Take It Seriously

“So, what’s your book about?” they asked as we tromped along in the woods with the rest of the group.


Being the awkward introvert I am, absolutely incapable of answering any such question of high probing in less than two hours, I gave up and said, “Oh it’s stupid.”

My face pounded with worry that I was actually not such a great writer as I had previously hoped, and as we continued along, my embarrassment was becoming more evident.


“Really? So what’s it about?” they continued to poke around in my sacred thoughts which had never been disclosed to the general public before, not even on my beloved blog. <<(a very subtle link there)


I tried the best I could. “It’s about this guy, and he has this wife and a son, and they find out that there have been a lot of ship disappearances, and the guy finds this secret diary that talks about this new continent they’ve never heard of or discovered before, and his son gets kidnapped because the wife’s brother betrayed them because he is working for this bad company that had burned the husband’s house down when he was little and kidnapped the twin brother, and the wife discovers that her father is bad and had kidnapped the long lost brother, so the guy goes and discovers the continent and gets captured and finds out that the bad company had been kidnapping all the people who found it - that’s why the ships kept disappearing - and there’s a war and the brother sacrifices his life for them and they somehow win and they inherit the continent..yeah… It’s dumb.”


“Yeah it is,” they agreed.


Oh.


Okay… Well there goes my writing career. I was not expecting them to actually agree with me.


Trying not to cower like the withering leaves crunching underneath my feet, I halfheartedly laughed, but the happy-go-lucky mood of the hike was over and I couldn’t bring myself to work on my book for weeks after that. Months.


Has this ever happened to you? Something like this, anyway, where you question your ability as a writer and plaster on a smile trying to think it doesn’t matter? Or where someone asks you what your book is about, and it suddenly sounds stupid to say out loud? You feel unimportant, and just want them to forget it?


It’s a fatal thing to happen to a writer. It’s probably bound to happen, I’m sad to say. The best way to combat this terrible tragedy, to stand strong under the pressure of those unintentional people probably just trying to be nice? The answer is simple.


Take yourself seriously.


Because sometimes, or in my case anyway, they will just go along with whatever you say. If you say it’s not important, they’ll agree. If you have the mindset it doesn’t matter, they’ll think it doesn’t matter. If you say your writing is stupid, there’s really nothing they can do to make it not stupid.


But you can. If you take it seriously, there’s a much likelier chance they will. If you make it a top priority in your life, and don’t just keep it on the backburner, if you take it seriously, more people will come to realize you are actually a writer.


  1. Be a writer - like right now


I always thought I had to be a writer when I grew up -  that was my lifelong dream.


But I realized that .. If you write, then you are a writer.


Actively writing, anyway.


I wasn’t really writing back then in the days of my youth, I just had a few stories under my belt and a few ideas for the future, mostly just a long-term goal. I would just write when I felt like it. But you know by now probably, don’t just write when you feel like it! Do olympics gymnastic people just write when they feel like it? Probably not. They are strong in their practicing and do it day and night, night and day. Be strong like them (and don’t wither like a leaf like I did.)


Are you writing right now? Are you practicing? Do you have it on the back of your mind, notebooks by your side, ideas popping to and fro? Whatever you do, just write. Cause to be a writer, you need to write. Then you can say, “I am a writer,” and no one can stop you.


I’m gonna say it.


I am a writer.


  1. Show yourself


Prove yourself that you can do hard things. If you’re a lazy bum and don’t work hard in school, slacking off and lying on the couch all day, people like your parents/mentors are less likely to want to talk to you about new opportunities (writing classes, workshops, publishing, blogs, even buying new books for you, etc) because you aren’t trustworthy in the rest of your life. (not taking out the trash, getting an F in algebra class, etc).


They probably won’t let you write if you don’t get the other stuff in your life done.


Also, if you aren’t taking the rest of your life seriously and working hard in those areas, your writing will probably follow suit. You won’t have any experience. So kids, practice being consistent and diligent in whatever you do!  Show yourself. Show that you can actually live and be responsible and still stick in time for your writing, and take it seriously while you do it. People actually notice this stuff, guys. :)


  1. It’s your job


Even if you’re awkward, even if you can’t explain your book perfectly out loud, or even if you’re embarrassed to show someone your blog (even though it’s online!!), don’t give up. Even if you take your writing seriously and people still think it’s stupid, don’t be discouraged.


Don’t be depressed as I was, thinking I wasn’t a real writer after all. Thinking my book is unimportant and trash and telling other people that it was.


Think of it as your job, as something that fits into your schedule everyday. When I do chores at home, it’s not fun and all I want to do is slack off and gorge into a lot of chocolate and laziness. But when I’m at an actual job, I feel all cool. I feel majestic, honored, heroic to be the chosen one upon whose shoulders this job has been placed. Do that for your writing - make it your job. Do it everyday with the confidence and awesomeness of a job. You’re a real writer, I don’t care if you get paid or not. It’s your job basically. You need to do it, because no one else can write the words you are going to say. (unless you plagiarize, but..just don’t.) You’re a writer. Just write.


Even if no one else reads it, it’s good for you to write consistently and to improve more as you go along. Even if my little book of hopes and dreams never gets published, the next one could be! Ya know those people you admire, those famous authors you would love to meet? They could’ve been you before.


“A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” ~ Richard Bach


And you could be them someday. (When you’re a famous author, just think, all of a sudden those people won’t think your writing is stupid anymore!)


So what do you do next time you’re going along in those woods, struggling to push back the embarrassment of talking about your little novel that you had formerly loved and cherished, but all of a sudden it seems like the most childish thing ever in the world? Don’t quit. You’re a writer! Go out, hold your head high (however red and blushy and pounding your face may be) and take yourself seriously.

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