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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

GO AWAY, KID, YOU BOTHER ME...



“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” --- Maya Angelou, "Letter to My Daughter"



It's awfully easy to wallow in self-pity and it's even easier to cry out loud---Facebook, anywhere one could talk out loud---about it

With a spell of set-back, in my writing career that is, I nearly took the easy road out and whined about it. I'm a natural born whiner, believe me. So what surprised me was that I did not whine.  Publicly, that is.

There comes a time in life when you realize whining is self-defeating. Its benefits? None. Absolutely none. And, hey, if I had not found peace about the issue I'm chatting about, I'd keep my trap shut; however, I did find peace. And, because of that peace, I felt like passing on encouragement to new writers like me---established writers, too, who might feel the same from time to time.

This writing gig is a wonderful thing. Which is good, because for most writers, we could no more not write than we could hold Niagara Falls in a teacup. 

If you're like me, you felt the magic the second your fingers typed those first words to that first story. Somehow, you knew. It was right for you.

And, if you're like me, you plunged into this new adventure with the most magnificent expectations. Me? I imagined myself right up there with Mario Puzo and Dan Brown. It was going to be that easy. I felt like I had the talent, after all. 

Like the Zampster said in her blog post about writing needing to be a balance between a job and the wonderful ceremony, this wonderful literary life trip is a job. And, since it is a job, it puts you in a new limbo between dreamland and reality. 

Reality.

This new job, just like any other job, can be an exhilarating  journey. Or,just like the office place, it can place you---because now you're mingling with a world of authors just like yourself as well as a staff of management---it can ram you right into a brick wall of self-doubt and fear. No, no, it's not a scary place, this writing world. It sure doesn't have to be, anyway.

But, plain and simple, once you're work is out there and you begin dealing with the world outside your writing nook, you...well...you are dealing with a world outside your writing nook. Which means, just like in school or work, you're exposed to elements that, whether you like it or not, will affect you.

You know that thick skin they always tell you about? The thick skin writers must have? Well, that thick skin applies to more than just handling bad reviews and negative junk regarding your work.

Baby, that thick skin also applies to you, to how your self-confidence has to stay intact. You walked into this gig with the confidence of a soaring eagle, my friend, and you have to keep it

That thick skin has to stay thick when you sometimes feel like you're not really a part of the big adventure. When you feel you're invisible. When elements come onto the scene that not only seem not to encourage but to actively DIScourage. When you feel like the pesky kid in the W.C. Fields movie and the world snarls, Go away, kid, you bother me

And it ain't about being somebody. Whoa! If that's your goal, get in another line, doll. That line is the one where your personal goal as primo celibrita is more important than your original passion---your writing

Me? I just suffered one of those bouts of self-doubt. When it felt like, not only did I not feel like I mattered----me or my writing---but it even seemed there were those who confirmed it for me. 

I wallowed in that for a while. I doubted my writing. I doubted my writing?  Oh, hell, no. 

Then came my mental, hold your horses, buck-o!

Then came my mental look here, toots.  

I worked hard at this writing. My heart bled into every single word. Along my way, I had a bevy of wonderful, wonderful folk who believed in me. Friends who mentored me. Friends who read my work. Friends who taught me everything they knew about writing, about editing, about everything. Folks who embraced this new writing dame. They gave me their time, their care, their knowledge. 

So...wait.  

I'm going to chunk all that priceless input, all that beautiful care and support...because a couple of incidents happened? I'm going to regress, even for one split second, and stop believing in myself because I ran smack-dab into a few who discourage me?

And, wait. I'm not saying it's the world's job to boost me, to support me. And that's just it! I see that now. The confidence has to come from within. It can't rely on external elements to make it or break it. Just because you run into a barrier of discouragement, you can't just stand there at the roadblock, staring at it all helpless and heartbroken. You just go around it, and keep heading straight on to where you started out to begin with. 

Here's a scary thought: you do stop at the obstacles on your path. You let it halt your dreams right in the middle of the damn road. 

When, instead, Steve Maraboli says, How would your life be different if…You stopped validating your victim mentality? Let today be the day…You shake off your self-defeating drama and embrace your innate ability to recover and achieve.

Are you going to let yourself be a victim and let your dream halt---even for one second---every time someone throws a kink into your confidence?

I'm not. 

Do you know, I was so discouraged I'd decided not to write sequels to books I loved? I actually allowed a tint of disinterest from someone else to set me back, to send me over the self-pity cliff?

Then, just at the brink, I remember all those fabulous people who did care.

And I stepped away from the edge. And I'm going to keep writing. And I'm going to keep loving what I write. 

This gal is going to hang on to that ol' self-confidence a bit longer. And so are you!


















2 comments:

Connie Wood said...

I loved this post!!! I think it is something most (if not all) writers can relate to. The writing world is difficult not for the reasons most people think (getting published, reviews, haters ect) but for this reason....it shows you a mirror to your very soul. It makes you face yourself, demons and all. Any insecurity will be magnified, jealousy, loves, hope, regrets, dreams and fantasies will all come to the forefront.
You are a great writer and you can see the passion with which you write and it's hard to put yourself out there.
I don't think I have a thick skin (just the opposite actually) but I write what I love, try to make it the best I can and then put it out there, if people love it great, if they don't then that's fine too.

Vastine Bondurant said...

Hey, there, Connie!
Oh, man, I don't have a thick skin, either.
I may have a big mouth, though, always seeming to point out the not-so-jubilant points of writing.
It's a beautiful gig, but if we're sensitive (and I am), the more unpleasant realities can stop you in your tracks.
Folks tell you to keep quiet about that part, it can hurt you to speak of it.
But, for me, speaking of it and facing it keeps me from caving to it.
Hugs, Connie, and thank you for visiting and sharing your thoughts!