We expose ourselves in our stories. The thoughts, feelings, and ideas explored in our works of fiction come from inside us, sometimes so deep inside we’re unaware of how much we’ve revealed about who we are and what lies within.
When we contemplate sending our work out into the world, fears and insecurities can creep in. Others might be unable to appreciate our vivid descriptions or admire our cleverly worded dialogue. They could say unkind things—or even laugh. Our confidence could be shaken, our hope crushed.
However, the fact that we examine our work and question the fruits of our creative outbursts is cause for rejoicing. Those who can’t see any weaknesses in what they’ve written are destined to remain at the same level. Those of us who are able to pass a critical eye over our stories and see room for improvement will improve.
We’re not content with mediocre work. We want to write the best possible stories we can and will push ourselves to the next level . . . and the next. We’ll study craft, undertake rigorous self-edits, and invite feedback from trusted partners. And we’ll make progress.
Another reason for rejoicing in our ability to view our work, warts and all, and accept the fact that it’s not where we want it to be is that we’ve produced something with promise. Sure, it isn’t what we want it to be, but we’ve infused it with life, with feeling. After all, it made us feel something.
That something might begin as negative, but as we massage the words and mold them into a pleasing form, those feelings will change, as feelings have a way of doing. When we keep writing through our down times, we’ll watch our stories take shape, grow, and become more than we imagined. And we’ll experience the outgrowth of creative endeavor: joy.
When I read the comments on my post about overcoming self-defeating thoughts, I was encouraged. I saw one writer after another who has what it takes to succeed. Despite feeling down at times, you don’t give in. You go on day after day, week after week in pursuit of a dream—a wonderful, enriching, life-affirming dream that was birthed in the depths of your being. I applaud you and anticipate celebrating many successes with you in the near future.
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What do you see as hidden benefits of weathering the down times?
What has continuing to write even when you don’t feel like it taught you?