Small Things With Great Love
I used to dream of writing a great book. I wanted to be like Madeline L'Engle or Gail Carson Levine and win the Newbery with my first novel.
That ambition served me to a point. I worked hard, learned the craft, and demanded quality writing from myself. But aspiring to glory had a high cost.
When I think I have to be a great writer, it splits my artist's soul into two parts, one part pretending that I am great and the other part afraid that I'm no good at all. The higher my false image of my greatness, the deeper becomes my fear.
How can I write anything honestly while I suffer from this double-vision? It makes it hard to see my work clearly and to take comments from readers. Sometimes I can't get a single sentence down on the paper because I feel it has to be brilliant the first time it comes out. Even worse, this fear and this pretense makes it hard to enjoy reading because I compare myself to the other writer, trying to prove I'm better but afraid I'm not.
So I no longer want to write a great book. As Mother Teresa said, "In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love."
My new goal - to write a small book with great love. If I write a book not because I have to prove anything, but as an act of love and sharing, then all the fear and pretense go away. I can enjoy writing, enjoy reading what I write, enjoy reading what other people write, and celebrate everyone's success as we use the divine spark of creativity that is in us. Because of all the wonderful books I've read, and all the time and love the writers put in to creating them, I want to give too. I want to write my own small books with great love.
-Rebecca J. Carlson