Sunshine & Chocolate & Everything Writing

Writing as if I have something to say.

Teaching myself a lesson

Posted by Line Larsen on September 13, 2008

I’m ambivalent today. My manuscript pulls me in, holds me tight and then pushes me away.

My whole life I have been told by loving family and friends that I have a talent, something I should pursue. A goal I need to work towards.

At the back of my mind, though, I have a nagging thought. You know those people you see during the first round of auditions on Idol? Their crow-like voices, their horrible moves and their amusing persistence. I have laughed at them in the past, but now I feel an odd form of sympathy.

Who will tell you when enough is enough?

Being able to surround yourself with supportive people is a blessing, for the most part. Unfortunately it can also shield you from the world and the harsh reality. Some professions require both a basic talent and amazingly hard work on the part of the performer. Writing, singing, dancing, painting; any form of art really. There’s just a few who truly have what it takes.

Write because you love it and for no other reason, and you’ll be fine. Write because you love it and some day wish to be published, wish to live off of it, wish to be appreciated by many, and you face a problem.

How do you know what to aim for?

Dreams are different. Dreams are fluff, they’re beautiful and radiant and far away. Goals, however, goals are meant to be reached some time. They have a time line and are marked off with red somewhere on your mental calendar. It might be two months or five years from now, the point is that you’ll work towards it. You’ll put time and effort into it. You’ll probably make sacrifices to get there. Yet, there is no guarantee.

So, when is it time to re-adjust your goals according to your level of skill or talent?

Firstly, you have to face reality whatever it takes. Where are you at now? What are you missing? What can you do to improve? Look at successful authors. How does your skill level compare to theirs? Be truthful! You don’t have to tell anyone else, but tell yourself. Do you have a long way to go? That’s okay! Just admit it and start your journey.

Share what you write, listen to what people say and consider their opinion carefully. Some have valuable input, some do not. If there is any way you can get advice from professionals, do it! Ask for constructive criticism and listen to every single thing they have to say. Don’t lose yourself in the process, but don’t make excuses for yourself and your writing.

Now it’s time to evaluate. Where are your weak points? How do they compare to your goal? Can you get there in the end?

That’s the crucial question. Do you feel your ambition is within reach? In the end, only you can know when enough is enough; when it costs too much, when you have unrealistic expectations of yourself.

For some, this point isn’t even reached when they are being laughed at by millions on international TV. I promise myself to quit way ahead of that.


2 Responses to “Teaching myself a lesson”

  1. Jane said

    I clicked and read about you.
    I read your piece about self analysis regarding the need to write.
    I also have been writing since I was very young.
    I have done a little living then you, but then I am a little older.
    While the fire of passion burns then I continue to write. Sometimes that fire is covered over to keep the embers alive, then uncovered and blown upon, gently at first; then with more intensity.

    I write because I must. Will someone publish what I write? I don’t know, I hope so. While I live I write.
    (I do have a small team of readers, who encourage me, while pointing out the glaring errors.)

    keep on keeping on.

  2. Thank you for your words of encouragement and for reading my entries.

    You made me consider giving myself a break for a little while. Sometimes it is necessary, I guess.

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