Pink blossom, Ballastone Inn, Savannah, Georgia.
My Aug. 26, 2006 poem Monster of Mayhem explores my feelings about doubt. But since I wrote that poem, I am kinder to myself. I studiously ignore the naysayers around me who fret about whether or not I'm doing enough - simply because they are not allowed to read my work-in-progress. I concentrate much of my energies on writing, while expanding my horizons. New doors have opened and windows of opportunity have been created. My focus has shifted, but I remain focused, with deadlines and challenges that only I can meet. And I simply don't have time to entertain that inner critic or those worriers around me who don't understand the writing process.
I am my own worst critic and I know persistence is key - following an inner vision that burns like a steady flame, driving me onwards. I must keep writing every single day, even if only a few words or thoughts scribbled in a notebook. When not writing, often I'm thinking about writing - working out various scenarios in my head. So when the critics appear - real or internal - I dismiss them. I tell them to just go away, because I am too busy creating to listen. As the Tao Te Ching says, "Care about people's approval and you will be their prisoner." Of course it is impossible not to care about people's approval. But I can't let others dictate what and how I write, lest my work suffer.
As for the internal editor, that's another matter entirely. That editor tells me what to keep; what to toss that might distract from the storyline - or what might work better elsewhere. That editor helps hold my attention to the subject at hand, rather than splinter off on unnecessary tangents. Every writer needs two good editors - both the inner editor and an external one who can view one's work objectively. The old saying "two heads are better than one" particularly resonates when it comes to writing. Sometimes an editor sees something the writer has missed - or suggests a point that needs expanding or a situation requiring further explanation. Often the collaboration between a writer and editor is what makes the stories flow.
Ingrid Betancourt rescued!
And here's a real-life story that's hard to beat for pathos and drama: French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt and three Americans held hostage by FARC rebels have been rescued! Colombian authorities say no one was injured in today's mission.
As FARC's highest-profile hostage for more than six years, Betancourt is said to have serious health problems. The French government has made securing her release a priority, with President Sarkozy stressing the urgency for Betancourt to receive medical treatment. Tonight Betancourt's son Lorenzo Delloye-Betancourt, told the Associated Press in Paris that his mother's release was "if true, the most beautiful news of my life."