I always thought that real writers wrote for The New Yorker because it was well respected.
When I first got into reading and writing, I, of course, wanted to be the best the first day I started. So I quickly started looking at publications where I could mine some greatness of those who did it better and sooner than I.
I read some of the works of what grew to be favorites like Junot Diaz and Ta-Nehisi Coates.
And then soon realized that it was much harder than I imagined to write well.
I thought I could do overnight what my writing heroes took years to perfect and craft. Yeah, I was an arrogant young dude. I didn’t stop though. I kept trying to write really shitty fiction. One day, I even submitted a story to a publication. Pretty sure it wasn’t The New Yorker because I don’t wanna give this place any extra publicity. I’ll be a star, you’ll see.
Anyway, it took me a while to learn, I don’t need anyone to approve my being a writer. I just need to decide. I need to make the firm decision that this is what I’m going to do and feel that strong inclination that it’s the right thing for me. Now, it’s still never that easy. I struggled to piece together my self-esteem every time I sought to write something. Mostly it was crappy. Every now and again, I’d find a sentence or phrase to fall in love with. But that was about the extent of it. I kept at it, but I didn’t want to have a profession that dictated what I wrote. I wanted to have full control of my subject matter and angle.
By far though, writing has been one of the most humbling life challenges I’ve had. Because it’s taught me so much about myself and the type of person I am. It is the obstacle and the way for me. Because I know how much I’ve grown and can continue to grow if I keep on this path. It just really isn’t fun sometimes to dig into my mind and work four to five hours with no reward in sight. Only to be reminded that the act of it all is the reward. This is the beach. This is the dream, the vacation. I get to make my own way. And I have no one but myself to blame if I don’t succeed. What a great pity and joy to be in the midst of.
What always killed me about writing was that the longer I did it and do it, it still doesn’t come easier to me. I don’t know if I’m not fully practicing and immersing myself in the craft enough. But I was an overachiever in school. And it’s quite different to be in the position of being behind the curve and not seeing the leaps in results.
Writing has taught me to let go of myself.
To not take myself too seriously.
It’s almost like a game. You want to be fully invested and committed to the things you believe in, but also, you don’t want to drain the joy out of life by preying on the outcome.
You know that you’ll be given what you want, in only a matter of time if work at it, pray on it, meditate on it, and make it a priority.
It will pay you back, tenfold.
But first, you must get through the humble humiliation.
You must endure your impatience.