A Response To A Classmate’s Feelings On Their Writing, And How You Can Benefit
My time as a college student is fading away. Ten more weeks will fly by, and I will have my Master’s degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University. Being in school since 2012, seeing it end is scary. Believe it or not, I don’t want it to end. I love how going to school has forced me to interact with people. For someone with severe social anxiety, that is a big deal. If I had the funds, I would love to learn digital cinematography and gaming design, to help with Mystical Night Media. I would like to learn wildlife and forestry conservation, plus veterinary assistant. So, when my husband and I finally find a place, we can survive our new surroundings and help the animals that live freely around us. Yes, I want to live far away from people, in the forest, yet close enough for the ‘high-speed’ internet.
When we were wrapping our final discussion in one of my classes, a student asked, “Why bother?” The student, in a Master’s program, feels their writing is not up to par. They feel they don’t have enough hours in the day to devote to honing their craft. This person feels they are not a decent writer. They feel anything they put out there will be kindling for people’s bonfires. I read this person’s story, and it is good.
I know how my classmate feels. I feel my stories are not up to par, heck, I feel the same towards the articles I write. Yet, here I am, writing them. It could be fear as a writer, fear of being ridiculed. Or, it could be my medical problems. Having to interact with people, going to author’s fairs and promoting my books. For someone with severe social anxiety—not a good thing. Yet, here I am.
My spawn rate for speaking out is ultra-rare. I keep to myself and speak my mind with the little voice living in my mind. For reasons unknown, I responded to my classmate. His statement of, “Why bother” impact my emotions.
I responded to the post:
“Why Bother? I am bothering.” I said, “I spent seven years of my life learning to hone my skills as a writer. It is not easy. It is hard. It takes time, patience, and practice. When I started on my writing path, I had my days I felt like you, why bother? I thought back on my life, and everything I ever wanted, I earned by learning. Earned by patience. Earned by practice.”
Now, this classmate has another hobby. I reference their hobby. How you learn, grow, and how it took time, patience, and practice to perfect the hobby. I told the person to take what they used in learning and honing their skills in their hobby and apply it to their writing.
I told the person, “When it comes to hours in a day, we control those hours. We have our work hours, our play hours, our alone time. Many writers have full-time jobs and a family. Yet, they are producing one or more articles or stories a week. I have written for SNHU Odyssey (Intern) and now write for Coffee House Writers (Intern) and Digital Fox Media (Pay Per View Type). I edit for Coffee House Writers (Intern). Most of our writers are like you, living a full life. They have full-time jobs and a family. Yet, they find the time, because they make the time.
The harshest critic is the writer. You are your harshest critic. No other person can top you in the ridiculed department. Remember, you cannot please everyone. Do not try to please everyone; it will get you nowhere.
As for an audience, you are your audience. Write what you would love to read. Write for yourself and build from there. Start small. Keep journals. When you are ready, and you know when you will be, then start a blog. Use the blog to display your stories. Then start writing for your readers. If you want, join a writing group who has a web presence. You can submit weekly or bi-weekly stories for publication, they may not pay you, but you will build an audience and a resume.
You are here for a reason. Do not let all the demanding work you put in go to waste. Follow it through, wherever it will take you. Self-publication maybe a road to consider. It is not a new idea. How many children, back in the day, wrote stories or comics and passed them about? We may not be like Amanda Hocking, and make millions on self-publishing. But, it is a start and a way to get your name out there, and eventually, go to traditional publishing or hybrid publishing.”
Happy I responded
Yes, I am proud I said those things. But, I know how my classmate feels. I fear the same as them. Yet, here I am. I am writing. I am honing my journalistic skills thanks to Coffee House Writers and Digital Fox Media. Now, when school is over in ten weeks, I must hone my fiction writing skills and get my stories out to the world. I can take the self-publishing route or beat down the big publishing names doors. Maybe get lucky and team up with some writers for a horror anthology. Who knows? I know I need to get my butt in gear.
Will I be a good horror fiction writer? That is up to my readers. I have my faults, and the major one is tenses. Apparently, I like writing in both tenses. Guess I have a love/hate relationship with them. Same with unnecessary words, ‘to be’ verbs, and the word ‘that.’
I am not perfect, as a writer or editor. It takes time, patience, and practice to improve, but no one will ever be perfect. No such person, no such thing. You will mess up, many times. Learn from it, apply it and continue. You got this.