You write stories, hope someone will read them, and then get nervous when they do. It’s a vicious cycle. You want to inspire, entertain, and make a difference with those words, but you’re also gravely aware of what can go wrong.
Rejection letters. Reviews. Rewrites, and for what?
Why are you doing this? Someone once said if you can stop writing, then do. It’s too hard a road to meander down. If you can toss your ideas into the wind without them blowing back in your face, then toss away. But before you do, ask yourself a few questions.
Do you see the mountain top?
You’re not the first writer to wonder if you’re meant to write … or meant to be read by others. Sometimes it seems like no one’s even reading—like it doesn’t really matter. Your words might be read by hundreds or maybe just your mom and three subscribers. With those numbers, it might be hard to feel like the work is worth the return—like the view is worth the hike. But you’re not on this road for the view, are you? What’s at the top of that mountain, anyway? It’s strange up there. The air is thin and you’re laid bare, and your words cease to be your words. Instead, they become little sacrifices offered up, let go, and given away, maybe to return and maybe not. You write the stories, and you let him do the rest. Are you willing to climb the mountain to offer your sacrifice?
Can you hear the difference?
Despite the whole nothing new under the sun thing, what you bring—your story filtered through your experiences and told by your voice is unique and special. It’s not like that guy sitting behind you who just got a three-book deal. It’s you. Not the next person. It’s your story, and it carries with it part of you. Don’t compare that to anyone else. It won’t compare. It can’t. And it shouldn’t. Sure, someone’s probably written about that before, but you haven’t, and maybe in the variation of your voice and word choices, someone will finally see and understand. Are you okay with being different?
Are you willing to work?
Of course, putting it all in God’s hands and embracing your uniqueness may not have quite the impact you’re hoping for, if you don’t know your subject from your verb, learn the difference between there and their, and figure out how to write an exciting sentence without using an exclamation point. Writing requires work. The story may be there. Your idea might be gold, but regardless of how easy it looks to throw those words on a page, really making them shine takes skill, practice, and perseverance. “There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” (Hemingway) Are you up for that challenge?
If you said yes to those questions, then the next time the rejection letter comes, or you get a bad review, or you start wondering why you should even bother, remember you have purpose. You bring something unique to the world. Complex sentences and the Oxford comma have not undone you. Stay strong, and write on, dear friends. Write on.