by Molly Jo Realy @MollyJoRealy
I like watching DVDs with commentaries. I’ll watch a complete season of TV on DVD and then start from the beginning to watch the episodes with commentaries. I love to hear the “behind the scenes”: what the writers wanted, how the directors portrayed the vision, what the actors brought to the table.
I just love the details of who, where, when, what, why, and how.
Sometimes as a creative writer, I feel the need to explain myself: why I wrote what I wrote; point out some cute little insights that the reader might not pick up on. Most of the time, my writing stands on its own but sometimes, I’d like to share my own “behind the scenes”.
I’ve fought against sharing too much, keeping it instead inside me, or in the pages of my journals… just waiting for someone to ask, “What were you thinking/feeling when you wrote that?” But with a limited readership, not too many ask. When I offer, the response is overwhelmingly welcoming and supportive. “Oh! That makes sense!” or “I’ll re-read it now.” So it can’t be all bad to share some background.
As it happened last week, I was glancing at a Louis L’Amour book I don’t yet have (but is definitely on my wishlist!), and saw that he often added Author’s Notes behind his short stories. It was as if the clouds cleared and I could see the mountain I had already half-climbed. If Louis L’Amour, a great, detailed, descriptive writer who brought the wild west into our hearts and homes so easily, felt the need to add notes, then surely, it was okay for me to do the same!
Starting next week, I’ll be posting “Author’s Notes”. Maybe once a month, maybe once a week. But rest assured that shortly after a creative writing post, I’ll delve a little more deeply into the details, the backstory. The commentaries. I’ll also post a tab on the home page, with links to the Notes, and those notes will have the link to the original creative work. It sounds like a rabbit trail, doesn’t it? Don’t worry. I’ll leave a trail of bread crumbs.
It’s as though Louis came into my writing room, turned the light on, and gave me permission to keep doing what I’m doing. Only this time, with a bigger goal: an audience. And that’s incredibly exciting. And intimidating.
I’ve also hesitated in putting too much effort into submitting my “ready works” ~ those short stories and whatnot that are finished and ready to go. What am I so afraid of?! There are about a buzillion excuses, but no good reason.
What is it I’m always telling Dot? “Fear is never a reason to not do something.” Well, yeah, but… we’re talking about entry fees. And red-lines. And rejections. And, not being good enough… I mean, those are legitimate concerns!
Flashback to several years ago when I discovered the beauty of Max Lucado. Actually, my mom discovered him for me. For Easter, 2006, she gave me this great little book: Mocha with Max. It’s a fantastic little collection of short inspirational reads.
Since my writing epiphany two weeks ago (which really was more of a conscious realization of what everyone around me already knew!), I’ve been taken with Max’s writings as well. Page 103, an excerpt from his book, “A Love Worth Giving”. He gives an example of hope, endurance, patience. From a writer’s point of view.
I often think of that story when I feel … afraid. Despondent. Rejected. And I think, if Max can persevere, so can I. If Louis can share a backstory, so can I.
And if they can be published, and accepted…
So can I.
But it won’t be handed to me on a silver platter. I have to work for it. I have to hone my vocabulary; be willing to expose myself to editors and critics. And I have to put myself out there.
But they did it. So guess what.
So. Will. I.