Why Wait to Become a Writer?
Start writing today
Back when I was a university student, Netflix didn’t exist but I enjoyed leisurely nights watching TV with my dorm buddies. I had so much free time in my day I could fit a midday nap between classes.
My dream of being a writer was something that could wait – because I had so much time on my hands.
Time stretched ahead of me like an infinite road. There was no urgency, I could start my writing career tomorrow.
Then twenty years slipped by and I was left wondering why writing was still a dream.
I wish I’d started writing sooner. I mean, I’ve always been a writer, but not in the serious “career” sense.
Why did I wait so long to become a writer?
I was afraid of failure. My perfectionism told me I wasn’t good enough. I wrote draft after draft, but it was never perfect.
I was reluctant to share my writing with anyone because I didn’t think it was meaningful, worthwhile.
In her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, Brene Brown says that in order to feel good enough you need to let go of the expectations of others:
When we let go of what other people think and own our story, we gain access to our worthiness – the feeling that we are enough just as we are and that we are worthy of love and belonging.
There wasn’t enough time
After having kids, it became incredibly hard to find the time to write.
My life became a hazy mess of sleepless nights and busy days.
I was a tired mama who wasn’t in the mood to write.
You need to find the time
Then a catalyst kickstarted my writing career. A close family member became terminally ill. I started to worry that there wasn’t enough time left to do all the things I had ever dreamed about.
So I published my first article online. And then the next.
After I received positive comments about my writing from family and friends, I knew I needed to keep going.
I’m not sure why I needed other people to tell me I was good enough. I didn’t believe in myself until others did first.
I wish I’d had the courage when I was younger to publish my writing without seeking validation from other people first.
You have to believe in yourself to take that first brave step towards your goal. Once you take it, you’re already halfway there.
Now I write part-time. In between looking after two toddlers and a school-aged son.
But the funny thing is they provide me with inspiration for my writing. My kids are my reason to write and they’re also what I write about.
I get creative ideas during the kids’ bath time, or when we’re outside on our property picking tomatoes off the vine or mulberries from the bush.
You’ve gotta work with what you’ve got
Everyone has limitations. We can’t bend ourselves so that we’re stretched to the breaking point.
Don’t feel guilty if you can’t write every day. I thought I needed to be one of those successful writers who write every day, publishes at least three articles a day.
But I was stretched so thin I literally didn’t eat. I became sick. I couldn’t look after myself, let alone my children.
I stopped, took a step back and thought about what I really wanted.
I asked myself: What goals do you want to achieve? Where do you want to be in a year? Five years? Ten years?
Start small. But aim for the stars.
I’m happy writing part-time and perhaps when the kids are older I can write some more, cross off more goals.
But for now, it’s one step at a time.
Lana Graham is Editor of Mama Write. She writes about parenting and her writing journey and lives in Sydney, Australia with her partner (her rock) and their three amazing sons. If you’d like my 3 Top Tips for being a successful new writer on Medium, then click here.