Awful—that’s the word that best describes the quality of some of my writing. I realize that not everything I write is brilliant, insightful, or even plain amusing. But I also realize that the more I write, the more I improve my command of diction, syntax, tone, and other literary and rhetorical devices. That is why I write so often. There is not a day that passes where I don’t at least record a single sentence. More often than not, I at least complete a poem; sometimes, I’ll finish an entire short story or several articles. Prolificacy means constant practice and therefore constant opportunities to fail but, hopefully, also to succeed.
Unlike many young writers, especially in this era of perfectionism, I am not afraid to write. In writers’ groups and student publications meetings, I’ve met numerous young writers who complain that they don’t know what to write or that they’re too busy to write. But if they were passionate observers and storytellers, they would always have new ideas. If they were truly interested in writing, they would make time to write. What too many of these students don’t admit is that they fear writing. The thought of sitting before a blank sheet of paper or blank computer screen intimidates them. Rejection letters scare them. But if they don’t write, then they’re simply not writers; they only wish they were. They wish they had the courage to dedicate themselves to a life of continual study, little to no monetary security, and often no recognition for their efforts.
But I don’t merely wish. I am a writer and I’m faithful to my habits as a writer. I bring a pen and some amount of paper whenever I leave home. If it’s convenient to do so, I’ll even carry my laptop around. I read everyday: magazines, newspapers, books, and online material. In order to support myself as a college student and prepare for a career after college, I’m very creative about finding ways to make money off of my writing. Currently, I maintain my own website, two blogs, one major online portfolio, and a healthy overall online presence. Furthermore, I submit my writings to all sorts of different venues; I’m not ashamed if one is less prestigious than another. If I want people to read my work, I have to be comfortable with the fact that not every publication has two million subscribers. I also recognize that writing exists beyond the world of books. I’ve taken numerous writing assignments in fields outside of traditional print. For example, I recently co-wrote a student film. I also have extensive experience writing photo captions, as well as advertisements. Lastly, I know that despite all of my hard work, I may never reach fame or fortune. And yet I continue writing.
So with all of the writing I do, some of it will inevitably fall short of my very high standards. I know when I fail because I read so much and have studied writing for so many years (since third grade’s writers’ workshop, for the record). But, most importantly, I don’t dwell on my failure because I don’t fear it. In the spirit of optimism, I transcend it. I accept my stumblings and quickly brush myself off to stand back up again. Then I seize my pencil or jump at my keyboard.
Anyone who wants to write should simply do that: write. Fearing the action and lifestyle that comes with it is counterproductive.