When I started this journey toward being a published author, I was scared and uncertain. Ignorant of a lot of the things I needed to know to make this journey.
I could have let that fear stop me. I could have told myself “You’ll never be good enough.” “You’ll never get published, so why even try?”
But I didn’t.
I’ve never once thought that way, even when others were putting me down, telling me my writing was no good.
Instead, I made a promise to myself that I was just going to keep trying, keep doing what I knew how to do, keep trying new things, putting out the work, learning what I needed to learn however I could, and let everything happen as it would.
I knew I couldn’t force anyone to like what I wrote. I couldn’t predict what would sale or not. I couldn’t read anyone’s mind. I couldn’t control the “forces that be”.
All I could do is keep on writing. Words on the page. Story after story after story.
I had a professor in architecture school that made us come up with 50 ideas for a project in 24 hours. We would stay up all night eeking out marginal ideas, trying not to repeat ourselves. The next day he would mark how many we got in his book by our name, throw everything in the trash, and ask for 25 ideas by the next day.
He repeated this exercise for the first week, lowering the number each day until by Friday we had to have 5 ideas presented. When we showed up for class on Friday, he carted us off to the union for a coke and chin-wag.
At the end of class he said, “Now that you all have all those crappy ideas out of the way, I want one good idea for Monday. Now go home and sleep.”
Now, obviously everything we did wasn’t crap. Somewhere in all those ideas we managed to meld together bits and pieces into something that was … better … workable.
And by Monday we all had our own unique ideas on how to meet the demands of the project.
Writing is the same way.
Put the words on the page. One story becomes two stories becomes three stories. Part of one works, part of another fails. And in time we figure out how to put it together into something that works.
But if you never do the work, you’ll never find that place.
Words on the page, no matter what.