Have you ever sat down to write a blog post but the words aren’t ready? They are swirling around in your head, forging their way to the tip of you tongue, but you can’t spit them out? That’s how I’m feeling right now. I have this blog post in my head, the idea, the thoughts, the words, but they are jostling for position and getting lost amongst each other. I know what I want to say, but I can’t articulate it.
I guess some would call it writer’s block or a creative road block. It’s not uncommon. I’d even say it’s more common than not. Especially with creatives of any kind.
But why is that?
Isn’t the ability or desire to create something, anything, enough for us to move forward? Or are we too hung up on trying to write something that is perfect?
I don’t know if it’s due to the explosion of the world wide web and easy access to others’ thoughts and work that makes us feel unworthy, but it seems that we are hesitant to put our work out there. Should we dare we put something out there that we aren’t entirely happy with?
Whether it’s a blog post, a story, a poem, a picture – whatever creative pursuit that is your monkey – we begin to judge it before we even begin. We are putting on not only our inner critic’s hat but trying to step inside the head of everyone else as well. We see success, as validation from the great majority, a.k.a everyone.
We compare ourselves to our idols, to the greats of our now and time passed. We see their greatness as the benchmark. We don’t stop to think that their greatness is subjective. We see it as; they are successful, therefore they are great. It’s black and white.
But what if I were to tell you it’s not.
What if I were to tell you that you are great. That everything you do is a work of art. No matter how imperfect.
What if I told you that you need to gift yourself the permission to like what you have created.
I can see you flinching now.
‘Like what I’ve done? Are you kidding?’
You feel dirty. Words like conceited, stuck-up, vain, arrogant begin to pop into your head.
Why is it that we can’t be proud, or at the very least, like something we have done?
My writing isn’t great. I am not great. But sometimes, even a lot of the time, I like my writing. I like the way it flows, the emotion it creates, the thoughts it ignites. I like how I can articulate a point, or share a feeling. At the very least, I like how I can string words together to form a sentence. Is it perfect? No. Far from it. But I can still like it. And if I didn’t, what would be the point of doing it?
Liking my own writing doesn’t mean I think I’m better than everyone else. Nor does it mean my writing is perfect and publishable. Not at all. Maybe one day it will be publishable, but it won’t ever be perfect. But, if I didn’t like what I create, there would be no reason for me to continue creating. There would be no desire or drive to move forward and improve. To reach greater heights.
Granting yourself permission to like what you write isn’t easy.
A writer’s or creative’s self-doubt is strong. Our inner critic is a constant companion. And possibly worst of all, the fear of judgment from others’ can be crippling. So to move past all of those barriers and look at what we create in a positive light is tough.
I’ll be honest. I’ve liked what I write for a long time. Not everything of course, and I can certainly see the flaws, but for the most part, I like it. I read back on things I’ve written long ago, whether it be a blog post or a creative piece and it makes me feel good. Why? Because I see the good in it, yes I can see the issues and I can absolutely see how much I’ve improved, but I can just as easily see the good stuff. I remember how I felt when I wrote it. I remember why it sounded right at the time. And I like it.
I don’t have an overwhelming desire for acceptance or validation from anyone to know that I can write. I used to.
I used to think that validation from others equalled my success, but I’ve learned along the way, it doesn’t.
Success comes from internal validation.
And while my ultimate goal is to be a published fiction author, as well as have my words here on the blog read and strike chords with my readers, that’s not the reason I write.
I write because I love what I do and I like what I write.
I write because I know I can write well, but I know I can write better.
I write because even my words, sometimes as flawed as they are, sometimes do make sense and resonate firstly with me, and sometimes even with others.
We are all different, we all see different things in the way we view the world. Especially when it comes to creative pursuits such as writing.
There are authors and books out there that people rave about and win awards, whereas others find them boring or predictable or too this or too that.
There are blogs that have a gazillion followers that some look at and just don’t get.
There are poems that are seen as genius that others can’t understand.
There are art pieces, movies, TV shows, theatre so on and so on, that have their fans but also their critics.
Not everyone will like what you do. Not everyone will get it. Not everyone will think it’s worthy of being published or of greatness.
But you can. And it’s okay to think so.
You can look at what you do, see the flaws but still think it is good. It was worthy of your time. And by giving yourself permission to like what you write, you will, in turn, become a better writer.
So go on, give yourself the gift of permission to like what you write. After all, if you don’t, why do it?
Do you struggle with liking what you write?
Do you agree that success comes from internal validation?