Thoughts of a wanna-be author and student.

March 15, 2011

I Believe

As humans, we all get our doubts. It's a perfectly natural occurrence--one that I'm sure we'd all like to get rid of at times--and for some of us it happens a lot more often than we'd like. I know I'm one of that group. As writers, most of our doubts are pinpointed to the heart of our literary livelihood. Our stories. What if it doesn't sell? What if the chapters don't flow? Who besides my mom and dog (or cat for you cat lovers) will read this pile of words?! We all have our moments. (Don't try and say you don't.)

Comparing ourselves to others makes it worse. Not talking about it makes it worse. Butchering your manuscript for no reason makes it worse. Doubt is one of those monsters that gets fed by everything. 

And what makes it even worse? Someone telling you that you aren't good enough. This is the one thing as a writer--no, as a person--that I can't stand. No one, absolutely NO ONE, has the right to tell you that you suck. I don't care if they're a published author, editor, agent or whatever. I don't care if they're a chef, a world renown musician, a business tycoon, the president, your mom or your dad. I don't care. 

Your story can have more commas than words. (Though I hope it doesn't) It could have the blandest plot in the history of plots. Your characters can be 1D Marysue's. You don't suck.

One time when I was naive and a lot more selfish, I was with my niece (yes, my lovely niece pops up again!) and my mom. We were at some sort of parking lot--the details of this are fuzzy--and the radio was on. I was singing along to the song no where near perfectly and my niece started mumbling along to it, too. She was imitating me and at age four her adorable attempts at following the song were... well, I'm sure you can imagine. Me, in all my bitchy teenage glory told her to: "Stop singing. You aren't doing it very good."

........ Yeah. I told my niece--at FOUR-YEARS-OLD--that she wasn't good.

It took her until she was seven to start singing in front of me again. After lots of encouragement (because I realized what a douche move that was after the fact (and because my mom chewed me out for it)) she finally loosened up enough to do it. I could've made my niece never sing again. What if she grew up and had a beautiful voice? One that she was too afraid to use because I'd told her she couldn't carry a tune right at a whopping 4 years old.

Not saying everyone is like this, but you never know! You really just never know who's dream or future you could be killing when you say those fateful words.

So, no matter what anyone says--no matter what that little bastard in the back of your head says--You don't suck. 

You're not perfect. You might need a refresher in some of the basics of English. You might need to plot and re-plot for months. You might need to re-write your story sixteen plus times. You still don't suck.

That old adage "Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me."? Utter crap. Words are worse than sticks and stones. Be careful how you use them. You wouldn't want someone to kill your dreams, so why kill someone else's? 

Exception being if they dream on being a crazy, muggle-hating megalomaniac or any other such varieties.

Believe in yourself and believe in others. Sometimes, you might be the only person that does--and you don't know how much that could impact their life and yours.