I recently ran across a short story I wrote about five years ago. I was happy that it popped up, remembering that it had been my first attempt at writing prose. I thought I’d read it and be impressed with myself, maybe even inspired to build on it or create something new. I read the first two lines and . . . whew chilay. I hoped it would get better as I went. Nah. It was tragic. No part was un-tragic. I looked for un-tragicness and ain’t see none nowhere. It was bad in every sentence. I was immediately embarrassed to remember that I had put quite a bit of effort into the story. Embarrassed that it was such a flop. Embarrassed most of all that I had put it on the great big unforgettable, unforgiving world wide web. Do y’all remember Notes on Facebook? I never fully understood the purpose of it. I don’t even understand why it still exists but therein also exists my first short story *insert cringe emoji*
As I think through it now, having given myself a few days to come down from the horror of seeing my non-talent on public display, I am glad I tried, glad I memorialized it so publicly, and glad I ran across it again when I did.
It’s something real when you realize you don’t quite have what it takes. It’s a shock to the senses, a blow to the ego. It takes time to regroup and it takes a very serious pep talk to make yourself continue putting in the work. But that’s exactly what it takes to be good. There are some people with crazy wicked, natural talent and there are people who have to work at their talent nonstop. On that continuum, I’m probably a quarter inch away from the nonstop work mark. I have to practice at what I’m naturally good at and the only way to do that is to do it. That means some of my writing will hit and some of it will miss. That short story? Oh that was a miss miss (two times so you know it’s bad). But I’ve written more since then and sometimes I amaze myself. Really. Sometimes I re-read something and think I could possibly maybe perhaps be a young genius and y’all don’t even know it.
That’s what that story reminded me. I was bad once. I’m okay now. And if this keeps going the way its been going, I’ll probably get very good after a while. That thought comforts me. It makes me want to keep pushing. I want to reach my highest truth which I firmly believe is a passionate writer. I have the same hope for you too. I hope you don’t get discouraged if you miss the mark. I hope you focus instead on your gifts and work them until they polish. Think of your future self and how good that person will be. Strive toward her . . .or him . . . do guys read my blog? Probably not. Strive toward her, sis.