By Bruce Stambaugh
I attended a writing conference recently, an opportunity I always enjoy. Mingling with a group of fellow writers has its definite rewards.
The assembled participants and workshop presenters represented a typical cross section of the global populous. That’s as it should be.
The attendees ranged from teens to octogenarians. Men and women, short and tall, round and thin, assertive and shy, professional and novice, poets and novelists, suits and dresses, jeans and leggings, dreads and bald like me gathered for one purpose. They wanted to learn about writing.
Writers attend conferences to grasp new ideas, to share their stories, to gain confidence, courage, and knowledge about the craft. Presenters enable that to happen.
Often at conferences like this one, papers are presented, and awards proclaimed for various categories. There appeared to be no sore losers, only happy winners, and supportive family, friends and audience.
I marvel at how many people both write and want to write. I feel honored to be among them.
Now and then when I am out and about, someone thanks me for a piece I have written. They mention how much the column or article meant to them. I kindly thank them and walk away fulfilled. It doesn’t take much to make a writer’s day.
It happened at this conference, too. Two different ladies thanked me for my writing. One even said she cuts out each column and saves them. I smiled as humbly as I could.
I am also often asked how I come up with something to write about week in and week out. I always answer, “It’s easy really. Every day is a new day full of astonishing moments and opportunities.” It’s my charge to note and share in words what I uncover.
As a writer, I look for things, for activities and experiences that interest me, that I think might interest my readers. The truth is, though, that the process is much, much harder than that.
It’s difficult because I can be selfish, stubborn, silly, serious, prone to mistakes, omissions, too attuned to other sensory activities as I interact with others, with nature, and with myself. I am human. Just ask my loving wife and family.
However, I sometimes miss the obvious. Then I obsess.
I strive to write what is on my heart or what I have observed or experienced, hoping that at least some of my readers might identify with my subject. I do so because I know not everyone can or cares to write.
I am not the best writer in the world. I just want to write the best I can. I know I am not always successful in that endeavor.
A writer friend of mine, a nationally syndicated columnist, once gave me some excellent advice when I struggled to find my written voice. She said, “Write what finds you.” And so I try.
I wait and watch and pray for what finds me. When the words do come, I write for me. I write for you.
Writing is both easy and hard. I hope you find both joy and hope in the words you read. Nothing satisfies a writer more than knowing their written words have touched someone in a personal way.
I am grateful to be published. I am grateful for faithful readers, too. That’s the deep, dark secret in making a hard task easy.
© Bruce Stambaugh 2015