I was seven when I fell in love with storytelling. I devoured every book that I could lay my hands on and even tried to write some little stories myself. I still have those stories.
When I look at them now I can see the influence of the stories that I was reading at the time. Funny characters who lived in clouds. Adventures. Epic journeys. I was reading Enid Blyton and later, Tolkien.
As I matured, I continued to write and imagined myself into the future as a bestselling author of novels. My main objective was to write something significant that would resonate with my readers as much as any of the books that I respected. I loved the title of ‘writer’ and daydreamed about interviews about my latest release.
There is a dichotomy to writing. In order to get down to the storytelling, we need to check in with our creative, child self. Be vulnerable. This is the only way to really connect with our reader. The problem is that when it comes time to share the story quite often we feel very vulnerable about it. We start second-guessing what we’ve written and worry about the judgement that might follow. There’s a certain amount of confidence needed.
I was into my late thirties before I felt comfortable about my writing and was able to take criticism without feeling like my heart was being ripped out. I know this is true for many writers whether they are writing fact or fiction.
There’s another obstacle to writing. It’s hard work and we can only improve by writing. Writing a lot. Just like going to the gym, we need to build muscles. They don’t get strong after one week of training. So too our writing. We build on our skills.
So many writers think that they can write a novel and once they have that first draft out, it’s ready to publish. It can be very deflating and discouraging to learn that there’s still work to do.
What’s my point? It’s the link between what we expect of ourselves and the finished product. We need to allow ourselves the time to develop and improve our craft and not expect perfection in the beginning. The only way to get anywhere near perfection (and I don’t believe in perfection) is to write more. Write whenever you can. Don’t expect gold if you haven’t trained for it.
I’m conducting an experiment in book writing that might interest you. We’re going to work on this together, let go of expectations and just write!