My drug of choice is writing––writing, art, reading, inspiration, books, creativity, process, craft, blogging, grammar, linguistics, and did I mention writing?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Quotes on Tenacity and Resiliance

Motivational Posters for Writers:
Often replacing key words with "write" is necessary.
One of my friends is going through a tough time.  Someone gave something she'd written some pretty devastating feedback--the kind of feedback that has very little to do with the writing itself and everything to do with an attempt to hurt the writer as a person.

It's tough not to internalize those kinds of things. Humans can hear good feedback a hundred times, but they'll fixate on the one bad.  We all know the stereotype of the devastating hottie who is told she's beautiful ten times an hour but fixates on the one comment about the size of her earlobes or something.  We probably know someone like that.  And it's funny (sort of) because it's true.

The fear that we are talentless hacks is always out there.  Every good writer has it.  (It's the ones that don't have it that you have to worry about--writing two or three books a year and self publishing without an editor.  ~shudder!~)  It lurks just past any sense of self esteem a writer may have developed, waiting to strike....ever patient. Authors with multiple best sellers and critical accolades often report that they still have days where they feel like a huge sham and that someone is going to see through their bullshit at any moment.

You'll never get over it.  Just let go of the thought that you ever will. You'll never get that MFA and feel like you're officially a writer.  You'll never publish that one last story that finally slays this demon once and for all.  There's no bellwether of arrival into the great club of "Writers" (tm), and no Rubicon to cross dividing the lands with and without self doubt.  You just have a long, slow, metamorphosis in which--within moments of quiet self-reflection--you'll realize that these feelings are happening with less frequency and strength.

But you just gotta keep going, though the knowledge that you are just starting, through being an amateur, through the feeling that you would rather play video games today, through the idea that writing as work would "taint" your joyous art into "a chore," through the feeling that you suck beyond the telling of it, through the loving half smiles your friends and family give you when you ask what they think of your novel, through the deep sighs of professors and published authors when you ask if you have a shot, through the feeling that everyone complimenting you is just being nice, through the rejection letters, through the bad reviews, and even through the occasional comment from cowards who don't have the courage to tell you to your face that what they probably really hate is themselves for giving up a lot sooner than you did.

Because, here's the thing, and I know of no way to get around it.  This shit hurts.  It hurts BAD. It hurts worse than root canals.    It hurts like that first real break up.  It hurts like an eight year marriage ending in infidelity.  And there's nothing in the fucking universe thing that's going to make you want to stand back up and keep going...

...unless not writing hurts even more.

You don't start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it's good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That's why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.

Octavia Butler

You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.
Maya Angelou

Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and Determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “Press On” has solved and will always solve the problems of the human race.

Calvin Coolidge

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