This blog is about writers but if you’re a different type of creative it applies to your world too. Pull up a chair. Grab a coffee. Enjoy.
Some good friends recently asked me to write a foreword for their novella which they’d just finished. You can grab yourself a copy over here, I would recommend it, but I won’t be reviewing, that would be very self-serving.
The foreword took some work, it was my first and so came with a big lump of uncertainty. What makes a good foreword? How do I even write one? Should I include my thoughts on the story? It’s themes? Characters? As it turns out, the heady mix of a deadline and caffeine resulted in a pretty good job. Well, I was happy and so were my friends.
Within the completed foreword is an idea which is, to me, the mantra of the writer. Or it should be.
Creation is an act of will
I’ve seen this idea elsewhere, it’s not an original thought. But it is, I think, fundamental to writing and the life we all lead.
Much is made of the propensity of the writer to procrastinate, to be a “plotter” or a “pantser” or similar. We discuss and lament our “ways”, a wry smile of recognition for those habits we see in ourselves or our peers.
Beyond that we critique, comment and discuss our work and that of others. We form groups of like-minded friends and discuss all the above. Chat, gossip and joke. It’s pretty busy.
Sometimes, we write.
We also struggle. Oh, it’s often a joke, or said to the world with an eye-roll. Sometimes it’s even called writers block.
I’ve seen many writers burn out, crash into depression or explode for all to see. The pressure of creating, real-life or a combination of both, gets too much. Then friends fall. Some we lose and will never hear their stories. Some take a break and come back changed. The lucky rise again and forge forward. Bloodied but unbowed.
Creation is an act of pure will and that ONLY comes from resolve and confidence. The writer must strive to move ever onward, to stumble, but not fall.
Often, it’s the unkind word, harsh review or self-doubt which decimates your confidence. Which strips that which we need most of all.
At some point we’ve all felt helpless, lost and incapable. The feeling of competence dies and, with it, resolve. Suddenly you can’t write any more. The story, planned or not, disappears. The characters seem flat, lifeless. Plus, it’s not like anyone would read this, right?
We falter. We stop.
It’s easier to “not” than to “fail”.
But if you don’t create then who will? Your story is yours alone. No-one else knows it, so no-one else will tell it. It will still be with you, just untold.
Whilst this may all sound very dramatic, and it is, what I want to say to you, is that you have a choice. You can do this. Others have before. More will after. But it’s your decision. You can spend your days reading all the advice you can find. Reading the words others have written before. Take courses. Discuss. Plan. Write. Blog.
But whatever you do, do it your way. Write what you need to. Say what you mean. In your time. In your style.
It doesn’t matter what others say or think.
Write for you and be proud of what you do.
Have the courage of your convictions and find confidence therein.
Even be a little arrogant; yes, others have written before you, but they’ve never written YOUR stories. Those are yours alone.
So, choose to be a writer.
Make that decision.
After all, creation is an act of will, so set your mind to it and then deliver on the decision. Every day. In every word.
Just remember, the choice to be a writer is yours…
…and so are the victories that it brings.