“You’ve been making excuses for your writing since you finished college. First, you couldn’t find a subject that inspired you. Then, you chose Howard, who conveniently wasn’t interested in having his memoir written. When he finally said yes, you latched on to the Peacekeeper thing. Stop making excuses and write your book. You can’t be so afraid of failure that you don’t try.”
Whitley, G.M.. Sanctuary (The Futures Trilogy Book 3) (Kindle Locations 3650-3653). Juju Bee Press. Kindle Edition.
This quote is out of context from a dystopian novel that mildly creeped me out, but when I saw it, I decided to ponder this lesson until I’m able to read the first two books of the trilogy. (I hope that happens soon. I emailed the author to request review copies. Fingers crossed.)
How many of you all have caught yourselves making excuses not to write (or be creative) for too long? Raise your hands. Yep, me too. First I kept saying I didn’t want to write fiction, so I didn’t write. When I finally understood that I didn’t have to write fiction to be a writer, I compared myself to other writers who were traditionally published and held up as examples to newbies of “how to write.” I knew I wasn’t an Anne Lamott, Julia Cameron, or Elizabeth Gilbert–so I let myself off the hook completely by not even trying.
I even remember reading Sue Monk Kidd’s articles in Guideposts when I was young. That’s how far back my dreaming about being a writer goes. Now she’s a well-known author of nonfiction and fiction. She was living in my native South Carolina at that time, and I even heard her husband speak at a Baptist Student Union convention one year. Of course I could never be like her. So I latched onto another dream and followed it until I had almost lost sight of what I had wanted to be “when I grew up.”
I was afraid of failure, so never really even tried to see what would happen. I was an English major in college out of pure love, but always planned to “be” something else so I could get a job. Now I don’t do it in hopes of making a living doing it, although that would be nice. I’ve just started doing it because I can’t not do it anymore. It makes me feel better to write than not to write. It makes me happier, and maybe it makes the world just a tiny bit better to put myself out there. I hope so, because I really don’t want to stop doing it again.