Friday, May 23, 2014

Pep Talk: Advice to My Writer Self

The writer inside of me needed a pep talk today, so this is what I said ...

I dream. I imagine that I live in a world where I can be daring, where I can — without the judgment of others, without asking for outside approval — be myself. It is a world where I can follow my heart’s true desire. It is a world where I can freely do what it is that I want to do and what I feel called to do. It is a world of hope and possibility.

I am a writer. I say that with conviction. It is, today, an affirmation of who I am. I am a writer. Not because of my novel, Freestyle Love. Not because of my other published works. I am a writer because there is, deep within me, a will far greater than my own that compels me to write. It is a calling. I have chosen to heed the call.

And, so, I write. I write because each morning when I awake, and at night when I lay my head down to sleep, writing is what becomes me. Writing quells within me, gnaws at my heart, enlivens my soul. There is a surge of adrenaline — like when I dash for the finish line at the end of a race — when my pen touches the page. Words dance onto the page, laying the foundation of the stories within me that I long to tell.

I write because of the beauty that is this world. Like on Wednesday morning, running along the Martin Goodman Trail by the lakefront as the sun beamed into my eyes. Each day savouring a bountiful love. Being told that my four-year-old nephews (twins), filled with excitement, yelled, “No way!” as they opened the presents I had sent for their birthday. The blessing of friendships, new and old.

My day is not complete if I have not put in time at the page. It’s like trying to go through the day without having a coffee. When I am caffeine-deprived, I am cranky. When I do not write, or when I don’t write enough, I am irksome and irritable. In a way, I lose my humanity. That is why each day I show up at the page because if I don’t I risk losing myself. Writing grounds me in the day, helps me to be present in the present. Writing, I hang on to myself.

Bouts of self-criticism come in cycles, causing me to doubt my ability as a writer. And that’s like doubting who I am. As a writer, the minute my work enters the public domain, it becomes fair game for the critics — and, by extension, me along with it. Good or bad, I say to the critics: Bring it on! I’ve succeeded where a lot of people have not because despite the letters of rejection (and over the course of my writing career there have been many and there will be more), despite the good reviews, in spite of the bad reviews, I have persevered. I have held steadfast to my faith — in my work, in myself. I have been unwavering in the belief that this is my path. This is the one thing in my life that I feel compelled to do.

Helen Keller said it best: “Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”

Writing is my worthy purpose.

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