Thursday, September 03, 2009

Writer, How Hungry are You?



In the last two months, I've learned a good deal about hunger, a concept I knew very little about. I've always eaten from the brain. Head hunger. It's time to eat. I could eat. I feel like eating.

Now I am trying to listen to my stomach and let it tell me when to eat. It's a whole new world.

In learning about this, I discovered there are five levels of hunger:

Starving
Hungry
Satisfied
Full
Overfull

As I've been contemplating this, it occured to me that these levels fit writers and their desires along the writing journey.

I've been in the "writing world" for about three years now. What a wonderful place to grow and learn and live! It's become obvious to me that each writer is at a different place in this world.

I've met Starving Writers. This folks are wonderful in that they can talk about writing and books all day. But they also can be annoying. In their hunger, they often speed around in a marketing race car. They carry their business cards everywhere and often give them out just for the possibility of a connection that will further their goal. Starving writers are wonderful to take to lunch because the conversation is always interesting. But in a group, they tend to thrust their own marketing opportunities into conversation, even when it's not appropriate. (And yes, I have been a starving writer.)

Hungry Writers are fabulous people. Most writers I've met fall into this category. They want to learn about the business and they write not just for publication, but also to learn the craft. Hungry writers ask the best questions. In a group setting they are delightful because their eyes get wide often, either from dreaming or being inspired. (I believe today I am a hungry writer.)

Satisfied Writers are that lot of folks who don't necessarily NEED to be published again or even the first time. They write for the simple joy of writing. I love to be with satisfied writers. They often remind me that contentment in Jesus is the most important thing. Sometimes they just know their priorites, and publication is not one of them. OR they have a regular gig writing and in finding their niche, they are completely satisfied. (I find myself in this category in the summertime when I'm with Noah.)

Full Writers are ones who've just gotten a contract and are busy working to its fulfillment. And theirs. They are often writing mentors, at least the best ones are. Having found success they look for ways to help other writers - the hungry or starving especially. (I'm on my way.)

Overfull writers are those souls who just don't have time. Deadlines are approaching and they just can't seem to keep up with all the demands. They sequester themselves often to acquire that single-minded focus needed to finish. They have the experience to tell hungry writers that publication is not the end all of everything. Hungry writers smile but do not believe them. (Someday, Lord Jesus!)

Writers go through these stages consistently. I can be starving today and satisfied tomorrow. Often I'm satisfied in the summer. Noah is home and I know he is my priority. But fall comes and he goes off to school and hunger pains begin. My stomach growls for a new story, a new article to submit. Overfull writers can find a place of completion and suddenly they're starving for a new challenge.

My point is this: We are all in different phases. God has a plan and a desire for each of us, despite where we are on the hunger chart. Accepting each other, where we are, is the way to love other writers. This realization has helped me considerably in my expectations. See, if I sit down with a full writer and I am starving, I sometimes resent his/her lack of ambition and drive for the next publication. If I am hungry and talk to an overfull writer, sometimes I feel jealousy for their success.

Resentment and jealousy are thrown out of the equation if I remember that we are all individuals, in unique positions. Not every writer wants the accomplishment I WANT today. I don't want what other writers desire.

God works that way. And He is GOOD. When He created the starving, hungry, satisfied, full and overfull writers He said, "It is good. It's all good!"

6 comments:

Chris Richards said...

Wow, great article, Robbie. It really touched me as I sit here dealing with the first day of a new food diet and relaxing because just submitted a piece in an international writing contest. So, where am I on the hunger scale?

Robbie Iobst said...

Chris, you sound satisfied! At least with writing, maybe not the new diet. :0) Congrats on submitting!!! You go girl!

Need More Words said...

Thanks for the chart and for letting us know that we will bounce around on that chart.
Robbie, you so inspire me with your writing. When I grow up I want to be like you.
Tee hee. :D

Cheryl Barker said...

Great thoughts, Robbie. And love your attitude of just giving others the grace to be where they are while we may be at a different spot ourselves...

smithsk said...

I never thought of writing this way, Robbie. Thanks.
Susan

Jan Parrish said...

Great article, Robbie. I expect to see this in a magazine sometime.