I write stories I love.
I connect with the readers who love my work.
I joyfully trade my time and creative ability for payment from those who love what I create.
I take steps each day to live my dream and make it real.
I am a writer.

This is the latest and possibly final version of The Writer’s Creed that Holly Lisle and a number of her students have been fine-tuning over the past week or so.

A couple of students suggested that we each write our own version of the Creed, one that works for us as individuals.

I liked that idea.

One suggested that “all of us working at this magnificent dream should put it on our web sites, too–with Holly’s name at the end, to give credit where it’s due.”

I like this idea, too.

Which is why I’m doing both.

I like the idea of a creed.  It’s not something I’d ever thought of before.

My dream has always taken a back seat during the school year. This year I vowed to myself that it would be different–but it hasn’t been. I’ve written barely a word in seven weeks. Not coincidentally, my semester is in its seventh week.

It may seem ironic that this is precisely why the fourth line of this version of the creed works especially well for me: “I take steps each day to live my dream and make it real.”

I don’t. Or anyway, I haven’t been, not for the past several weeks.  When I’m working, I work.  I don’t write.  As those who follow this blog know, I haven’t even written much here, and certainly not according to the schedule I’d envisioned.

Holly’s Creed reminds me that I made a commitment to myself.   It reminds me that the dream is waiting, that it’s been waiting for forty-five years, that I’m not going to live forever, and that I don’t want to die without having finished, and without having published, this composite novel that I’ve already been working on for far too many years.  It reminds me that the stories contained in this novel, the stories I’ve already written, are not the only stories I have in me.

I promised myself this summer that I would no longer limit my writing only to summer and winter breaks, that I would find a way to write during the semester as well.  But I haven’t written a thing in weeks.

So this is not just a creed.  It’s a motivator.  A reminder.  And to me, an imperative.

It appears here in this post, and in one form or another—my own version—it will also find a permanent home elsewhere on this blog.  And I’m not just going to put it up on my website. I’m going to tape it to my bathroom mirror.

I confess, though, that I am a bit uncomfortable with the payment part.  It’s hard at this point for me to imagine being paid for my writing, or to imagine even including any mention of payment in my Creed.  But one day this book and other stories will be available for sale.  And I will accept payment for them with gratitude, and probably a certain degree of amazement, a la Sally Field (“You like me!  You really like me!”).

But in any event, here is my creed:

I am a writer.
I write stories I love.
I strive to connect with readers who will also love my work.
I will receive payment for that work with humility and gratitude.
I will take steps each day—not just during summer and winter breaks—to make my dream a reality.

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Are you a writer?  Do you have a creed?