In 2010, I started writing my own teen novel. I worked on it for a long time and then eventually felt like it was terrible and it would never get published, or even finished.
I read so many better things around me and knew so many writers that were exceedingly better than I was.
Last week, I opened it back up again. I began rewriting it, adding detail and changing certain situations. I was fully immersed in it. It brought me joy again.
In sixth grade I got my first guitar. I loved it. I wrote terrible songs with my friends and then we would stand by our tree and sing them during school breaks. It never led anywhere but eventually my songs got better and I could do it on my own.
Recently I’ve had a really hard time playing my guitar and writing songs. Even looking at my guitar across the room makes me feel guilty for not touching it. I have a hard time because I don’t want anyone to hear me. There is a much better guitar player in the house and I think sometimes I’m just too intimidated to write my songs that consist of four chords.
So I haven’t.
Sometimes I think we allow others success to scare us out of our own.
I spent almost all of college feeling like I couldn’t be a writer because it was somebody else’s thing. They were a terrific writer and I sucked, or at least felt like I did.
But when we put the pressure of others success on ourselves, it scares us out of trying.
At least it scared me out of trying.
Instead of asking my friend to read my writing and help me become better, I just stopped writing.
I became too prideful. If I couldn’t be great at it on my own then I wasn’t going to do it at all.
I’m scared of criticism, even if it’s constructive, especially if it’s constructive.
But here I am again, writing. I’m writing because I love it. Because I love creating things.
If I love something, I’m not going to stop because someone else does it better. There’s always going to be someone that does something better.
The only difference is that they aren’t me. They don’t want to say what I want to say.
They don’t want to sing how I want to sing, or play guitar.
No one can do what I do, because no one is me, but me.
I can keep doing what I love and continue to get better.
Or I can stop everything because I think that I’m not good enough, based on someone else’s years of practice.
These are the things that time has taught me.