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Fountain of Literature

An honest writer may reach for his or her pen with the same glimmer of hope as a child reaching for confections. One word may spill into another until a harmless novel is inspired, a movement, a poem which captivates the imagination. Indeed, to harness the power of words is merely a human endeavor, to make a bold statement is divine.

Over the past several years I have worked hard to stamp out an existence as a freelance writer – to prove I can harvest my words as well as the next professional scribe. I have never applied for writing positions or pretend to know the golden rules for grammar. It doesn’t really matter to me, because the views I express are free and from the heart.

While an editor may play fancy with words and inflection, the true intent of writing is to communicate a basic theme with readers, to illustrate a point in far simpler terms that many cannot express.

Regardless of whether you’re writing fiction or hard journalism, your message must be articulate, sharp and sincere. In order for your words to open minds, your literature must have a clear objective and purpose, a climate for which to place those words, and ultimately an audience who understands your content… hopefully.

That being said, this process is not always cut and dry. Editors may not always agree with your final point, and readers may yawn indifferently at the desperate crop of words you’ve planted. While writing can be a therapeutic exercise for some, it can also serve as a heartbreaking love affair filled with a wide spectrum of emotions, to include anxiety.

It doesn’t matter if your poem is based on some puffy cloud you witnessed at sunset or that your article hits the jugular of a deep political vein. If your readers are bored, if they are not moved by your fountain of literature, then you must re-examine your place in the guild. You may want to explore a new approach, because once a writer becomes formulaic or predictable, then you may as well consider a new venue altogether, like technical writing which doesn’t require much creativity.

While failure will always remain a difficult pill to swallow, I would suggest that not everyone is cut out for this special craft. As well, even the most hardened veterans of the industry can take their lumps; extended periods of time without work, working for peanuts, or even working for free. There’s nothing wrong with this. It happens to published authors, experienced journalists and various other professionals on the editorial side. It’s the nature of the beast.

Let’s not even explore the starving reality for critical poets and philosophers; their tanks may always run on empty.

The only suggestion I can recommend is to put aside your expectations and ego. Even for those who have been striking the keys for decades, the more you write, the more you push your words and passion, the more blood you will get from that stone. Never marginalize yourself or compare your talents to others. As soon as you lose your creative compass in the hot pursuit of success, then I would suggest you stop typing immediately and find a nice pasture to take a nap.

Always write for love before money. If you are honest with your passion, if you sprinkle every element of your character and soul into those finite words, the industry will always find a way to take care of you. The key is believing in your gift and nourishing it with faith.

Be honest with your heart and dig deep, because the world still needs writers, and your message will always be important…

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Aaron Towle
Aaron Towlehttp://www.repdigest.com/
Aaron Towle is a Multimedia Artist living in Green Cove Springs, FL. He proudly served in the military as a journalist and now works as a developer in the Defense Contracting Industry. He is passionate about art, literature, and photography and looks to continue building his credentials as a professional writer. He currently produces an online publication called Reprehensible Digest, which explores the subtle dynamics between art and literature.

28 COMMENTS

  1. Happy New Year, Aaron! Simply put you wrote what was is true. I write for the love of writing and hopefully touching some people. Writing for a living would be a nice dream to come true that could easily become a nightmare with Editors, Proofreaders and alike all putting their “paw prints” all over something that came from my heart and soul. Have a great 2020!

  2. Aaron, when I share my children’s books with young students at their schools and encourage them to write, they frequently ask, “But what if nobody likes it?”

    My answer is always the same: “Write anyway. And write for yourself first. The rest will take care of itself.”

    As you put it, “Never marginalize yourself or compare your talents to others [or] lose your creative compass in the hot pursuit of success.”

    Amen to that, my friend. And thank you for it.

    • Thanks Mark. I think too many writers have that grand illusion of being the next big thing. I don’t bother with that mentality because it forces me to cater my thinking toward the hip and trendy. That is the very last thing I ever want to be known as… a trendster. Yuck! Anyways, we write what we want and worry about consequences later. Editors can kiss my brass, which is probably why I’ll always remain an independent scribe. I’m simply too old to be told…

      • Like you, Aaron, I’m loath to encounter the editor with no regard for subtlety, inflection, nuance. As Henry Miller called it in a quote I once shared with you, those folks diminish “the miracle of personality”.

  3. “Put aside your expectations and ego.” Oh my, yes. Because you will be kicked to the curb again and again. Aaron, this is excellent, and like all your work, heartfelt. A must-read for newbie scribes and veterans, alike. Thank you for writing.

    • Sherry, if fit makes you feel better, I haven’t earned a single red cent for anything I’ve written in my life… ONLY when I was an Army journalist, way back when I was a young whipper-snapper. Unfortunately I was too stupid to turn that skill into a formidable career because I was too busy drinking beer and trying to get… well you know… chasing wabbits… Let’s just say graphic design hasn’t fulfilled my career expectations. So at 43 I am trying to make up for lost time as a writer, with no grand illusions that I’ll ever draw a healthy paycheck for my bits of Scrabble. I hold my breath for nothing in this life, not when it comes to job dependency…

  4. Aaron I agree wholeheartedly. I love the journey writing has taking me on over the years. There have been times when I have felt isolated and rejected coming from my ego but my joy remains consistent when I stay in my heart.

    • Thank you Helen, that’s a kind thing to share. I believe writing is a life-long journey of introspection for many people, a way to separate ourselves from our daily actions and evaluate what is truly going on within. Introspection is not always simple, but writing is in many ways a therapeutic exercise that helps us get to the bottom of our feelings on certain things. I would only suggest that you never put your pen down, as there is always something important waiting to emerge. Best wishes to you and have a blessed weekend!

  5. I’m with you and Tom all the way. I’ve never made a penny with my writing. Years back this used to irk me, yet the passion invariably won. Although I am not convinced that ‘the industry will always find a way to take care of you’, I am adamant about the vital need to keep on fine-tuning and go down unchartered territory.

    One comment I’d like to add about journalists is that I would love to see them fired by a sense of integrity rather than pander despite their inevitable political affiliation, which I respect even though I may disagree or outright shun.

    Thank you, Aaron, for sharing.

    • Thank you Noemi, I was a military journalist in my past life, and I learned many valuable lessons about not writing content out of your element. That career sadly never continued after I left the Army as I chose to go in a different direction as a graphic artist. Nearly 20 years later I realized what was missing in my life. I’m almost 44 and I don’t hold my breath for some divine writing position. I’m past the point of naïveté, but I still have plenty of important opinions and knowledge that I can still share with aspiring writers. My pencil is still quite sharp and I can spin a good yarn with the best… Needless to say I had too many bumps and bruises along the way to be silent. On a side note, I must say that not all journalists are bad. I agree that many should be fired based on their unfiltered bias, but that’s a discussion for another day. We live in a different time where truth means so many different things to so many different people. It’s hard to separate fact from fiction in the internet age. Until such time I will stick to writing abstract prose… Best wishes to you!

    • Noemi, I can appreciate your experience and I can’t help but wonder why such talented writers like you and Aaron (and me) cannot find monetary reward for a special gift that surely does more to make the world a better place. I struggled for years trying to make a living with this talent but finally made peace with the reality at this time. The wonderful thing though is that my writing has gotten better and my vision is clearer. We plant seeds that we may not see grow in our lifetimes, but these dots of light help the world far more than we can ever realize. I am so grateful for this community and the ability to share with people who appreciate the written word. Continue to write from your heart because your writing is divine and I enjoy reading every word.

      • Thank you for those kind words Helen. Writing truly is a gift, and whether we earn a living through our craft or simply write for fun is irrelevant. Our job is to change hearts and minds, to aim the arrow directly at the heart of what we stand for. Sometimes people may disagree or criticize, but we stand by our words and forge our destiny despite the obstacles. We are writers, this is our calling, and we are bound by our words…

      • I too am ever so grateful for this community of wonderful writers who give balm to the soul and you are certainly one of them. My vision too is clearer, which I attribute to life’s very bumpy journey. Thank you ever so much for your appreciation and support.

  6. Thank you for this encouragement and reminder, Aaron. I have written to earn degrees. I write because I must. Writing became a celebration of the voice I lost a thousand times a thousand. Writing from the heart, from the still point deep in the core of me continues to be a joy, a humble action in love and service to any who can receive the words, the love swirling around the words, the humanity exposed. I have surrendered to the the Divine/the Universe/God, the Great Divine Feminine/Masculine Goddess, a higher power, that seems to allow me to be the unfurled garden hose.

    • Thank you so much for those lovely and inspiring words Laura. Fore many years I kept my head buried in the sand until one day I decided to post a few thoughts on LinkedIn. What I discovered was an audience of receptive readers who accepted my point of view. It gave me the few grains of confidence I needed to start writing more. It had been more than 15 years since I took writing seriously as a profession. I finally realized the special ingredient that had been missing in my heart all those years. All I can say is that you can change hearts and minds by expressing your feelings with words. We write because we love to do it, but we also write because it matters… the message simply must get out! You have a lovely weekend my friend. I look forward to reading your next article. Stay blessed 🙏

  7. I always like the line from the movie “5 to 7,” and I’m paraphrasing “Sometimes the very best writing is that which is written for an audience of one.” For me, that audience is often times me. It’s that thing that won’t let you sleep or think of anything else until you unleash it from your brain. And most of the time, it’s worth sharing. It doesn’t have to be “War and Peace” or the Gettysburg Address, it just has to matter to you, or someone… It doesn’t matter if it resonates or not or if it falls flat or becomes a best seller. Many times, for me, it’s much better to “have written” than to go through the process of writing. Writing can be difficult, even painful at times. Sometimes it achieves the desired catharsis, and sometimes it doesn’t do anything. Sometimes I get clarity, sometimes I just add another layer of confusion. It’s not about the result as much as it about asking and answering the questions that take you from start to finish. Maybe it’s about writing the one thing that asks another set of questions that also need to be answered.

    “Be honest with your heart and dig deep, because the world still needs writers, and your message will always be important…” and there is the rub – because what we have to say, each one of us, can only be said by each one of us. No one else can say what you’re thinking, and the world definitely needs to hear that.

    Thank you Aaron, I loved all of this, and am glad that you put this together. All the best to you on your journey, and always.

    • A thoughtful and great response Tom, thank you for taking the time. I have discovered that writing is more than just a process. For me, it is the will to exercise my thoughts and emotions, to sort out the good from the bad. As you stated, it doesn’t always resonate with others. It is a uniquely personal experience and a life-long journey of introspection. I feel blessed to be able to articulate such things, and even more so when people understand what I’m trying to express. With that knowledge comes the understanding that I must be courteous and respectful. I try to encourage others and inspire them, not to be insulting and slanderous. Sometimes our judgment is off and we write things we regret, but for the most part it is our responsibility to improve humanity through the written word… Anyway, you have a great weekend my friend, hope to read your next article soon…

  8. Thank you for this beautifully written article. Writing is very personal, and the way to become more expressive as you eloquently indicated is to keep going. In my humble opinion, writing is an exercise of mind and creativity. The more you exercise a muscle the more chiseled it becomes. If we are dedicated to our craft, we must remind ourselves of that. Look what eventually happens to the transformation of a lump of coal, a shining and sparkling unique stone like no other. Again, I appreciate this as well as your other articles.💖

    • Thank you Darlene, I left a nice response to this on LinkedIn, but I agree with everything you’re saying. It takes patience to chisel that stone, and a lot of confidence to harvest those words in a manner everyone can accept…

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