Sunday, October 10, 2010

Dare to Be a Writer

I had the privilege of attending the American Fork Arts Council's Semi-annual Writers' Conference yesterday. Loved it. One of the presenters was Caleb Warnock. His opening speech was called "Dare to Be a Writer." Here are my notes from the talk:

Caleb asked for audience volunteers to come and play a concert on the piano and draw a masterpiece on paper that would sell for thousands of dollars. Of course, neither of these untrained participants could do it. After dismissing his helpers, Caleb explained the difference between liberty and freedom. He said those volunteers were at liberty to try and play a concert or create a masterpiece, but neither of them was free to do it because they were not trained. Freedom, he said, comes from hours of work. In terms of writing that means hours of work learning the craft of writing. He said (and I love this) that talent is naturally immature. He gave the following three steps to mature our talent as writers:

1. Learn to respect your talent. Acknowledge it. Call yourself a writer. Don't apologize.

2. Realize writers have a voice and a culture. You will have an influence over your readers and you cannot control how they will respond to your work. Some will love it. Some will hate it. They both will tell you.

3. Refuse to compare yourself to anyone else. Only compare yourself to yourself.

He went on to say write the book that only you can write. Train your talent. Stand your ground in the face of mounting pressures. Talent sticks around. Find a safe place to learn how to write. Surround yourself with people who are better than you and will tell you the truth. Invest in your talent. Don't be afraid. Send your work out and then immediately start a new project.


  1. Sounds like a wonderful speech. I'm glad you enjoyed the conference.

  2. Karen! Were you the one I talked to about braces??

  3. Good post, Karen! You're so lucky to have so many writer's groups and conferences so close to you!

  4. Taffy,

    Yep, that was me! Too bad we didn't make the connection while we were talking. They ran out of name tags before I got there--a little late.

    Kathlene, yes I am well situated for great resources.

  5. Warnock makes very good points. I have to work on the "comparing" advice. :-)