Born to Write
By Vickie Miller
Do you believe you were born to write? If the answer is yes, that’s all that matters.
Yet sometimes that belief isn’t strong enough to ward off the barrage of negative naysayers who don’t share the same sentiment.
Born to write? Hardly.
You’re writing a book? Anyone can do that.
Freelancer? I bet they don’t even pay you.
Maybe you’ve heard these comments. Maybe you’ve heard them so many times you say them to yourself. And with all that internal noise in your head your computer screen probably sits on the desk staring you blankly in the face. The words don’t come. The stories remain untold. The characters roam around, uncertain of what to do next. Because you’ve gotten to the point that you believe what the aggressors are saying; negative words and emotional abuse have a way of doing that to a person.
It’s time to silence the non-believers.
Sure, not everyone who reads our words will like them. We’ll get those negative reviews. We’ll suffer rejection as all artists do at some point. But no one has the right to silence a writer. No one.
While we can’t change how others perceive us or what they say to us, we can silence those non-believers and flourish as writers. Here’s how:
First, find a safe place to write. This can be in your home, your car, on the bus, in a coffee shop, or a bookstore. The key is to make sure that when you’re in this safe and sacred place, you feel like a writer. You’ve experienced that feeling before, haven’t you? That moment when you walk into a place so special that you quiver with excitement at the thought of writing all the words? Take inventory of your surroundings and search out that special place. It’s there somewhere; you just have to find it.
Second, allow yourself the opportunity to free write. I know you might be deeply wounded by abusers or hurt from the stone’s people are throwing at you and you may not even feel like writing. It’s not necessary to sit down and turn out a novel or a professional non-fiction piece. Free writing is when you open your mind to the possibilities that writing holds. You can accomplish this in one of two ways:
- You can write in a journal. This can be your private thoughts or a daily log of emotions and activities. You can write letters to yourself reflecting on your day, your week, or your entire life. No one has to see this. The words will be between you and the paper.
- You can write using a prompt. Whether you choose a book about writing prompts (I like 642 Things to Write About by the San Francisco Writer’s Grotto) or write about a tangible item near you. Take that item or person or pet and expand on it. Is there a plant in your safe place? Write about it. Let your mind wander all over and around the species of the plant, the container it’s in, the feel of the leaves, or the smell.
Journaling and writing prompts may not turn into a bestselling work of art, but coupled with your safe place, these things can get the creativity flowing to your brain. They’ll also be a nice change of pace from listening to the attackers who are trying to bury your dream under the pile of their negativity.
Third, you want to reward yourself for all of your writing accomplishments. No matter how many words you get on paper, writing is hard work. When we work hard, we want to be compensated. So treat yourself to a little something special when you complete a writing session. The rewards don’t have to be monetary nor do they have to be food, but they do have to be something.
If you can reward yourself with something related to writing, even better. A pretty new notebook? A nice pen? Some sticky notes for jotting down ideas? If money is tight or you want to reward yourself with something extravagant you can even start a writing jar where you “reward” yourself with a dollar every time you write. This will let you see your progress while saving up for something that your current budget may not allow for.
Practicing these strategies won’t change the bullies. They may still fling insults and unhealthy criticism at you. The difference is that when you practice using your safe zone and pair it with writing and rewarding yourself for being a writer, you will feel better. You’ll not only grow stronger in your craft, you’ll become a stronger person.
In time, you may even start to believe that you were born to write.
Vickie Miller is a writer with an LPC. Although she no longer works directly with patients, Vickie is passionate about self-care. She is currently working on her MFA in Creative Writing and Literary Arts, and uses her passion to help writers. Vickie plays an active role in the 10Minute Novelists group where she is on the admin team and hosts a weekly chat for members about all things writing related, including self-care. Her first novel Soaring Alone is a women’s lit piece about Rachel James, a woman who discovered she’d been kidnapped at birth and now must decide what family means to her.
Born in the Midwest, Vickie lives in remote Alaska with her family and giant puppy, Omar. You can find out more about her developmental editing services and semi-adventurous life on her website: www.authorsinkalaska.com. She’s also on Facebook @AuthorVickieMiller and Twitter @VickieM_author.
Chair & Pen publishes stories on the writing process and the writing life. It is edited and curated by Writing Coach Annalisa Parent. To learn more about how to work with Annalisa, visit www.DateWithTheMuse.com
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