I've been allowing myself to feel defeated where writing is concerned. I've been questioning why I put myself through the vigors of writing. I've given myself all sorts of reasons why I can't do it, new job, 4 kids, church calling, hack writer, etc. Despite how often I tell you of my lows, I really do try to stay positive most of the time, but underneath my pseudo confidence lurk feelings of failure and inferiority. I've been praying about what I'm doing wrong. I've been needing guidance and inspiration. Yesterday, I got it!
I had the priviledge to attend ANWA's writer's conference. I found myself overwhelmed by emotions as I listened to different writer's discuss their own path's to being published. Their roads were filled with the same ups and downs I experience. And hearing them tell us to push through the hard times and encourage us to continue, brought me near to tears everytime. The dream sometimes seems too far out of reach for me but yesterday it felt a little closer. I'm going to touch a little bit on each of the speakers that touched and inspired me. I will focus on just one of the speakers today, next Sunday I will share more.
Our keynote speaker was J. Scott Savage, author of the Farworld Series. He talked about what holds us back from achieving our dreams. After going through several things we use as excuses he finally hit on the real answer, what holds us back is OURSELVES!! I've know this about me and I think I thought it was only me that held myself back, it was kind of a relief to know I'm not the only one. He talked about focusing on the things we can control, like doing our very best. He also cautioned us against comparing ourselves to others. We can't fall for the following thoughts:
-My story stinks (everyone feels this way at some point, don't let a stinky story stop you)
-I'm better/worse than... When we read, don't compare, ask yourself what did or didn't work
-I could never...write like this, or create that. Focus on what you can do
-I didn't get... he said lots of published writers fall for this one. They feel jipped if their publisher gives more publicity or attention to another writer. You can't control this, don't let it be your excuse to give up.
-That was my idea... by now must of us know that it's not the ideas that are original but the executing.
Another thing he mentioned that really resonated with me and brought me to near tears was when he talked about recognizing the approach of dawn. Sometimes we are "Dancing in the Dark" (a song by Bruce Springsteen about writer's block) and we want to give up. That is when we need to recognize that the dawn is approaching and we just need to hang in there a little longer. He compared it to climbing a mountain. When you first start something new the path is clear and we are excited. The higher we climb the less clear it is. Our frustration builds as we near the next level. The urge to quit is a sign that we have reached the top level of our growth. We need only keep going to reach the glorious top. He ended by admonishing us to allow ourselves to succeed.