I’ve discovered that I become more excited, more committed and more passionate about writing when I can read about other people on a similar journey who are making writing work for them. Whether that’s about individuals who are getting published, winning competitions or even just writing to explore their own imagination, I am fired up by other people’s passion. It provides me with faith: the belief that if other people can do it, then so can I – so should I.
I may have mentioned before that one of my pet peeves are those people who talk about doing something but never actually do it. Those individuals really get on my nerves; stop whining about how much you want it, and do something about it! It was recognising that I was becoming one of these people that prompted me into my writing journey – I had always said I wanted to be a writer, but I wasn’t writing. Well, now I am, so at least I’m making progress.
Learning about how hard other people work to achieve a similar dream to my own, what methods and techniques they have put in place to help them succeed and the challenges they have faced that are much more difficult than my own – this inspires me. It causes me to question my own commitment and realise when it is I am falling short.
Yes, it can also mean I place huge expectations on myself and occasionally push a little bit too hard. But, I’d rather that than not try hard enough. It does all come down to my tag line: Is it better to say I’ve tried and failed than never to have tried at all? I realised not too long ago that I’d much prefer to fail on occasion than to not have made the effort at all and never really know.
I suppose it could be likened to gambling. Sometimes you can increase your proceeds by always playing it safe, but sometimes you have a hand that tempts you to go all in. If you don’t risk that gamble, how are you to ever really know if you can win big? It’s why so many people play the lottery; it seems a small gamble to potentially win large.
I don’t play the lottery. I’d prefer to bet on myself, to have faith in the skills I have and the desire to learn that fuels me in my journey of writing. To reassert this belief in myself I need to know it can be done, and reading about how other people have done it, or are trying to do it, or even how they are failing to do it, spurs me on. I feel like I’m a safe bet precisely because I am not one of those people who won’t get up off my ass and do something about the dreams I have.
What it comes down to is the perception I have that makes me believe I could make it. I’m not so different to those other people out there who are trying to do the same. And the one piece of advice that seems universal about succeeding in the writing world comes down to one word: Persistence. To be persistent I need faith in myself. To have faith in myself I need to know that what I dream is possible. To know that, I turn to others and learn from them.
Perhaps the only piece of useful advice I’ve ever been given about gambling? Don’t bet what you aren’t willing to lose.