Tag Archives: challenged

Intimidated Part 2

Continuation from here and here.

I’ve struggled for years with the idea of being good enough. That stretched into this blog, especially when I was updating it more frequently. Inevitably, I found people who were doing so much better than I was and they were putting in less effort.

I never really found out what pulled people into those blogs. What was I doing differently? What wasn’t I doing?

And it’s a maddening process in its own. I know I’ve spoken at length in many different posts about not comparing yourself to others and how the ladder you have to climb could vary from someone else’s. Shorter, longer, thinner, wider. What they do with their style and their words is much different from what you can do with yours.

With a fresh fear of failure, I’ve spent years being passed over any time I’ve tried to put myself out there. Things I thought I was a shoe in for, I’ve been rejected for other, more talented people.

But in spite of how much I’ve seen rejection, both in my searches for a job, and for my writing, I have a strong confidence in my stories. Whether it’s well founded or not is to be seen. Though I believe I’ve got decent skills, I’m shown time and time again that not many people probably feel the same.

Still, it doesn’t stop me from feeling a surge of need whenever I see others getting published, whether its on their own or through publishing companies.

I feel like I can do it, too, and have decent success. But if I can’t get many people to read a blog, then what good am I going to have with a book? Hell, what kind of luck would I even have on a bigger platform like Wattpad, for that matter?

This is just me beating a dead horse. Expressing fears I’ve had and voices before. That I want to keep trying, but I’m afraid of being hit on the wrist and told no. Of being shown that my writing isn’t actually as good as I think it is, but rather poor.

Someone I “work” with (I volunteer at the organization she works at), has been working on a novel that’s been such a pleasure for her to write. Her excitement is just absolutely infectious, and even when she’s just starting to get it cleaned up, she’s already thinking about publishing. She doesn’t care what it yields, she just wants it, and I wish that vigor followed me.

I guess I have to regard all processes with the same attitude: Go for it, no matter what the outcome is. Just enjoy it.

But I can’t deny the need to be recognized. To feel like I’ve reached people and they enjoy what I’ve written just as much. Part of me still feels like I’m doomed to be in the background and that my work isn’t worth the attention.

I’ve also had the inevitable, “Well, everyone loved Twilight and 50 Shades, why shouldn’t I be given some time?”

To their credit, both of those stories are easy to read and have a broad, easy message to understand. They’re easy to devour, to get into, if you can ignore the repetition and spelling mistakes and stiffness of the writing.

As competitive as fuck as I am, it’s hard for me to say it’s simply for enjoyment, but I am trying. I know better than to have expectations, but I can’t help that hopefulness that’s burned inside of me since day one. To be seen, recognized, and celebrated.

Whatever this burst of confidence brings, though, at least I’ll have tried. Right?

The Novice Wordsmith

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Ban It!

As some of you already know, yesterday (Sept 21) started Banned Books Week, a quiet protest against censorship. You will probably be surprised to see some of the titles on the lists; Lord of the Flies, Where the Wild Things Are, To Kill a Mockingbird, Grapes of Wrath, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone… Books that, depending on where you lived or went to school, you grew up with.

I couldn’t understand how some of these were banned, it seems so simple. Profanity, sexual themes, handling topics that were controversial at the time… Others, like Steal This Book, were a little more bold and obvious in the banning, though I still question it.

This is actually my first time hearing about this week, and hearing that any of these books have actually been banned, but the week was founded in awareness against censorship in 1982 by librarian Judith Krug. More history and information about that here.

So the intent seems obvious: if you support bringing down the outrageous censorship and being told what you can and can’t read, promote and support the effort. The effort in question is a push for the First Amendment freedom, and to focus on the power of literature (as the wiki states).

The first thought that comes to mind is a quote by Robin Williams: “Live your life in a way that the Westboro Baptist Church will want to picket your funeral.” The same sentiment carries through to writing, though it doesn’t seem so difficult after looking at what these books have been banned for.  Write in a way that your book could potentially get banned from a library. Choose to challenge instead of going quietly.

Seeing more of these books, it’s surprising, but should I really be surprised? Some profound, classic books that make a huge statement are on there, censored, to be kept away from people because of the content, because someone finds it offensive and wrong. They are loud books. They make you think. They challenge complacency. They help make you harder to control.

Though I probably shouldn’t go around assuming it’s all about control, but to a point, isn’t it?

If you do anything this week, read something that’s been banned, and truly  consider it. On the other side, when you write, whether it’s a new chapter, or revising an older one, or a separate story altogether, think about what you’re challenging by writing it. Think about what goes into it. What do any of the characters do that push the envelope and force you to consider their actions and why they’re doing it?

And most of all, if you support this week and the awareness and freedom it promotes, only let it go by quietly if you’re too busy reading.

-The Novice Wordsmith

PS: Tell me what some of the most profound things you’ve had your characters do!

Clarity versus Calamity

Extremes can provide a lot of insight. When there’s nothing but chaos, you have strong thoughts that stand out among the rest, and when all is calm and the waters are steady, it’s hard to miss the one or two things that dare to stir up the waves.

Distractions are the fuel of chaos. They are loud noises from the television or family, surrounding you no matter what part of the building or house you’re in, they’re things happening outside, or a conversation in the other room that demands your attention because of how loud the person is on one end. They’re the thirty tabs you have open in your browser, or the game that’s been begging you to play it for the past few days, not to mention the little apps on your phone that you can’t ignore, or friends texting constantly…

Above all, it’s the noise in your head that you can’t turn down.

Some people thrive in the calamity. They can pick out an idea and run with it, letting the other noise help them to a speedy finish. A phrase that goes, “the story writes itself,” can happen in either the calmest time or the most chaotic. Tuning out the noise can either help or hurt, but either way, finding a way to hear your thoughts is always the same.

This happens more often than not lately for me, and my go-to fix for it has been to plug in music and drown out the noise, and force myself to focus, even if it means sacrificing attention to something else (family member, more often than not, only if it’s not inappropriate).

Clarity and calm, after being elusive, is a welcome retreat from the chaos that may have erupted around you. When the noise is so loud in your head that you can’t calm it down enough to focus, enough to sit and write something out, it’s hard to get much of anything done when it’s not mindless work.

In the middle of it all, you may find something easier to write. Your thoughts, some random, rapid-fire brainstorming, but nothing you have to force, something that may come easily. That little bit of saving grace among the pots banging and the thoughts clashing that goes on in your mind can come from simple things, typically.

Days like this are mercifully rare for me, but when they come, they wreck havoc. Distractions, however, are very healthy, though at work, writing is the distraction, especially when firemen run into the building because of the fire panel going off. For others, loudly singing roommates and bright, rather obnoxious and simple shows make it very difficult to get any focus or work done.

This post is late because of distractions and personal trouble writing, so thank you for bearing with me (even if you haven’t). Also, happy 50th post! Yay!

-The Novice Wordsmith