Following on from my last post about handling criticism today and want to talk about doing what you love and enjoying it. I love to write and I enjoy doing it too but that doesn’t mean I go for my dreams and goals all the time. I’m learning though and that is the main thing. Sometimes it’s all about focus and mindset and this has been a stumbling block for me. One negative criticism and I found myself ditching my writing and sitting down in front of the TV watching mind numbing crap. Why? I felt I wasn’t good enough. I shouldn’t be spending my time writing fiction or poetry because I’m no good at it. I’m sure many of you can relate. When that little voice inside gets a hold, your dreams can wilt very quickly.
I write for a living but it’s not creative writing. I get paid to write articles and website content and I’m good at it. I know the ins and outs of Search Engine Optimisation. I know how to craft content that sells, and I know what facts and figures I need to include. It’s great but it’s not my dream. My dream is to hit the bestsellers list and to do that I need to write my own stuff.
I have started so many pieces and each time I have really enjoyed the process but I haven’t finished them. My novel has 25,000 words. I started writing it as part of NaNoWriMo a couple of years ago and thoroughly enjoyed the process. I would park at the school 30 minutes before the kids finished and I would take out my notebook and pen and start writing. It was like a breath of fresh air to create something fictional. The way the characters came to life, how I felt alive doing it. It really was wonderful. Why did I stop? Well silly me, I sent the first chapter to a writers group for critique and that was the end of it. One negative comment about grammar and I just stopped writing. I know I shouldn’t have taken it personally because it was the first draft and hadn’t been edited but I suppose the inner child in me felt rejected and rather than deal with criticism on an adult level I chose to be a child, sulk and stop writing so I couldn’t be rejected again.
That was a couple of years ago now and my novel is still sitting on my computer. I have started reading through it again and it’s not that bad. I printed off the first chapter and gave it to one of my writer friends. She gave it to her sons to read and guess what, they loved it and asked for more. So far I have printed out the first four chapters and they have loved them all and want more. It is encouraging and just reading it and getting it ready for print I have found myself getting reimbursed in the story and wanting to write more. I have reminded myself how much I loved writing it and now I want to finish it. I want to see what the characters have to tell me, I want to see how their lives unfold, how they meet their challenges, and how the story will end. In order to do this, I have to make time to write and having to deliver a new chapter each week to my friend’s children is just the motivation I need.
I have had to work on my mindset too and realise that it really isn’t about the opinions of anyone else that matters, it’s my own opinion and my own joy that should come first. That is why I love my blog. It’s my space, I can write what I like, on any subject I choose. I love the freedom it gives me and how I can just let go and let my thoughts flow. I’m not selling anything, all I’m doing is allowing myself to be creative and in the end, for me, that is all that matters. I am doing what I love and really enjoying doing it.
Advice for Writers Struggling To Find Their Worth
If I could offer any advice to writers out there struggling to find their worth it is this:
Don’t show your work to anyone else until you are finished writing it.
Don’t allow negative comments or feedback to stop you – take them as learning opportunities and go in search of the information you need to make your writing better.
Be true to you – if you enjoy writing horror, write horror. If you love poetry, write poetry, and if you want to try something new, read about it, learn about it, and spend time perfecting it.
Most of all, enjoy the process and if scribbling in a notebook relaxes you, helps you destress after a long day at work, and generally puts a smile on your face then just do it.
Until next time,