I’ve always been a writer. From the moment I could speak the English language somewhat coherently and after much handwriting practice, I was writing. I wrote my first “book” when I was eight, which I dreamed of getting published (although looking back, it is highly unlikely that this would have happened; it was almost illegible and my only critics were my parents.) But still, I imagined my book on the shelves at Barnes and Noble with all my adoring fans surrounding it, whilst I stood proudly to the side. “Yes, yes”, I would say, “I’m the author of this magnificent little book.” In my mind, I was The Greatest Author That Had Ever Lived.
Then middle school happened, puberty set in, and I wasn’t sure about anything anymore, including my writing. I went from The Greatest Author That Had Ever Lived to The Worst Writer That Had Ever Walked the Earth. As you may or may not have noticed, I tend to go to extremes. So while it was wonderful that I was becoming more critical of my writing, it came to the point where I was so concerned about what other people thought that it took all the fun out of writing.
And now here I am, with my own little blog, and I am trying to find balance. Again, you might have observed that this is a reoccurring theme in my life. I want to better myself as a writer while still having fun. I also want to be able to take constructive criticism for what it is: a way that I can improve my writing according to one particular person. It does not mean that I am a horrible writer and that I should just STOP writing.
Still, if you are anything like me, this is extremely hard to do. I’ve always been a sensitive person who takes everything a little too personally. Every time I get an English paper back (which is graded by mysterious online graders), I dread seeing the comments in red pen. The red pen means bad. It means God you are so stupid. You can’t even write a 9th grade essay! Dramatic? Oh yeah. Especially since the dreaded “red remarks” could simply mean that I forgot to double space a paragraph.
But some “criticism” can actually be helpful. Reflecting on what I’ve written, sometimes days afterwards, helps to give me perspective. What would I have done differently? What did I really like? I try to find both the positives and negatives and store them away for later reference.
As far as my blog goes, I’m still trying to figure out what direction I want to take it. Writing everyday has definitely been…interesting. It’s challenged me and it’s brought out the perfectionist in me full force. I want to write quality posts and not just post for the sake of saying I did. At the same time (there are so many dialectics in life), I realize that all of what I write doesn’t have to be this amazing, award-winning material. It’s not meant to be.
Still, I’ll admit that some of what I’ve written so far this month has been quite rushed and ended up being something completely different from what I imagined. Take, for example, my birthday letter to my mama. When I posted it last night, I was completely satisfied with it. This morning, as I read it over, it sounded like a Hallmark birthday card. Don’t get me wrong, I meant every word of it and all of it was true. But it still sounded a bit generic and I felt I hadn’t captured the essence of my mother the way I had wanted to.
This, I suppose, is partly because I didn’t write it ahead of time (I’m an eternal procrastinator) and partly because I’ll never be able to write about something exactly the way I want.
So, in the end, I could have put much more effort into my last post. I could have written a 60 page novel about my mama. But it’s okay that I didn’t. I wasn’t trying to win a Pulitzer prize; I wanted to celebrate my mother and even through it sounded a bit like a Hallmark card, that’s okay too. Not everyone needs to know all the back stories and all the things she’s done. Because I know and that’s enough.
As BlogTember continues and beyond, I want to put more effort into my writing. I want to write about whatever I feel inspired to, whether that be a Friday Favorites or a passion filled post about the ridiculousness of the media’s portrayal of women. To sum it up: I want to challenge myself as a writer, while still having lots of fun.
Because I will never be a “perfect” writer but I can become a better one and enjoy every minute of it.
No questions, just your thoughts!
And yes, I realize this was quite a “rambly” post. I was thinking out loud (too bad it wasn’t Thursday, right?:)