If you are anything like me, you habitually deal with the small little voice that tries to convince you that you are wasting your time. We talked about it a couple of weeks ago; it begins with Blank Page Syndrome. Even when you overcome the fear of an empty page, the self-doubt can still linger, and be burdensome. This is especially the case when you do not have someone in your corner cheering you on, like an accountability partner.
Don’t Doubt Your Ability
At one point, you felt accomplished; proud of the work you had done. You remember that feeling, but sometimes it feels like that was days ago. Months ago. But you remember. Successful writing is more than getting published. It’s more than having a byline or getting paid to write. It’s getting to do what you love to do.
Over the past month, we have covered topics that I hope have made you think. Just writing these blogs has refreshed my memory and rekindled my feelings about writing. The main thing I have learned is that you should never doubt your ability. If you have the hankering to put pen to paper and tell a story, then do it. It doesn’t matter if your first draft is good or not. Ernest Hemingway, Nobel Prize in Literature winner, once said, “The first draft of anything is crap.”
Terry Pratchett from Freedom with Writing (this website I mentioned last week. It is a good site for writers. I suggest you check it out) reminds us, “The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.” Your job is just to get it on paper. It’s not going to be perfect, that is the purpose of editing. Do you think that Hemingway nailed it the first time when he wrote For Whom the Bell Tolls?
A successful writing career is all about riding the roller-coaster of emotions that come with it. Ray Bradbury tells us, “You only fail when you stop writing.” Don’t give up, just keep writing. Your passion for writing is enough. If you have the love for it, you can be successful. Just remember all we have learned thus far and put to use the tools in your toolbox.
Don’t Doubt Your Availability
Excuses, excuses, excuses. “I don’t have the time to write.” “I’ll write it someday.” “I have too many things on my plate.” I have used them all. Even as I am writing this I have that ‘I’m too tired to write’ hitting me. This week has been tough. You see, for the last six months I have been out of work due to an injury. Last week I finally returned to work. During my time off, I had all the time in the world to write. Now I’m back to 12-hour shifts and coming home dead dog tired, I rarely have the energy to write. Including this week’s blog. But there is nothing like a deadline that motivates you to finish a project. I work tomorrow, so my deadline is bedtime tonight.
Another thing, telling yourself that you will write someday is a lie. You won’t. Someday is not a day of the week and tomorrow never comes because it is always out there. Always out of reach. Unless you do something today to make a difference, you will wake up one day with life having passed you by. Today take the time to make the first step. Write something, anything, just write.
I have seen a quote on Pinterest, but it does not give who said it, even with a web search I could not find the author, so I am unable to provide a source. (I like to give credit where credit is due, as you should. Plagiarism is a slap in the face of the original writer.) The quote says this: “We make time for what is important to us. If you haven’t made the time for it, you have not convinced yourself that it’s important enough.” If your heart’s desire is to write, then you will find time to write.
Remember we talked about making it a habit. Even if it is a simple list of ideas, that is a start. The next thing is to expound on those ideas. Take one of them add to it. If you have an idea of flowers, then write all the names of flowers you know. Then during your next writing session, take each flower and write about its characteristics; the colors and smells. Writing is about capturing the senses and putting them on paper, so others can share the experience you went through as you wrote it. Down to every detail, even the feeling of the prick of a thorn.
Don’t Listen to Naysayers
I’m sure you have heard them all. “Writing? Why would you want to do that?” “You’re not good enough.” “You’re too young.” “You’re too old.” “What could you have to say?”
For me, it’s not so much nay saying. When I tell people that I am a writer, I usually get that smile and nod. You may be aware of that look. The look that shows you they are humoring you with their acceptance. It can be discouraging. I want to be taken seriously, just as you do. I am sure you would agree it is difficult when others do not understand your desires. But it is your passion; one does not have to share it with you for you to be successful.
It helps to surround yourself with those who will bring out the best in you. Listen to the voices that encourage you, even when they are critical. A good friend will not be a yes man, only saying good things about what you write. They will give you honest feedback, even when it is not what you want to hear. Their advice will help you become a better writer. The difficulty is finding those friends. Most of the time that voice will come from another writer. Another soul, going through the same situation.
Each of us will have a different level of success. Some of you reading this could be a best-selling author. Some of you may find a career writing for a publication. Some of you will continue to write just for the fun of it. Some of you will write things only your eyes will see. If you are happy with what you have done, you are writing successfully. Success is more than having your name in lights, bold type, or hyperlinked. It’s about laying your head on your pillow at night resting in a job well done.
One final thing, don’t allow those who lack understanding of your passion get in the way. It’s not their future; it’s yours. Let them shake their head in approval and the whole time laugh inside. Who will be laughing when your first piece is recognized? I remember how I felt when I was published for the first time. So will you. It is an emotion you will never forget. It is the satisfaction that only comes with accomplishing something others did not think you could do; Something even you doubted you could do at times. It’s the enjoyment of the benefits of having the tenacity to see it through till the end and finishing the race. Now get on the starting blocks and write something.