I often feel like I’m in a race against time with my career. Despite the fact that I’ve been writing since I was 18, I have little to show for it in terms of work I’m proud of. Some of it has to do with me leaving projects before their final revisions, but for the most part, it’s that the final products I have don’t meet the vision I had in mind when I started writing. Most of my projects have gone this route:
The idea: amazing!
The writing: hard, but I’m holding out that it’s going to be amazing!
Final draft: Not amazing, but still pretty good!
Submissions to festivals, contests and job openings: Rejection. Not amazing.
Having the thick skin to accept rejection is a prerequisite for being a writer, but accepting it doesn’t mean it doesn’t faze you. It’s disheartening to go through this process year after year, and I often wonder how much longer I’ll be able to stomach being told my hard work isn’t the great idea I had in my head.
My college writing professor once told my class, “Any time you feel writer’s block, it’s probably because you’re focusing too much on how good you want the writing to be as opposed to just doing the work.” I think it’s the most valuable thing I learned in school, because it clarified for me the difficulty of being a writer. You need to write a great thing, but it won’t happen if you think too much about how great it should be.
Instead of scrolling Facebook to delay yourself from trying to meet your great idea, throw yourself at your idea. You may not succeed, but you will have written.