Twelve years ago I graduated high school. Coming from a rural area there was not much emphasis on the creative as a means of income (apart from being a high school art teacher). I wanted to write stories and there wasn’t really much out there to help me do it. I had even gone to my guidance counsellor to help me get a real job.
But look at me now. I’m living in Scotland when I thought I’d never leave Australia. I had picked one of the more difficult life choices a person could make. The arts fields are always difficult to succeed in, let alone make money. But I’m slowing pushing out stories and I know it’s only a matter of time before I gain traction.
I think back to when I first finished school, I wonder how many people thought that I wouldn’t or couldn’t achieve my dreams. I also think about the life journeys my classmates (the ones I have kept track of) have made in the decade since. Some have become what they wanted, while others haven’t had their dreams materialise. Then there are those who have changed paths and become something completely different. But all are within the realm of real jobs and nothing that seems overly difficult.
The more I think about it, the more I can’t believe I’ve made it so far. I amaze myself. What would my life be if I never went to the counselor’s office or chosen to take a different path? Out of all the paths people could choose, I’m making headway in one that heads along a difficult trail.
At the age of 27 I think I can look back on my life with a little bit maturity and reflect on where my life has gone. Prior to graduating high school, I knew I wanted to be a writer but growing up in rural country town imprinted on me the idea of what a real job was. And it wasn’t something in the Arts.
I was not the only one who had a dream of having an artistic future. Another girl, B, got an early offer into NIDA, I think. I even remember one time in class we were talking about her future prospects. We weren’t nice about it, saying that she was never going to achieve her dreams. I wonder what my then friends said about my dreams behind my back?
B never did leave the state and lives only a few hours away in another town. Another friend of mine, L, left after graduation, but returned after a year and has never left. My mum remarked about her disappointment with L because she thought that she was smart and going to make something of herself. She was right when she said you don’t know who’s going to make it after high school.
I wonder now, however limited, what my former schoolmates think of me. Mostly they probably don’t. I was a very quiet child even then. I was once out with glandular fever for two weeks and some people didn’t even notice. Through the years I’ve seen what my former classmates have done, or not done. I have to say I was pretty consistent with what I wanted at the end of high school and what I’m doing now.
Since graduating I’ve been to four different universities, QUT, USC, UQ, UoM. Managed to get a husband and flown off with him the UK. Worked in curry house, found out that UK curries are way better than Australian curries. Self-published four stories. Come back to be disppointed with the price of everything in Australia 😦 And will be heading back off to the Netherlands by the end of the year 🙂
Do you think about how great your story is? How much you need to get it out into the world? How much money you’ll make? Does it just make you not write?
Well, maybe you need to be motivated by using the fear of punishment.
Imagine having written something that has gotten you a whole bunch one-star reviews. They’re saying that you got something wrong or that it’s just not good enough. You may even be lucky enough to get a youtube review saying it’s one of the worst books ever written.
But wait, that would mean you would have had to have written something first.
If you haven’t accomplished that goal yet then place yourself in this scenario.
Imagine never finishing even writing that book. Imagine never being the writer you wanted. Imagine that your creative side had been held hostage by the non-creatives of the world.
Feels like shit, doesn’t it?
Well, want to not feel shit? You need to sit down and write something. Use the fear of one-star reviews to force yourself to plot your story that extra bit. Do that twentieth draft, even though you just want to self-publish it anyway. If someone posts a youtube video complaining, then you know that their distaste is because of opinion and not your writing craft.
Use your fear of failure as fuel to light your passion for writing 🙂
I worry that what I write is not good enough, but I like writing, so I continue.