One of my favorite bloggers is a TV and comic-book writer named Mark Evanier. A regular feature of his blog (named News from ME — see what he did there?) is an ongoing series titled “Rejection: A Wilderness Guide for Writers,” in which he offers various tips to encourage writers to keep plugging away at their craft, even during periods when they’re making little or no money from their writing.
One particular “Rejection” entry has always stuck with me. It concerns two writer/acquaintances of Evanier’s, whom he refers to as “Wanda” and “Eugene.” Click here to read the entry, and then come back here (to my blog) to read further commentary below.
Are you back? Good! I wanted you to read that because “Wanda’s” situation is similar to what mine used to be. When I was younger, I let a lot of people (who didn’t know any better) talk me out of doing anything with my writing, because I couldn’t possibly be a big success or make any money from it. Years later, I realized that what they were really saying was: Our dreams have been thwarted for our entire lives, so your dreams should be thwarted as well.
In the past 20 years, I have:
- written movie reviews for a local newspaper, for which I received two back-to-back first-place awards for “Best Reviewing” in the Florida Press Association’s annual Better Newspaper Contest;
- written, directed, and starred in three local plays, which people actually paid admission to see;
- gotten the best job of my life, creating and writing posts for a social media-based company;
- gotten hundreds of followers from this blog.
I tell you all of this not to brag (although thank you very much), but to point out that there will always be a “Eugene” in your life who wants to build himself up by making your inner “Wanda” feel small. If you have a creative bug, indulge it to the fullest. Even if it’s just a blog, you’ll get followers who regularly want to read your work. That’s pretty flattering to me. And if you can make money from your creative bug, so much the better.
So don’t let naysayers drag you down. If you’ve got a creative urge that’ll drive you crazy if you don’t let it out, indulge it, on any level. The delightful author Kurt Vonnegut Jr. said it best:
“Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”