Yet another amazing topic to discuss today, from the great writerly peeps over at Paper Hangover:
What are FIVE excuses you have to be ready to give up in order to be a better writer?
This one was a tough one for me - hence my long-winded answers below. But sometimes it takes writing things out, to attack them face on. Grip them by the horns and slam them to the ground. And when you read my #5, you'll know why I took on this challenge of facing some of my excuses.
1. Maybe I'll never be good enough. Yikes, nothing like a biggun, right off the bat, right? But here's the deal: while I know this mostly isn't true, otherwise I wouldn't have spent 30+ years writing, there are those days when I absolutely, unequivocally, feel this way. What writer doesn't struggle with this internal conflict (aside from many others)? But like many things I do in life, I take on writing as a challenge. The more I work at it, the better it will become. But I have to work hard. Because the craft of writing only gets better as you go. And the amount of things I'm still learning, never ceases to amaze me. So while I'll have "those days" - I know I've had more that told me I will be good enough. Which means in the end, I like my odds.
2. I have to know somebody, in order to make it. While I can guarantee it doesn't hurt knowing somebody in the writing business - or even knowing somebody, who knows somebody else - it doesn't always mean it's the only way. What it does mean, is I need to put myself out there even more. Network, blog, go to conferences, even tweet - in other words, market my own self (I am after all, in Marketing for my day-paying job, I should know how to do this!). I have the ability to meet people. I am not shy by any means, I have no issues speaking to people I don't know or just met - and in fact, I've met quite a few amazing writerly people over the years, building up a fantastic spider web of allies, because I wasn't afraid to talk to them. And while I won't look a gift horse in the mouth, I sure hope it's my writing that ends up getting me published one of these days, not because I knew somebody, who knew somebody.
3. I don't have the time to write. I often think this as I walk by my den, my lap top patiently waiting there for me to come in and play. But more often than not, I have to keep walking by. From when I get up in the morning, to when I get home at the end of my work day, I've been gone for almost 14 hours. Then there's the gym and making dinner, both of which I often neglect - at least more than I should. By that point, it's roughly 9:30pm at night; that's when I march up to my lonely lap top and start writing or editing or connecting with things I may have missed during the day. Sure I've spent all hours of the night writing before - and on more occasions than my body is happy about, I've heard my alarm clock going off, to wake me up for work (which completely sucks by the way, cause if I'm up that late / early, I'm on a roll!). But what this all means, is something else has to give. On the days I'm writing / editing, it usually means the conversations with my husband consist of 3-4 word sentences. Whatever book I might be reading, will continue to sit there waiting for me to read. But what helps me decide what's going to give and what's not? My passion for writing and my dream to become published. And someday, the thought of not having to decide on most of the above, because I'll be a full-time writer...will make it all worth it.
4. There are other things I need to focus on. I work in the marketing department for T-Mobile - been there for over 4 years, creatively making everything in our Retail stores, coordinate with the wonderful color of magenta. And in case you haven't heard the news, AT&T will be buying us...or so, they're trying. Without getting too much into the details I shant speak about, we've been told it should take upwards of 12-16 months for anything to happen. But the reality is, everyone is most likely out of a job, when all is said and done. I'm anxious about what I'll do next - and the urge to hurry up and find something new, so I'm not the last man standing, is huge. But... What if I took this time to really get things in shape with my writing? While I won't neglect the inevitable of what needs to be done so there's food on the table and wireless for my lap top - maybe this is also the time to do things I made so many other excuses about (Ha! There they are again!). I could take writing classes. I could go to writing conferences. The list is endless. Yeah, I may be out of a job within the year, but I may also find that dream agent if I actually take the time. And there in lies my answer to what I need to focus on. It's what has been my passion since I was 4 years old - and finally here's the proverbial kick in the pants I need, to actually do something about it.
5. The inevitable "But...". I can think of a million reasons to say this one teeny-tiny word. But what if I suck? But what if I can't find an agent? But what if I'm not funny enough? But what about this, but what about that? Which makes me wanna shake my own self silly sometimes! Stop vacillating! Are you in or are you out? Pick a side and stick to it. Stop making excuses. Can I do this? Yes. Do I have thick enough skin? It will be hard, but yes I do. How many years am I willing to go? Whatever it takes. I am a competitor. I love the thrill of the hunt. I love the challenge of No. And I hate to lose. So instead of saying to myself, "But..." I should ask myself the more important question: Am I game? And the answer without a doubt? Sha! Bring. It.
Excuses, excuses. We all have them - what are yours? And more importantly, what are you going to do about them? Are you game?