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January 2013

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You Might Need a Myra

Long ago, in a rental house a few miles from here, a young(er) picture book writer was having doubts.  She had been encouraged to try her hand at novel writing -- but novels seemed so LONG, so complicated, so impossible.

Long ago, in another house clear on the opposite coast, an even younger writer was bubbling up with language and story and brilliant voice.  She, too, was a picture book writer.  Her name was (is) Myra.  And she was one of those encouraging her friend to write a novel.

The two struck a deal.  Every Friday they would exchange words.  Not a lot.  Nothing daunting.  Five hundred words.  They made a vow.  A pact. A blood oath (sans blood).

And they kept it.

It was that oath that kept them both writing -- even when the task seemed impossible.  The younger writer produced some awesome picture books, a young chapter book, and a few other delights.  The older writer produced a manuscript that would become A Crooked Kind of Perfect.  The older writer knows she could not have written that book without Myra expecting those 500 words every week.

So, here's what I'm asking you now:  Is there a book you want to write?  A challenge you want to face? Something important you want to put on paper, but have been procrastinating about?  You might need a Myra.

Right now, I'm being a Myra to a writer I greatly admire.  She's well published and brilliant -- but there was something getting in the way of the words landing on the page.  (Have you felt this?  Maybe you have written and rewritten the first seven pages of that novel but can't get farther?  Or you've got just one more bit of research to do first?)  Every week, this writer is sending me 500 words.  "Dear Myra," she says, "here you go."

As a Myra, my only job is to read those words and say: YAY!  Keep Going! -- just like my Myra did for me.  This is not a critique gig.  Not a coaching thing.  It's easy -- and delightful.  I get to enjoy this novel as it emerges. YAY!  Keep Going! Is easy to say -- because I want to read more! 

So, could you use a Myra?
Can you be a Myra to someone else?

Tomorrow, a super treat.  Myra's picture book, Charlotte Jane Battles Bedtime.  Want to win one?  Meet me here tomorrow for your chance.

Meanwhile, think about this:  would you write differently if you knew someone was waiting to read your words?  Could you use a Myra?  Could you be a Myra to someone else?


I have a Myra. I will tell you about her in an email.
This is brilliant. Thank you!
You're welcome. I'm always happy to share the awesomeness that is Myra.
Oh yes, I need Myra. And I can't wait to see her book!

Kudos to both of you for being there for each other and now passing it forward. That is just plain wonderful.
The book is out! You can get it at Powell's! And Myra will be at Wordstock, too, if you want to see her.
Yes, I need a Myra. Or a Myron.


I'm sure either will do. :)
Oops! That was me.
I love this idea and congrats to Myra!
A fabulous post and a wonderful happy story! I'm lucky to have my Myra in two fab people - Cindy Faughnan and Jo Knowles. :) And your post is timely because as I make my way through FINDING WATER by Julia Cameron -this week's lesson focuses on finding support in your art.
Hope you Myras are having a grand time. I'm enjoying your Cameron posts.
Aw thanks! I so can't wait to read your newest novel!