We all face obstacles in our daily lives, some small, some too big to handle all at once.
We also face obstacles with creative work, no matter if you’re a musician, writer, photographer- any artist. For me, I have been a musician and a writer since I was young- I’ve been told I could carry a tune since I was a little tyke, which then evolved into learning to play simple piano tunes from watching others, to taking piano lessons and performing in my high school variety show and numerous piano recitals. My writing, though, has always been something near and dear to me, that I chose to keep that way and only share with a couple select people, one being my sister, the other being my best friend. Of course, I’ve discussed the possibilities of plots for stories I wanted to write with many people, one actually earlier this year, around mid-January. One of the obstacles I had an issue with is patience with myself. I wrote up these plot ideas (many over the years), and even found names and personalities for characters, but by the time that was all written, I was ready to move on to a new project. I would write a chapter or two, satisfied and excited and inspired, and then think of something new and leave my other work unfinished. My best friend has written a lot over the years, including a series her and another one of our old friends wrote in middle and high school, and has started another series in the last couple of years. I’ve been so proud of her, and would always find myself thinking, When am I going to settle down and actually write something I can finish? When will I sit down and write something I can be proud of, and show off to people?
Another mental obstacle I face (more often than I care to admit) is jealousy. I hate feeling that way, and I will do anything in my power to cool it down before it surfaces, all green and ugly. Just a few days ago, I had this problem. As some of you may know, I record a podcast and write blog posts for that website as well (The Book Hangover) with my friend Ariel. When we set up the site, we both chose a day to post each week, and each of us write about books, or reviews, or anything in general. Well, I had started to notice that I would write reviews that Ariel and my friend, Kammie, would tell me were awesome, and I would feel confident in publishing it, and Ariel would post something that talks about a book, but allowed her to relate and be personal as well. I saw that she was getting likes, views, and followers just based on her posts alone, where my posts had next to nothing (compared to hers). Anxiety and jealousy clashed and started freaking me out, launching into an irritating internal struggle. Did she lie? Are my reviews really that terrible? Is my writing just not good enough? What am I doing wrong now? Will I ever get it right?
Let me tell you what I’ve done, for both of these obstacles now.
First of all, my patience with myself and my writing is growing. I wrote a three part story (originally was planned to be two max, part two being shorter than the first), and have been committed to writing these posts regularly. I look forward to coming home now, so I can write some more, for you, and for myself. I’m learning to be proud of what I write, and of the progress I’m making. I know that I’m not the same writer as my friends, or as I used to be (Thank God for that!), but I’m getting older and improving, and even if it’s small steps, I’m still taking them, and I’m going to continue taking the necessary steps. I can’t wait to see where this takes me in the future, and what other stories I write for everyone to read.
Secondly, with the jealousy, this has been a problem since I was young. I know it’s not going to go away instantly, and sometimes, jealousy happens to the best of us. I know that if I expect it to dissolve completely, I will end up seriously disappointed, since there are times where it’s going to happen, no matter what it’s about. But, what I have done is turned the jealousy into motivation. The story I just told you, about the blog posts from this past weekend? I asked Ariel about how she did it, and then I started babbling about how “maybe I’m too impersonal, maybe I used the wrong tags, maybe I didn’t write enough,” etc. The list goes on. Jealousy sparked motivation and idea in me- maybe I could write another post, a shorter one, that is more personal, easier to relate to. And that’s exactly what I did! Even though it was a small step, again, it was a small step in the right direction. I didn’t allow envy to take over, or to boil over into anger and frustration. I allowed it to motivate me to write something better.
I’m still learning, still progressing each day, but for the progress I have made, I’m proud of myself. For a long time, I was very scared, and had stage fright, even from posting a blog with some of my own writing! Is that a thing? Maybe not, but all I knew is that I was too scared to pursue writing, something I’ve always loved to do, something that brings happiness to my days, and most importantly, something I look forward to doing.
I know there will be more obstacles I face in the future, and they could be sillier or more serious than what I am facing now. What I know is I need to keep moving forward, no matter how small of a step I seem to take, no matter how slow I feel I’m going; Whatever I do, I’m not going to stop. I’m not going to be stopped.
“If you can’t fly, then run, if you can’t run, then walk, if you can’t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.” -Martin Luther King Jr.