This week, instead of talking about something writing related, I just thought that I would share my June 2019 “From One Writer to Another” personal memoir. I promise that we will go over that that is, but for now, here it is:
From One Writer To Another:
That sounds very poetic doesn’t it? Like it will be an essay that will captivate my audience and be somewhat of an important piece. The truth of it is, this piece will probably mean more to me than it will to you. It will show you things about me that I’m not proud of and then some of the things that I am. I don’t know if this will disappoint, but this is what I have.
One of the most common questions I ask people as a writer is “Did you like it?”. As a new writer I am obsessed with what people think about my writing because I am looking for validation. Looking to know that what I am doing is right. I started writing much later than most of you. I always has a passion for reading and writing when I was young, but once I started college, I fell into the “practicality rut” that many of us do. Do something practical. Something that will guarantee that you make a decent income that you can live off of. Do something you could probably hate for the rest of your life because, hey, it’s practical.
That was something that I was told growing up all the time. I heard it so often that I started repeating it like an internal mantra. I didn’t see the irony in the fact that it was always followed by “you can be whatever you want.” I struggle with this a lot because what if those things didn’t line up? What if I don’t want to be a doctor, lawyer, or teach high school? For me it was the latter. I was told to be a teacher because I’d be good at it. To work at a high school because they didn’t require you to get much more than a bachelor’s to do that.
I strategically set myself up to fail with my choice in major. I hated what I was doing. I found my core classes difficult and it felt like I was drowning in a bathtub. I put myself there. I chose this path, but I was drowning in the shallow water because I was depressed with the life I was trying to lead.
I was losing interest in something that had been a goal. I had just wanted out. Many people have told me that if you love what your job, it will never feel like you have worked a day in your life. For some reason if I had continued the path that I had chosen, I knew that I would wake up everyday dreading what comes next. I had no excitement for my projected future.
The point of this essay is not to bore or inspire you with my story. I don’t think that you need to know much about me to know what I am all about – and honestly, I don’t think that some of you would care. You can tell what my interests are by my tattoos and you don’t have to listen to me talk or write for long to know how I feel about something.
A writing practice is something I had never heard of before a few months ago. It had never occurred to me that writing was something that needed practice. It does now. To some of you, just for a moment, I sounded naive and ignorant about what it means to be a writer. Like I have no idea what it means to produce a piece of creative writing, which I might add, is one of the hardest things I have ever tried to do in my life. Creative writing is like nothing I’ve ever had to do because it’s almost like you are laying a part of your soul bare instead of the facts and research that are involved in classes. If someone doesn’t like your writing, it hurts more than any bad grade ever could.
I am okay as coming off naive and ignorant. I feel that there is something empowering to say that I am still figuring out what I’m doing, that I don’t have to define myself by what it is that I am writing. Calling myself a writer feels foreign and strange, but it’s a feeling I’m beginning to enjoy. Calling myself an artist is… surreal.
Throughout the last few months, I have made many friends who, like me are writers. I have read more creative pieces in the last six months than in my entire schooling career and I wouldn’t change the experience for the world. I love that I am able to read someone’s work and give feedback on something that could possibly make them feel more confident in their own work. Here’s where the bad part starts. I judge their work.
Bleh! That is such a terrible thing to do, but it is something that is almost as common as human nature and it’s like a competition. If I think my writing is better, then I win. If I think, holy hell that was amazing, I start to lose confidence in myself and my abilities. Everything in life is a competition and this is one competition that nobody wants to lose.
How depressing is that. Not terribly long ago, my friend showed me an image that simply said, “If you are an artist and your friends are artists, they are not competition; they’re your inspiration. Support them.” I have found nothing to be truer. Listening to friends read their work to me over the last few months was what inspired me to write this. They inspire me all the time to be better and to try new things – to be as weird as I want to be. But there is always that internal struggle of “did they do better than me?” That is such a lonely and depressing way to go about your work.
Here are a few author facts that I found quite inspiring:
- JK Rowling was 36 when Harry Potter was published.
- Bram Stoker didn’t get The Snake’s Pass published until he was 43. (This was his first book, it’s not connected to Dracula.)
- Anna Sewell didn’t get Black Beauty published until she was 57.
- J.R.R. Tolkien was 45 when The Hobbit was published and didn’t finish the Lord of The Rings trilogy until he was 63.
Success comes to people in different time and nothing is a competition. If you have a friend who publishes a book long before you, then celebrate with them, ask for their feedback and enjoy their success with them because more likely than not, you inspired and contributed to their success. That, to me, is more satisfying than getting caught up in the competition that doesn’t really exist.
So now that I have rambled on for a long time, from one writer to another… Did you like it?
Thank you for reading.
Till the next chapter,