So, I started writing again, as you can see. It’s a work in progress and I’m taking small steps towards my goal of completing my first self-published novel.
I’m in the editing stages, and I’ve got a working title: Syphons.
But, this work-in-progress almost became cyber dust. I avoided writing for a long time. My five-year long writing hiatus began during my freshman year in community college after the professor decided to ask my class the following question:
“So, what does everyone want to do when they graduate from college?”
The question hung in the air for a moment. My World Literature college professor clasped the sides of her podium and swept her eyes across the room of twenty-somethings. Chatter about weekend plans and future chemistry exams were silenced.
I knew the answer. I had a plan already (Or so I thought). So, I raised my hand.
She called on me.
“I’m going to become a writer.” Then 17-year-old me said. “But, first I’m going to work towards an MFA in Creative Writing.”
In hindsight, I should’ve remained silent, and kept my hubris answer to myself.
She raised a brow and smirked.
“Really? What are you going to write?”
“Science fiction. But, I like romances, too.”
She shook her head.
“I don’t think so…”
What does she mean I don’t think so.
I’d just spent two weeks at the time writing and editing a 366-page sci-fi. I planned to have it published by the time I turned 18 so that I could be on the bestsellers list by my 20s. I had plans to be like a Stephanie Meyer (but younger).
“Just don’t get an MFA, if you plan on writing fiction.”
“Why not?” One of the students blurted out.
“Don’t you have one? And a Ph.D. also.” I said. She was my college professor after all, why else would I be sitting in her class learning about Voltaire!
“Yes. But an MFA is for individuals who plan to be writing professors. It’s not a very lucrative position at all. And, all that money you spend on a degree that doesn’t promise much in return.”
So my dream is a waste of time? Ahh, yes, my wise college professor, who clearly knows what she’s talking about, just told me not to go to college for writing. Only English professors who are tenured at universities need MFAs. Not silly creative writing students with dreams of publishing sci-fi, like me. I should probably listen to her every word!
My mind raced. What would I do with my life, now!? The above thoughts popped into my head.
In the end…
I never published my 300+ paged “bestseller” after that class.
I never went on to a prestigious MFA program. I didn’t even apply to one.
In fact, I stopped writing for a long time after graduation.
And, then I started up again.
And, then quit again.
I always wanted to be a writer.
Jeff Goins said, “Writers write.”
The ProBloggers, CopyBloggers, WordPress regulars, and the like all said that “Writers write.” Or at least catchphrases along those lines.
But, why should I write?
I didn’t have anything to say that mattered to anyone.
That college professor’s words haunted me. It joined the other voices in my head that took on the form of doubt and encouraged my writer’s block.
Still, every day I thought, I should be writing.
I think about writing all the time. But, what should I write about?
I’m a nobody who likes to type on her keyboard and then delete her creations or hide them in cyber-filing cabinets, never to see the light of day.
Do other writers ever feel like this? Like their words shouldn’t be allowed to see the light of day?
Does Stephen King ever feel like what he writes doesn’t matter all because of one hater? I guess thick skin and decades worth of bestsellers prove that the words shouldn’t hurt as much.
Maybe, I should’ve stopped listening to my college professor the day I decided she controlled my future career.
I don’t think she wanted me to avoid writing, or MFA programs, or additional college.
I think she was just leveling with me. Helping me to realize writing takes work. And, editing and rewriting plenty of drafts are required. Maybe a teaching gig would give a would-be sci-fi blockbusting novelist some street cred in the fiction community. Who knows.
Should I really write?
If it’s a part of me. I need to express it.
And, if writing is my calling.
I should start listening to it.
And, if my calling is ‘dumb’.
That just means I need to find out what’s ‘smart’ about it.
In the future, I will share more about my work on Syphons and shove my college professor and other doubts back to the back of my brain where they belong.
Comment below if someone ever said something discouraging about your dreams to be a writer, artist, poet, etc. Did you clap-back or did you let their words haunt you? How did you survive the heartbreak? I’d love to hear your input!!