On Being a “Writer” (part 6: “The Amateur” and Approval)

This is not my first foray into the blog world. I started a crusade blog last year and it nearly ate me alive. The blog lived a short life, and I extinguished it within the first two weeks. Today is a particularly important day for me because it marks two weeks together, and I feel very differently than I did last time.

I recently read, “The War of Art,” by Steven Pressfield. Without looking for it, this book became one of the first reasons I got back into all this. I suppose you could classify his short work as “self help.” I didn’t even know I needed it. Pressfield surprised me. I surprised myself. Not only did these words touch me, I willingly received them. For those who don’t know me well, I can be rather obstinate and oppositional.

Pressfield writes, “[an amateur] takes external criticism to heart, allowing it to trump his own belief and his work.” This is exactly where I went wrong. I couldn’t handle criticism…neither the negative nor the positive. I attribute this to a deep uncertainty in my own center. What was the root of this imbalance?

I wrote to impress, not to express.

It was true, I was struggling hard last year. I didn’t have a clue as to what to do with my career. Well, that’s not true. I knew, and therefore expected that others would simply be able to understand. However, I didn’t know how to command my actions and emotions, and I had no idea how to even begin. I lacked focus, structure, and certainly didn’t listen. I unraveled. I decided I would shove my “truth” down everyone’s throat. This is actually circling back to the age-old writing maxim, “show, don’t tell,” transformed to real-life realization.

Bottom line, I didn’t write from truth. I wrote for approval. I wanted my parents to be proud, for the man I adored to understand me, for my friends to know I was smart, for strangers’ adulation, and the list goes on. What was missing was my passion, my strength, my loyalty. I felt like I was screaming in a vacuum.

Zoolander_Mugatu

I can’t quite say exactly what I’m doing differently other than the fact that I am striving for self-study. So many of us are smart. I am very proud of who I am, what I am. This time, I am more excited about what’s to come. I want to continue to grow (acknowledging how much I have to learn). There will be always be critics. There will be completely crap times (like this unrelenting winter in NYC). This go around, I decided I will willingly turn my wheel into the skid when I hit those icy patches. Spring is coming, blossoms will bloom.

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