June 13, 2012 by Dropped Ink
So the other day I was cleaning out some old mail and other paper junk when I cam across some old journals that I had half written in. I flipped and thumbed through them stopping to read a variety of character list, random thoughts, and short paragraphs of dialogue. By I have to admit I was most impressed with the short scribbles I did on the beginnings of stories. There were at points pages and pages of writing on story ideas that popped into my big melon of a head long ago. I have to admit I was a little astonished at some of the creativity that was loosed on those pages. I thought to myself out loud, “WOW I WROTE THAT”, followed by, “DAMN WHO KNEW”. This is a moment when I thought I was great…for about 2 seconds. I then found some unfinished scripts that I had worked on with such diligence that they amounted to anywhere from 20 to 64 pages. One of them was a great idea but the pages were laced with crude jokes and poorly organized scenes. But guess what? I read this incomplete masterpiece and laughed out loud at every one of my jokes. I mean I LOL-ed! This is a moment I thought I was great…..for 2 seconds.
As this clean and organization continued I ran through my thoughts like microfiche and stopped on a memory from third grade. I would sit and read Clifford the Big Red Dog stories everyday during free time. After reading I would write stories about the adventures of my friends and I had with Clifford. One of my stories was even published in the school newsletter. I thought I was great for about 2 seconds!
So what happened?
I sat on the floor in my mess of paper and journals and suddenly I didn’t feel so great. Actually I was sick to my stomach. What had happen between the time when I was a go get it, gotta finish before the last bell little kid to the time of me becoming a can’t finish a simple short story adult? I have some theories:
-Life happen (sorta)
-I over think everything therefore making it over complicated.
-I think I may have gotten to smart. (Yes, I said that out loud. No, I don’t mean it in a arrogant/know it all way. Cliff Claven does not live here. )
-I developed doubt. Deep, deep, deep doubt with a pinch of self loathing.
Note these are just theories. Some more applicable than others. Needless to say I did not feel good about myself and it lasted for more than 2 seconds. Sometimes we need to know that we are not nearly as great as we think we are. As the saying goes ” Call a spade a spade”. If you are not progressing in direction that is actively getting you closer to your goal the excuses of why your progression is being halted can not continue. I took a creative writing course and my fellow classmates were a great group but extremely jaded and a good many of them thought extremely high of themselves. There was a young man who shared that he had finished three novels. Instead of being met with comments of wow, that’s awesome, what motivated you; he was met with snickers and “Are you published”. Really people? While this young man should have thought he was great and pretty mighty he didn’t. Every week he offered encouraging constructive feedback. There was another young lady that referred to things as cliche and she had seen that before, this is not fresh. Note, she was all of about 22. It’s not a jab to say she didn’t know anything but as we know living life and having experiences help your writing. Needless to say her stories were not that strong and did not align with the attitude that was projected. If you think your great be sure you can back it up. It’s the same concept as a fight, don’t write checks your ass can’t cash.
Do recall when I implored you to take a look in the mirror at yourself and have a real moment. Please do not misunderstand me and think I am undermining your positivity and high self esteem, I’m not. What I am saying is know when to think your great and know when not too. The moments you don’t think your great are opportunities to open yourself to improvement. Ask yourself what is really going on that is keeping you from finishing an idea? What is drawing your focus away from what is important to you? Am I maximizing on my talent and potential? ( I believe everyone has a talent.) Don’t just rely on believing your great but project it.