“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.” – Maya Angelou
I remember when I realized that maybe I could be a writer. I had always written, but it had never occurred to me that I could major in creative writing and be a person who writes books. I love books! I love to read! I could actually be that person. How lucky to be that person! It was an idea that gave me permission to be who I was designed to be.
Fast forward 20 years down the road, if I were published tomorrow, I might be referred to a late bloomer as writers now apparently publish in the womb, so they have their greatest works done by the time they are 35. I have been published, but not in the manner I want. I want the novel. That’s my Golden Ticket. I am writing the novel, slowly. It’s a story I have suppressed for 15 years. I’ve been trying to be so many other things instead of a writer. Trying to suppress the story and who I am has led to much frustration. I’ve never lost the dream, but I tried to push it away. What I lost was naiveté and blind confidence, and it was replaced with doubt by reading the statistics on those who actually ‘make it’ as writers. If they can’t get published, why should my story get published? Over the years, I forgot one of the most important rules of writing: write for yourself.
When you write for yourself, you lose the inner critic who tells you, “No one will read this,” and “This is crap.” When you write for yourself you lose the inner voice that tells you to change your story to be more commercial. When you write for yourself, you gain your voice. When you write for yourself, you gain who you were meant to be. I may never be a best seller, but then again, I definitely won’t be if I don’t try.
What would we all be if we weren’t ourselves? Well, I’d be you. Or you. You would be me. Or her. Or him.
“To thine own self be true.” -Shakespeare