And more than anything, it will be yours, and you did it, and no one can take that away from you.
If you’ve ever doubted yourself, never thought you were good enough, didn’t think you had it in you, I can tell you that you do. You are good enough. But honestly, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter what anything else thinks, much less you. Writing is a primal thing. Having thoughts and putting them down on paper is a blessing that us humans have. It is an amazing thing that we can do. The sheer act of writing is amazing. You will surprise yourself.
You will write a heartbreakingly beautiful line. It will be the best thing you’ve ever written. There will come a time when you have to let it go, when it will break you apart inside to cut it, but we are writers and this is what we do. We must let go of things we love to make what is around it better, and it will make it better. You will forget about your one great line because it will be replaced with many more, some of which you will also have to throw away. It is maddening and you will want to quit. Don’t. Don’t stop. You will come out on the other side and when you do, when you hold that paper in your hand with words that have come from some place in you that you didn’t even know existed, it will be worth it. You will realize that you did it, that you are a writer. Don’t forget that feeling. Keep that knowledge tucked into your back pocket for the times when you don’t think you can do it, when you don’t think you are clever enough, or smart enough, or have enough time. Bring out that memory that you’ve done this before and you will do it again, because that is what we do. We bleed letter-filled blood and mop it up with clean, white pieces of paper and hold them up for the world to see. With each word typed we re-affirm this fact to ourselves. We can do this. This is who we are.
If you’ve only ever been a writer in your head, afraid to put it down because of what it may be, resign yourself to the editing process. Realize that it must first come out to have any sense made out of it. You can’t make something out of nothing. Put it down, walk away, come back and sift through and find the gold in the dirt. It’s there. You will find it. Be patient with yourself and let your mind wander. Always carry a notebook with you and keep one by your bed.
When people remark that they couldn’t imagine writing anything, that they have no talent, tell them they are wrong. Encourage them do to it anyway. We all have a story to tell. Remind people that their lives and their imaginations matter. Don’t lose your ability to dream and wonder.
Tell them to put it down on paper. It will be ugly and beautiful. It doesn’t matter. They will hate it and love it. Tell them it is worth it. Tell them they are a writer.