Charity Singleton Craig has been and continues to be a gift to me and to my life as a writer. What joy and delight to discover her words here include a reference to an online workshop (which she lead with Ann Kroeker. Those twelve women and twelve weeks significantly impacted my writing life. Welcome my friend, Charity. She is a jewel. And so are her words and her newly published book (order it on Amazon for the writer friends in your life.)
As I held a copy of On Being A Writer in my hands for the first time, I thought about all the years of hard work that culminated in this book. The stories told, the lessons learned, even the words on the page: these were born out of struggle and perserverance. Books aren’t born easily, I’ve learned. Just as lives aren’t lived easily, either.
But as I ran my fingers over the smooth cover and flipped through the tight, crisp pages my prevailing thought turned on this one word: gratitude. On Being A Writer is a gift.
Not in the logistical sense, of course. This book began with a contract and has become a commodity, something you can buy on Amazon, a product we sell at events. Publishers, editors, printers, bookstores, authors: we will all recognize some small profit from these words on the page.
But the process of seeing an idea come to life, the investment of friends and colleagues nurturing a project that began with a “what if?” in an email: that is a gift.
The twelve women in twelve weeks who workshopped together over the book’s central themes and in the process helped form it: that is a gift.
The excitement of family and friends, readers and colleagues celebrating the launch of this singular book into a world already full of ideas: that is a gift.
Working with a co-author whose experience and perspective turned vague ideas into specific stories with practical application for readers: that is a gift.
The support of a husband who joined his story to my story that ended up as our story on the printed page: that is a gift.
The remarkable thing about this book, however, is that the gift didn’t end at publication. When people buy the book and read it, that is a gift, too, of course. But even the conversations that result from talking with people about their writing lives, from engaging writers of all levels about a life of words, that, too, is the gift this book keeps on giving, even if the transaction is less financial and more relational.
As we enter the gift-giving season, what gifts of words can you give? How can your words become the gift that keeps on giving?
When you pay your restaurant bill, leave a big tip and write a big compliment right on the check.
When you head to a holiday party, wrap a note of appreciation around that bottle of wine you present to the hostess.
When you check off your children’s wish list, write your own Christmas list of the hopes you wish for them.
When you mail out your Christmas cards, write blessings and poems and knock knock jokes along with your name.
And when you are shopping for something to wrap and place under the tree, think books, magazine and newspaper subscriptions, and bookstore gift cards.
Because though words can hurt and maim and paralyze, words can also bring healing and hope and life. And I want my words – the ones spoken as well as the ones written – to be a gift to those who hear and read.
Charity Singleton Craig is a writer, bringing words to life through essays, stories, blog posts, and books. She is the coauthor of On Being A Writer (T.S. Poetry Press, October 2014), and she has contributed essays to three books, including Letters to Me: Conversations with a Younger Self. She is regularly published at various venues, including The Curator, where she is a staff writer; The High Calling, where she is a content and copy editor; and TweetSpeak Poetry, where she is a contributing writrs. She lives with her husband and three step-sons in central Indiana. You can find her online at charitysingletoncraig.com, on Twitter @charityscraig and on Facebook.