While surfing Pinterest I saw a gem of an image that really struck me. I immediately repinned it and even saved a copy of this image directly to my laptop.
This quote really hit me, because I accept the truth and reality of it.
The stuff I wrote in grade school sucks. The stuff I wrote in high school sucks. The stuff I wrote in my mid 20’s sucks and the stuff I’m writing now sucks.
In the past, knowing that my writing sucked is what eventually made me quit. When I read through all of my old writings, even in the privacy of my own home, my face reddens and I am actually embarrassed for myself! I can’t stand reading my old writing. It’s almost like seeing a badly taken picture of yourself, listening to the sound of your own voice, or watching yourself on an old family video. You can’t help but be embarrassed because all you see is the negative, even while your loved ones are cooing over how cute you were.
I am just as embarrassed of my old writing as I am of the middle school picture that flaunts my super fabulous 90’s hair style, my flashy braces, and the smug look on my face that screams ‘I’m a teenager and I know everything.’ But just as that old picture is a piece of my history, so is my old writing. It’s a part of me; a window into who I was at the time I wrote it, and although I’m not particularly proud of the things I did (or wrote) in the past, it did make me who I am today; and I am proud of that. The same goes for my old writing.
What kept me coming back to writing, and has brought me back now, is that I’ve always enjoyed it. For some reason I find particular pleasure with discovering the right grammar and sentence structure to ensure that the reader can paint the same picture in their mind that I do in mine. When written well, these things come together to tell us a story that finds a way to burrow into our hearts and become a part of us. I think the telltale sign of a great writer is when your audience genuinely reflects on what they have read and starts applying it to their own lives. Much like the phrase “What would Jesus do?”, to the reader it becomes “What would Harry Potter do?”, “What would Katniss do?”, or “What would Gandalf say?” When your reader starts looking up to your characters, modeling themselves after them, and even naming their children after them; you know you’ve made your mark on the world.
It will take time, and a lot of really sucky writing, but I will get better; and eventually I will have someone read my work and think, “Wow, I’d love to read more.” Just think, maybe someone will read all the stuff that sucks and say to themselves, “If she can suck that bad and still keep writing, then so can I.” I think that may be my ultimate goal: To show someone that I suck and learned from it, and inspire them to do the same.