"My writing evolved from a childhood of reading books and living in my imagination. We all have access to imagination, and what we can accomplish in our lives comes from believing in ourselves." Lesley Strutt
I'm the daughter of architect James W. Strutt and writer/philosopher Audrey E. Lett. I grew up in the Gatineau hills surrounded by nature and steeped in conversations that were inspiring. From an early age I wanted to know how people communicate with each other - how does language work. I completed a PhD in linguistics at McGill University and pursued a career as a research administrator in the federal funding agencies and at the University of Ottawa, while teaching part-time.
I'm a published poet, novelist, essayist, and blogger. My passion for poetry began as a young child when my mum read us kids poetry as often as bedtime stories. My love of storytelling flourished because I grew up in a world filled with imagination and possibility. My mum would say, you can find every part of life in literature - it's where we examine our humanity.
Becoming a writer is not child’s play. It takes rigour, and practice, and a sturdy heart. You must be prepared to experience rejection and defeat over and over. But if you want to become a writer, and to be published (in other words, read by a considerable audience) you must be strong enough to get up and carry on as if nothing else matters.
Of course, everyone can be a writer in the sense that we can all write – for our family, for our friends, and for our writing pleasure. Writing a journal can be therapeutic and writing poetic musings and stories for friends and family can have its rewards.
But the world of professional writing asks everything of you, and more. It asks you to get up before work and write words you might discard at the end of day. It asks you to show it, unfinished, to multiple viewers and receive criticism. It asks you to eat, dream, and breathe it day and night until the “it” it wants to become, is born. And then it asks you to let it stand alone, exposed, vulnerable and to be seen. This can take years. You must learn to be patient and steady in your devotion to writing. It will ask only that – that you choose it and stay the course.
TIPS – take courses, talk to other writers, write often, read good writing, identify what you like and ask yourself “how do they do it?”, show your work to writers you respect, be open to criticism, be willing to learn and practice the craft, be willing to learn more and keep learning, be resilient, send your work out to publishing venues (magazines, e-zines, journals, calls for submissions), when you get rejected pay attention to the comments, learn from them, be determined, listen to the teachers you’ve chosen, hone your inner editor, never give up.
It takes time, persistence, and patience to build up a writing resume. You can do it, if you really want to.