Whatever you do, do it for yourself. Not for anyone else. Don’t be motivated by what someone else says to you or does to you. Do what you love, have a passion for, for yourself.
In the arts that’s something to hold on to. Whether you’re a writer, painter, musician, etc. it becomes more than a mantra you say in the bathroom mirror. It becomes a prayer. It becomes an anthem.
Early in my writing career, about the time when I joined all sorts of writing groups and started dealing with the industry of writing. Someone said something in a forum that kind of haunted me and I realized that up until a few minutes ago, their destructive words (even though they might not have meant them to be negative) had stayed with me. I had to battle them every day when it seemed like my writing was going nowhere, taking me nowhere. They said this (and I’m paraphrasing): You don’t have to be talented to be a writer, anyone can get published if they work at it hard enough, knock on that publisher’s door long enough, if they beg (it seemed to me) loud enough, if they perfected the perfect query letter regardless if the story was great, if their synopsis shone so bright, their poor grammar can be excused, and their mediocre story (that talentless story) will be contracted, not because you’re a good (great) storyteller, but because you hung in there long enough.
Yeah that’s a bit soul destroying and a very cynical view to have of writing (or maybe someone somewhere at one point told this person this. Said they were talentless, but could come up with a wicked premise and write good enough sentences so maybe they can persist and get published. I don’t know), somehow they’ve believed this lie and then took that poison and from their position of power as a veteran author, told this to newbies like me.
To be honest I resented this person. I was like “What?! Are you saying I’m freakin talentless?! That I can’t write to save my life. That even if I get that industry validation of a publishing contract that it means absolutely nothing because everyone and their mother can get one?”
Of course I didn’t say this to them. I stewed *laughs* I silently built up dislike towards this person. And when they landed a contract with a Big Six publisher I smirked, because even as they gloated and bragged (my filter here), I thought, ah the value of persistence. So this talentless author can get a Big Six contract, than I can too. Needless to say my attitude stunk! Like seriously stunk. Like all the way to the arctic and back to South Africa.
And I’m not a negative person when it comes to hopes and dreams. I like to motivate people. I like to dream for them if they don’t have a dream. I’m the first one to say congratulations to a friend, the first to say ‘wow you look beautiful today!’ I notice when people have done something amazing and I give honor where honor is due.
Yet this person had stuck their grimy little finger in a corner of my psyche that was still vulnerable. A place that still had to prove itself and stand up to the world. And as I was rising to do this. Gaining thicker skin. They just had to go and urinate all over it. (Please don’t be that person for someone. It sucks not just for them but for you. You’re heaping loads of bad karma on yourself.)
So this morning I woke up, prayed, read my Bible, and realized this: In spite of this haunting negativity that I thought I hadn’t internalized, I still rise. I still believe that I am talented. A good storyteller. That I didn’t start on this journey for people like this person. I didn’t write my first story to impress anyone at age fourteen. All I wanted was to tell a story. I had these characters I wanted to find out more about and then yeah maybe someone could read about them. But I wasn’t too open to that concept back then. They were mine. They belonged to me (selfish I know *grin*). I do this writing thing for me. No one else. Not for the ones who profess to NOT want validation from the industry and certainly not from the ones who believe that talent and natural ability doesn’t exist (in whatever form you have it aka music, sport, etc.) I’m doing this for me. And I love it. I don’t care if someone else thinks/feels differently, that’s their life, their demons to deal with. Their haunting. I’ve gotten rid of mine. I’ve thrown my demons out the front door and am pursing my writing journey how I want to.
And here’s another nugget: Just because you can’t see yourself achieving something, does not mean someone else can’t. If it hadn’t happened for you, doesn’t mean it won’t happen for them. Don’t rain on someone else’s parade. Don’t dismiss someone’s value. If it’s not your path, than it doesn’t mean it’s not theirs.
And now I’m done *smile* Just felt like putting it out there. We all need a little motivation someone times. xoxo