Many of us who sit down to write do so because we feel compelled to in some way, whether it be out of enthusiasm for things that we've read, a passion for sharing knowledge, or some other force that has driven us to create. However powerful that driving force may be, as things become difficult—and in the endurance race that is writing, they do become difficult—it's all too easy to lose sight of them.
Following up on Writer's Connect Issue 92, we're here to tell how (and why) you should hold onto them for dear life.
This post brought to you by guest blogger Tyrone Couch.
Create or Be Destroyed
Relax—this is not a threat!
It's a promise.
... Jokes aside, there is a nugget of truth in this sentiment. When we forsake a challenging pursuit like writing, it's usually not to free ourselves up to challenge ourselves in other ways; on the contrary, it's to avoid having to challenge ourselves at all.
In doing so, it's not all that inaccurate to say that our creative self (and anything we would've gone onto create) is destroyed. Instead of seeing things through to the end, we content ourselves (or at the very least convince ourselves we're content) with engaging with the work of others instead, resigning ourselves to thoughts like 'I wish I could do that', or 'I'll never be that good'.
And if you give up now, you'll probably be right.
There's a saying that the pain of regret is twice that of the pain of discipline. Don't allow yourself to be tempted away from your path by temporary relief and cheap thrills—stay the course, and you'll thank yourself for it later!
Even if your chosen subject matter doesn't deal with your demons directly, they have a way of manifesting themselves in your writing. Even in the abstract, writing can provide you with a positive outlet for difficult thoughts and emotions you might otherwise struggle to express. They may not end up in the final draft, or you may not have to write about them at all; sometimes, all it takes is sitting with them and thinking things over, which is an opportunity that writing can provide.
The benefits of writing don't end there. The act alone combines the universally nourishing exercises of working towards something, pursuing something you're passionate about, and expressing yourself creatively into a single activity. Sure, it can be difficult (and even stressful at times), but that only gives you another opportunity to overcome adversity and another reason to feel good about yourself.
All in all, writing can do a world of good for your emotional wellbeing and sense of self-worth. The beauty of all this—supposing you make it to the finish line!—is that once you've taken the time to put it all into words, you can share the results of that process with others, which can be of use to them on their path as well.
Of course, not every writer's goal is simply to entertain or inform. It could be that there's a cause or ideal that's incredibly important to you, and is something you want to spread or otherwise share with others. Maybe you've had some personal insights from your own experiences that you haven't found reflected elsewhere, or think would be beneficial for others to hear.
Though there is much about the human experience that is shared between us all, our lives and individual circumstances are vastly different from one another. The popular literature that is readily available on any given subject often has a catch-all approach that speaks to the more common of these circumstances, and there is merit in that ... but there are those of us who slip through the cracks, and struggle to find the right representation of ourselves and our unique experience in the media.
This is where you come in.
Even if the majority of what you have to say echoes what others have said before, there may well be something in the tapestry of your experience that accounts for that missing piece in someone else's. Some people spend their entire lives without having certain thoughts, feelings, or beliefs validated in that way, so being able to provide that for someone is very special indeed. Perhaps that very lack is what drove you to speak out about it, and the feedback from your readers will be what provides it for you!
A Dull and Rusted Blade
There are few things in life that are quite as demoralising as regret. Once the moment has passed, there's no way to get it back, and having to face that fact can be quite painful.
One of the most common regrets that people have later in life is not finding their way to their passions sooner ... but the good news is that as long as you're still around, it's never too late to start. To give yourself the best chance of getting off the ground running, sign up for one of our book coaching & writing programs!
For more tips in your inbox every fortnight, be sure to subscribe to Writer's Connect (at the bottom of the page).
Word of the Day
A tumult can be either a loud, discordant sound (often generated by a large group of people) or a state of confusion and disarray.
When the alarm sounded, the tumult of the crowd echoed out into the street.
He lost his father last year, and has been in a tumult ever since.
"All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. For the first couple years you make stuff, it's just not that good. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you."
~ Ira Glass
A selection of current writing competitions YOU can enter!
A NOTE ON WRITING COMPETITIONS
Look over the fine print to make sure that your submission qualifies and you're happy with the terms of engagement.
The Australian Society of Authors has a highly informative post on their website called 'What to look for in a writing competition's T&Cs' .
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