What have you learned recently, about yourself, about your writing, about your story?
Recently, I’ve learned that I’m better than I think I am. Throughout my life, I’ve guarded my writing like a pot of gold. I remember being in elementary school, I’d write in class with my arm covering the page, hunched over to protect as much of it as I could. And I did this because I was afraid of being made fun of. Even in later years when I grew more confident in myself, I rarely let anyone read my writing. I wrote my first novella my senior year of high school and only a handful of people read it. And I always wondered, are these people saying it’s good because it’s actually good or because these are my friends who care about hurting my feelings?
That’s always in the back of my head, wondering if my friends think I’m actually a good writer or if they compliment my writing because they’re my friends. I am absolutely my toughest critic, always holding myself to such an unobtainable level. I remember the first time I handed off a completed draft of Elements to be read, the feedback I got was, “it reads like a book.” And I haven’t let anyone else read it since. The collecting pile of publication rejection letters only solidifies my fears, but recently I came to a conclusion.
I write for myself, to express myself and to have something that belongs to me. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if five people actually like it or five million, it’s mine and it’s something beautiful that I love and I relate to it. I’m a reader and I’ve read countless books, and I think it’s good. That has to count for something, right? I figure if my own toughest critic can see beauty in my words, they have to be pretty good.