Hello Readers (and Potential Writers),
I am sharing this with you because so many of you want to become professional writers. The point? To encourage you to stick with it. Write. Take the knocks. Write. Bounce back from rejection slips. Write. Get feedback from other writers. Write. Take courses. Write. Heed the advice of savvy editors. Write. Most of all, apply your derrière to the seat of the chair and stay there and WRITE!
I have always said I’d like to make friends of my readers. More and more, month by month, reader’s letters expressing affection, friendship, and (like the one below) just plain admiration for the usefulness of my books, have been landing in my mailboxes.
Obviously, it’s a treat knowing people like to read my books. I know I can be funny and folks enjoy humor. I also think I’m a pretty good writer by now. At first, I hated every word I wrote and thought it all sounded puerile and dull. “Nobody would want to read this!” I would snarl at myself as I crumpled another page (typewriter days) and tossed it into the fireplace.
But nowadays—twenty-five years later—thanks to my well-developed affection for drudgery and the earnest admiration of my enthusiastic readers, I have begun to believe I can write well. Big leap for me in the self confidence department. And all thanks to you, my devoted fans and readers of all ages, sizes, colors nationalities and beliefs. You come from everywhere on the planet: India, Malaysia, Japan, China, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, UK, France, Rumania, Bulgaria, Germany, Netherlands, Scandinavia, Canada, and of course the USA. As I said, I always wanted my readers to be my friends. But I never expected to be lucky enough to have so many, varied good friends. It’s exhilarating! Thrilling!
Today, I will post one of the many letters I have received—just so you can share my joy at having gone from being an insecure, beginning scribbler to a pro who actually gets laudatory letters from readers. My advice? If you are a beginning writer, stick with it. Accept criticism from editors who know their stuff. Take courses. Get feedback. Little by little you will improve. Then, one day, you may write an article or an essay. Then of course you will graduate to wanting to write books. Becoming a published author is a long and often discouraging road. But I don’t regret a single pebble in my shoe on that arduous path. It was worth it. Adversity teaches us such valuable lessons.
For that alone, I am grateful.
Here’s one of today’s (sept 2, 2009) heartwarming letters:
Thank you, thank you, a million times thank you! Your books New Chinese Astrology and The New Astrology have been invaluable tools in helping me deal with all of my relationships for almost five years now. My mother (Pisces/Dog) and I bumped heads constantly and I now understand why; I have adapted my style of dealing with her to cut down on the drama when we’re together. I use it to facilitate communication between my fourteen-year-old daughter and I. I have learned how to deal with people at work and other relationships.
I feel as though I am sneaking around inside of people’s heads … this is my secret weapon, a weapon used for good though! I truly love helping people, (I teach English to immigrants) and I think that having compassion and an understanding for individuals is key to providing help and developing meaningful relationships. These books are and will always be a part of my teaching tool-kit.