Sunday, June 05, 2011

On Courage

Sometimes we take for granted the courage that it takes to put words on paper day after day, month after month, year after year.

But then a writer like Leslea Newman will share her thoughts on the courage to write and remind us of the important role that courage plays in the writing process.

The author of more than sixty books for children and adults, including Heather Has Two Mommies, A Letter to Harvey Milk, Nobody’s Mother, The Reluctant Daughter, and Out of the Closet And Nothing To Wear, Newman is a poet, novelist, and children's book author who has written courageously about her life and life-style choices. She has received numerous honors for her work, among them the James Baldwin Award for Cultural Achievement, the Highlights for Children Fiction Writing Award, poetry fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and more.

Here’s what she says about courage in a recent interview that I found in the May/Summer, 2011 issue of The Writer’s Chronicle:
I want to get back to the theme of courage–because at the beginning of this interview I said I don’t really think of myself as a courageous person, but why I think you need courage as a writer is that at every step of the way you need the courage to believe you have something to say, you need the courage to make this a priority in your life, because often there are the other people saying you need to get a job, or why are you wasting your time, or whoever’s voice is in your head, so you need courage for that.
And this:
You need the courage to show your writing to someone else, whether it’s people in your writing group, or your spouse, or a potential agent, or a potential magazine editor. So then, you need the courage to keep going when your writing is turned down, as it probably will be–I don’t know any writer who hasn’t had that experience.
And this:
And then, you need the courage once it’s accepted to put it out in the world, and hear what people think of it, you’ll need the courage to live through bad reviews, most likely, or tepid reviews, you’ll need the courage to stand up to people who disagree with you, you’ll need courage in the face of offending people–-every step of the way, you’ll need the inner core of strength, or what we say in Hebrew, "koach" to get you through.
You can find more information about Newman and her work at her website: Link

For more interviews on writing, take a look at The Writer's Chronicle:

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