I just spent part of today in a redwood forest. I find forests inspiring; they have a hushed, holy feel. And this one with its undergrowth made me think of untouched wilderness. I always come away with a deep desire to write, to pour out my soul on the pages.
But as I stood there today, I was reminded of the writing process. The primal understory with its tangle of vines, the deep, fertile ground of subconscious. Those huge redwoods towering overhead grew from a tiny seed, and each one was different. Some had many branches and offshoots. Others went straight to the sky. So like the writing process that springs from a tiny seed buried deep in the subconscious and grows... and grows... Until like the towering redwood, it's large and impressive, awe-inspiring.
When we stand there and marvel at the trees, we often forget how long it took them to get to that height and all the hardships they endured along the way--droughts, fires, being overshadowed by other larger trees. Still, they persevered and lived through the pain, struggled to reach their heights. And so will we.
When I look at the Susquehanna Writers, I feel the same awe as I do in the forest. I knew many of them when they were struggling, unpublished writers. We were saplings together. Sharing the pain of rejections, the frustration of learning the craft, the struggle to find someone--anyone--who appreciated our work enough to take a chance. And now we've all arrived at the stage where we're published authors; most of us are multi-published.
At one time, we thought that was the goal, the be-all and end-all. Now we know, though, that like the redwoods, we still have much more growth ahead of us. We all continue to write and submit, of course, but now we're branching out with a new skill--marketing. Which means the growth process is ongoing. But someday soon we'll all be towering redwoods that inspire others.