Beginning From Zero

For the majority of my life I have wanted to be a writer. What I have learned in that time is that wanting to be a writer is not the same as BEING a writer. I so badly wanted words to just appear on a page in a form that other people would want to read.

Alas there was a flaw in my thinking.

I would write occasionally, especially as the internet got bigger, and put it out into the world to see the feedback I would get. I was writing for all the people out there and my writing must have been so great that an audience would stumble upon my words and be astonished at my wit and mastery of the written language.

Of course this was all before I knew how many talented writers were out there. I was young and naive, the world was my oyster, and no one could match me. In other words — I was a cocky jerk.

Don’t get me wrong I still am a bit over confident at times. To put yourself out into the world, to share your most intimate thoughts, and to think anyone would care takes a certain amount of bravery. Everyone has a story but not everyone is willing to tell it.

Of course there are other things to consider and I’m sure many out there can relate when I say my dream is to be able to make a living while chasing my dreams.

That’s what writing is to me, my dream.

When I was in high school I was the kid who spent every moment he could either in the computer lab or the library. I was either reading or writing always. A librarian took notice in my sophomore year and gave me a key to a computer room only used by the teachers so that I could go in there and write without being disturbed. She would read my work and tell me if it was good enough to submit. In her mind it usually was but I suspect alot of her encouragement to submit my work to publications was so that the stream of rejections could begin. I don’t mean that in a malicious way at all, it’s part of the journey of being a writer.

“By the time I was fourteen the nail in my wall would no longer support the weight of the rejection slips impaled upon it. I replaced the nail with a spike and went on writing.”
Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

It’s all about perseverence and dedication to a craft and for many years I didn’t have either. At some point, life got in the way of writing and became the ultimate excuse to procrastinate. I could theorize that I was much to busy to write everyday, this led to the excuse that I must not be good enough because when I did write no one seemed to want to read it.

I forgot the single most important thing I had learned. Writing was something that I did for me. When I wasn’t doing it I felt off balance. I tried to explain this to my wife recently by comparing it to a dam who had to be opened to let some of the pressure out. Words and thoughts were jammed into my tiny brain and without a release my head would soon explode.

That’s not to say that I don’t want an audience but that while building my audience I have to keep my eyes on how it makes me feel to put myself out into the world to be consumed and how it feels not to.

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” 
Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

I hope if you read this you will leave me a comment. Building an audience isn’t going to be easy and I am open to any thoughts or advice or links to good articles you have found. Also if you click that little heart it would be so very helpful!

Until next time….

Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.
- Helen Keller
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