wanted to be like the writers who made her laugh and cry. She put her mind and heart to it. 

She published, in ever more obscure journals, until one day an editor read her work and tracked her down, gave her hope, and made her day.   


Well, the story does not end there, of course, my eulogizer left out my seven books and my Pulitzer prize yet to come. I noticed that the goals list I made two years ago has the three top items checked off now. Wow. I really did win a national honor for my second book. And I’m deep into revisions on a third.

Post your “writer eulogy” in the comments section! I’d love to see it.

Dream big. Keep working. Stay alive for a while and see what happens!

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