It has been one of the those weeks. A week where I haven’t enjoyed writing. Where I have felt discouraged. Where I felt overwhelmed with the fact that there is no way to know for sure that I will ever get published. Where I read a great book and wonder how I think I can ever compete? Where the idea of handing work to my writing group makes my fingers shake above the keyboard?
When I first started writing I followed a pattern:
- Write regularly for a while.
- Have one of those days where everything I wrote and everything I read that I had wrote seemed awful.
- Stop writing for two months out of discouragement.
- Open the document again and decide maybe it isn’t that bad.
- Write regularly for a while.
- And repeat…
And surprise, surprise, I never got my novel done.
I know that every writer feels this way and that I am not the best judge of my writing. But at the same time it is hard to work towards something that seems so out of your control.
It has been a while since I’ve had such a difficult time of it, but this last month all those doubts and feelings have come back to haunt me. But I have kept writing, kept ticking back the words, and managed to keep focused on getting work done. My mind-set has changed.
If I think about how hard it is to be published, I will find it hard to write. If I compare myself to others, I will find it hard to write. But I have a new technique, a new philosophy that is keeping me on the keyboard. A new mission.
I will be the Steven Bradbury of Writing.
Steven Bradbury was the first Australian to win a Gold medal at the Winter Olympic Games. He was a speed-skater, and was expected to finish last in the final. How then did he win? Well, there are a collision and the other skaters all crashed just before the finish-line. Steven remained standing and crossed the line first.
At the time, it became a huge joke, because it seemed like the most hilariously Australian thing to win something because everyone else fell down. But of course it was more than that. Steven was a veteran of his sport, and a hard working athlete. He was happy to be there and just wanted to do his best. But he knew there was always a chance of a medal if he just kept standing.
See where I am going with this? 🙂
I have decided I am going to be the Steven Bradbury of writing. I may not always feel like the best writer in the race. But the race hasn’t finished yet. So I will keep writing.
Maybe I don’t know everything there is to know about writing. So I will take every opportunity to learn everything I can. And I will keep writing.
When I get negative feedback on my novel, I will not let it stop me. I will work out what I need to improve it and I will make it sing. I will keep writing.
When, exactly like I feel as I write these words, the words seem too hard to get out and I want to go to bed and dream of being a writer instead of writing? I will work towards the dream. I will keep writing.
Stephen King says the difference between the talented and successful individual is a lot of hard work.
And hard work I can do.
I will keep writing.
(I had fun reliving SB’s exciting race while thinking about my new philosophy and this post. Here is a wonderful little Youtube video about Steven Bradbury’s history and the race)