I was sent this yesterday on my Facebook and I have to say that THIS has to be some of the best advice I have ever received. Just knowing from someone who has already made a success in doing creative work that what you feel and go through IS completely normal and has been gone through before…it’s so refreshing. It feels like I am indeed going the right direction. An affirmation!
When I was a little kid, if someone had asked me if at the age of 28, I would trying to not only better my writing but become a paid writer in the future, I’m not sure I would have believed them. Actually, I may have, but I would have probably said it would be a SONG writer. Because as a little girl, I had a fire in my heart for music and singing. I dreamed of becoming a singer and writing my own songs. All through my life, there were hints of writing becoming more than that, though.
All my teachers praised me for becoming good at writing. Several teachers even pointed me towards writing as a career in my future. My response? “I know I can write OK and it can be fun, but I don’t want to be a writer, I want to be a singer.” I had a writing talent, perhaps, but not quite the desire. At least that’s what I told myself and others….while at the same time, making up stories in which to entertain my nieces. I made up songs, too. I started a couple of books as a kid from little ideas I had but after a few chapters in, I simply got busy with other things and quit. I wrote poems quite a bit and showed them to my parents, who lovingly doted on them as being great and all that stuff that parents do. There was always a writing side to me, but it was almost like I hid it behind my desire to sing.
At 17, when I began college, I had every intention of doing a double major in Music AND English. As much as I loved Music, I also adored English. I always loved to spell and was a stickler for grammar. I knew I didn’t want to be a teacher…the thought frankly scared me. Singing in front of people was one thing, but speaking…uhhuh! No way, Jose, Jack AND Jill! :p NOT happening! BUT I quickly dropped English as a choice of major. Why? I used the excuse that while I love it and I did enjoy writing IF the subject was something I loved, I HATED with a passion the thought of writing long papers on topics that were boring and dull to me. All through school, teachers just loved to pick those kinds of topics, so why would college be any different? I wanted to sing so who needs the English major, huh?
Of course, for those who read my blog on a regular basis, you already know, I switched again later on and ended up Majoring in Theatre with a Minor in Music anyways. Neither choice got me out of writing things I didn’t really WANT to, but I did get to write some things I did love and once again, teachers told me I had a gift for writing. I honestly just nodded my head, said thanks and went on. So I can be good at writing? So what? I don’t have the motivation to do so….Excuses, one after the other.
But I still wrote a little, here and there, especially when I discovered blogs. The problem was always doing it for a bit and then stopping. Then I made an older friend who read some writings of mine and tried to talk me into writing a book with her. She kept encouraging me and trying to motivate me. I found my inner thoughts at conflict with what words instinctively came from me. On the outside, I would spew excuse after excuse, when inside, I really wanted to do it. I really wanted to have the urge to write more.
When the “Post a Day” Challenge came along, I took a flying leap into the unknown. Instead of someone else being the catalyst to DO something, I challenged myself. I took the step and jumped in. I had no idea where I would be months later in the journey, but I wasn’t going to make up excuses for once. I started out very unsure of myself and I have gained so MUCH confidence. I still have days where I compare other’s writing to mine and feel inadequate, like I am not quite at my best. Those are the days where I start to second guess myself and wonder if maybe writing isn’t the path for me. I criticize myself harsher than anyone else. And then there are days where things just click into place and I feel proud of myself. I feel like I AM actually getting better, step by step, and can see myself really doing this.
Those words by Ira Glass are so relatable to me. “And a lot of them never get past this phase; they quit.” Wow….so true. I have quit so many times in the past because of disappointment. “The most important thing you can do is A LOT OF WORK.” <—This truly explains to me why blogging every day is making a difference on how I feel about my writing skills. Having something like this where I have to at times force myself to write that day is getting me in the habit of WORKING on myself AND my writing. I am putting in so much writing hours versus a year ago when I wrote enough to maybe fill a week or two of posts. Blogging has given me a great outlet to work on my writing while getting feedback from others, making others feel(whether it’s happy, sad, angry or disgusted…at least something) and the added bonus of meeting awesome people that I otherwise may have never known.
I’m on a deadline each day like Glass’s words suggest. “It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions.” Well, I have definitely gone through a quite of volume so far, this is my 288th post on here! Do I feel like my work is as good as my ambitions? No, not hardly. I still feel like I have so much further to go. But I wonder if even published authors feel that they are at their best? Or do they think there’s still much more inside them just waiting to be let out? Maybe it’s a good thing to never feel like you’re at your peak and have no further to go. They do say that once you’re at the top, the only way to go is down. Maybe we should always strive to be better than our best, to reach the stars.
“It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You just gotta fight your way through.” Thanks so much to my step Mother-in-law for sending me these words. They are exactly what I needed to hear and possibly what others may, too. It’s reassuring to know that my feelings are normal. I just got to fight my way through!