Monday, March 24, 2014
Guest Blog by Author Sheri Lewis Wohl
A lonely world…or is it?
For so many of us who embrace the writing life, loneliness has been a long-time companion. One we are comfortable with and often embrace. We started as readers, tucked away in the living room, book in hand, tuning out family and friends. Or, under the covers of our beds, flashlight trained on the pages of the book we couldn’t put down until we’d read the very last word. All because we were caught up in worlds that took us away from the life we lived day to day. Stories of adventure and bravery made us believe in things like magic, love, and forgiveness.
For me, that’s exactly the way it was. Through books the world me around blossomed and grew by leaps and bounds. Inside the pages of books like Rebecca, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and Fahrenheit 451, my world expanded immeasurably. And then somewhere along the line books written by others could no longer tame my growing imagination and I began to put down words of my own. It started slowly. Nothing so grand as a novel. No, it started with poetry that found its way into a magazine. Then short stories. Finally, it was time to make the leap. My first novel was born.
The introvert who preferred solitude to companionship had to get brave. After years of hiding behind books and even behind my own written words, I had to find the strength to let the novel go. So I did. And I failed. Miserably.
It would have been easy to let it go and put forth the sentiment, “at least I tried.” But had I really? The answer, even when hiding in my own lonely world was: NO. Yes, I’d been rejected and yes, the writing left a lot to be desired, but how many of those writers whose works I adored had been through the same experience? Reluctantly I had to admit that the answer was probably most of them. So, I tried again.
I failed again.
And then I tried some more. Along the way I learned and with each successive word, I learned a little more. One day, a letter came. With it came my expectation of yet another rejection. Except, it wasn’t. With that letter, my life changed. I was no longer an aspiring novelist. I was to be a published writer. What I never saw coming was how the shy little girl who read nearly every book in her grade school library was no longer lonely. Writing had given me something more than the joy of creating imaginary worlds and the satisfaction of learning I could succeed. It gave me friends. Many, many friends from other writers to editors to readers. Earnest Hemingway once said “writing, at its best, is a lonely life.” I always thought he was right, but that’s not the way it turned out for me. Writing opened up more than imaginary realms; it opened up my real world and let in friends from around the world. Loneliness might be the hallmark of a writer, but friendship is the reward.
Sheri Lewis Wohl
Check out Sheri Lewis Wohl's vampire romances from Bold Strokes Books