Category Archives: Rachel Burkholder
I generally don’t read nonfiction. It is not that I find it boring (though I’ll be honest, I used to), I just don’t have as much time to read as I once did and when I have time to read I want to be entertained. I want fantasy and escapism. (Does this make me a shallow person? I hope not.)
Anyway, I had a delightful moment while shopping at Christmas where I was just browsing the books at a local B&N waiting for other people to finish their shopping, and I came across a book that looked interesting. I picked it up and started reading. I was laughing before I knew it. I turned to my sister because I had to share the awesomeness that I had just discovered, and she turned to me as well, desperately wanting to share the awesomeness that she had just discovered, and we showed each other the same book. Yes!
It was Mindy Kaling’s new book: Is Everybody Hanging Out Without Me? and other concerns.
As a good sister, I bought the book for my sister for Christmas. She returned the favor by allowing me to borrow said book.
I’ve been enjoying Mindy’s quips as much as I did that day in B&N. She is naturally witty and is full of hilarious anecdotes about her attempts at success. Since she has a New York Times Bestseller book, it is obvious that she has achieved success, and she has some delightful insights into that as well.
But what struck me was her attitude about failure and her eventual success. She was inspiring through her failings, through her bad luck, and her accidental achievement. She worked hard, lived in the scarier parts of town, but always maintained her confidence. I suffer from discouragement. Since I write by inspiration, I become melancholy when things don’t go my way. But even in her lonely times, Mindy knew her talent, knew her goals, and knew where she wanted to be. She worked long hours, hard hours, fought with her co-workers as she strove for excellence in her writing. She was honing her skills.
Honing one’s talent is difficult. We’ve met those people who can play sports or are whizzes at math, or who can read a book in a day. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have to work to actually succeed. Pro athletes, for all the grief we give them about not actually working, still have to train, in and out of season. They cannot sit on the couch and eat Doritos. Like the athlete who works out everyday, the writer must write everyday.
Mindy and her roommate/best friend spent hours writing together, rehearsing comedy sketches and talking about their craft. I must say having a cheerleader or friendly critic is one of the best ways to start honing your craft. Here at LHP, we are each other’s cheerleaders and critics. We read each other’s stories, we edit them, we share our ideas and harass the slackers. But it all started out of our friend’s living room. Every other Friday night we’d get together and read sections from stuff we were/are working on. For me it was the first time I shared my writing with anyone. It was scary. That first story was terrible. I got better, as my friends challenged me and took what I had and encouraged me to make it better.
Happy Writing! Happy Reading!
*An alternate title to Mindy Kaling’s book. She has a marvelous list. Somehow it seemed to work here.