Ready to Roar! By Nevada McPherson
Let’s welcome back monthly columnist Nevada McPherson as she shares with us “Ready to Roar!” Enjoy!
If you could give yourself a present for the holidays that would improve your life, your art and your relationships with others, what would it be? For me it would the gift of confidence! Having confidence in yourself as a writer and as an artist is crucial to your success and to your very survival in what can often seem to be an indifferent world. To have confidence in yourself is to appreciate and treasure your uniqueness and singular point of view that no one else in the world has.
I’ve written in earlier posts about how stories that you write may mean the world to someone, to remember that always and take strength from it. Remembering that especially during the holidays is important when well-meaning loved ones may question your reasons for pursuing your art. Others may encourage you in your endeavors so take the former with a grain of salt and take the latter to heart.
For others to value your work you must first give it value, so if you find yourself explaining too much or defending why you must write and create, take a breath, smile mysteriously, go warm yourself by the fire with a cup of cider and consider how you can incorporate all this into a story someday. As one of my all-time favorite writers, Garrison Keillor, once said on his radio show, A Prairie Home Companion, “There are no bad experiences for a writer; everything, everything is material.” Yes, it takes courage to put yourself out there in big ways, but courage builds confidence.
Self-confidence is important for anyone in any profession, but especially for artists and writers, who seek to forge images from their own imaginations, experiences, memories, angsts and joys into art on the canvas, page, screen, or in any other medium. You may already be making a fine living from your writing, or a respectable second income from your efforts, or you may be struggling to make ends meet as you fight for time to create in between your three part-time jobs, but as long you’re working at your craft—moving forward, getting better, taking chances–you have the right to call yourself a writer.
Take some time over the holidays to consider your writing goals for the upcoming year, and take at least one step each day to realize those goals. Baby-steps count, too! Even if you have a hectic daily schedule, you’ll maintain momentum by taking some kind of action, whether it’s adding a couple of pages to the rough draft of your novel (even a paragraph’s better than nothing!), another scene to your screenplay, or hitting the “send” button for an e-query. You’ll be so glad you did—and you’ll be inspired to keep going! Make yourself a writing calendar so that you can keep track of your goals and progress.
I’ve made a commitment to complete the serialized version of my new graphic novel, Queensgate, during the first third of the year, to write a new play, enter more screenwriting competitions, and to consistently post a new installment of my comic series, Fretville, each month. What will you put on your writing calendar? Set some realistic deadlines and do your best to meet them. It’s still okay if some things take longer, but a deadline gives you something to work toward, to look forward to, and completing those goals will be occasions to celebrate. Set your intentions for the glittering New Year ahead, and go forward with confidence—and joy!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Originally from Georgia, Nevada McPherson lived in New Orleans for many years and now lives with her husband Bill and rescue Chihuahua, Mitzi in Milledgeville, Georgia, where she is a professor of Humanities at Georgia Military College. Nevada received a BA in English/ Creative Writing and an MFA in Screenwriting from L.S.U. She’s written over a dozen feature-length screenplays, one short screenplay, a short play, short stories and two graphic novels, Uptowners and Piano Lessons.
For more information about Nevada and her projects, visit www.nevada-mcpherson.com.