Monday, August 11, 2008

Forging Ahead

I heard a word yesterday that just resonated so loudly in me that I had to write it down.


A forge is a place where metal or iron is worked by heating and hammering. Or, "to forge" means to move steadily ahead as well as to create by beating and working iron or steel by fire and intense heat. In Greek mythology, Hephaestus--Birmingham natives may know him best as Vulcan--was the god of blacksmithing or metalworking.

Writers--true writers, whether published or not--are forged, created by the intense heat of rejection, fear, seemingly insurmountable odds and self-doubt. The fire is sometimes so hot, you want to break under the pressure, but instead you're molded, made stronger. And like a shapeless mass of metal that enters the fire, when you emerge on the other side, you're a new creature. A new work that isn't easily cracked or bent. But, it's only by moving steadily forward--or forging ahead--can you emerge.

It's interesting to me that Hephaestus, the god of blacksmithing was the only ugly god in Greek mythology. I may be going a little too deep here, but forging is an ugly process. It's sweaty, laborious, often dark and sometimes painful. Drawing--sometimes dragging--something out of yourself, shaping and perfecting's not pretty, but the reward is worth every bead of sweat, every curse, every tear.

There was one more definition the dictionary didn't list under "forge"...

Victory. There's victory in moving forward and not retreating or even standing still. There's victory in just going through the fire when others are too scared to even enter it. Every writer who refuses to give up after the rejection notices or presses through writer's block or continues to write, not settling for that first, second or third sale is victorious.

We're forged.


Christy Reece said...

Well said, Naima!

Karen Beeching said...

I agree.

I did the "forge" thing Sunday. I told my husband I was going to write all day. I sat in front of the blank screen for a good two hours before I typed something more than a header.

He asked later if I'd made any progress. I told him I had a brain cramp and only managed to write 5 pages.

He said, "At least you kept going. That's a good start."

Forging ahead...

Julie J. said...


What a fantastic blog! Yes, we are forged by our defeats and victories. I never really thought about the guts it takes to write a book and keep writing when you are rejected until I read this. Every rejection makes you stronger, dig a little deeper and yes become a better writer word by word. Thanks for the insight.

MaryF said...

A very good word, I am adding this to my complaining and FORGE...

Very nice! :)

Diane Richmond said...

Great blog, Naima