I went through many years during which writing was my big secret. I wasn’t writing as much as I wanted to, and when I did sit down and write, it was so clunky and awkward that I was horribly ashamed of it. The thought of letting anyone else actually read my writing brought on waves of anxiety and fear.
So I didn’t tell anyone I was a writer, and whenever I wrote anything I hid it away.
Consequently, I didn’t get very much writing done.
Writing is one of the most challenging pursuits on this earth. Creating and listening to your characters, putting in the hours of work to get their stories down on paper, the weeks of revision, the months of waiting for feedback—all of it adds up to what feels like superhuman amounts of energy, time, and effort.
But if you were not meant to be a writer, you would never have the urge to do this kind of work in the first place.
Yes, today’s world is full of writers and the publishing industry is undergoing a complete revolution. Yes, it’s terrifying to put your work out there and be judged for it. Yes, you will question and doubt yourself, and you will wonder if you’re going to make it.
Yes to all of the above, and yes, you are still meant to be a writer.
That means that if you don’t write—if you turn away from your gifts as a storyteller—you will always feel like something is missing. You will always dream that your life could have turned out differently. And you will always feel an empty place inside.
The missing piece, the life that includes fulfillment, the sustenance to fill that empty place, these things are all to be found in your writing.
And you know it. If you didn’t, you would not be reading these words right now.
All humans need stories, this is how we learn and grow. Stories connect us with each other, plant seeds of creativity and change, and personalize different perspectives. Without stories, humanity would be cut off from so many valuable opportunities. In order to move forward as a planet, we need stories to show us the way.
Your life purpose as a writer is to pour your heart-and-soul energy into telling stories. It’s an extremely important job. And the beautiful thing is that your stories can be about anything as long as they spring from your own unique, authentic voice. It doesn’t matter if you’re writing about slimy green space aliens with dozens of tentacles, or pirates who fall in love with princesses. If you’re writing as honestly as you can about the stories that show up inside your head, then you are doing your job on this planet extraordinarily well.
Your path is not the easiest path out there, and sometimes it won’t be very fun. A lot of other people won’t understand what you are, or why you are, or even the smallest thing about what you’re attempting to do. You’ll experience criticism, and rejection—probably a lot of rejection—and the never-ending worry of self-doubt. But you were called to be a writer because you were born with what it takes. Somewhere inside of you burns the creative desire, the grit and the guts you need, to walk such a challenging path.
Basically, it’s like you’re a warrior and a unicorn and a superhero all wrapped into one, with some bad days where you feel like you’re the ugly little hamster that no one wants to take home from the pet store.
Yeah, it’s that kind of challenging.
But you have it in you. You really do. And we’re in it together. That’s what’s so cool about there being so many other writers out there, and the publishing industry changing every day. You can choose to see these things as competition and proof of scarcity, or you can see them for what they really are—more people on planet earth who are kindred spirits to you, and more chances to find them. And let’s face it, as warrior-unicorn-superhero-hamsters, we always need to meet more of our own kind.
Stay the course. Keep writing. Believe in yourself.
Everything else is just details.
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