If someone who aims to be a "writer" can find enough models, I keep thinking she can learn enough to succeed at it. Today I read an essay by Liz Flaherty that combined the offer of that hope with the usual sense that I could never do that. So now it occurs to me that maybe we should be careful not so much what we read and wish for, but how we read it.
It's so hard not to let the admiration overwhelm the determination to learn how to do what Liz has done. This comment doesn't apply to fiction for the simple reason that (at least in my case) we tend to be so much better at writing one kind or style of story than others. I couldn't craft a good who-dunnit for all the tea in China. Nonfiction is so much more elastic, and so much more self revelatory. That's where we ought to be able to find opportunities to emulate, to steal ideas and approaches and adapt them, and even to learn to add humor.
Liz Flaherty is a romance writer. She is also so talented an essayist it makes me wonder how she decides where to put her energies. And there's another word of real significance: energy. As time rushes by, no one gets more of it. Any secrets on how to preserve and enhance the drive and strength to keep at what we love should be shared! (I don't include the usual health article instructions.) Whatever spiritual and/or emotional spurs could be shared, couldn't they?