This is not meant to make light of Hurricane Ian’s destruction which hit Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, and Virginia weeks ago. My thoughts and prayers are with those families and individuals affected because of this.
When it comes to your dream, you face obstacles of hurricane proportions. At first, you’re excited, ready to conquer the world for a chance at your dreams. Everything is fine and dandy until the first wave hits. You shudder. Retreat a little. Then brave another charge. This time the wave that hits you is much stronger, pulling you back inside yourself when you mention to others what you have in mind. They give you dazed looks. Suggest something else. But you don’t want to do something else: you want this. Braving family alone to make your way is a big challenge.
Some think you’re doing something too risky. Others think that the idea doesn’t matter. You’ll get stuck in a dead-end job, just like them. And that happens when you don’t override the negativism. Or something comes us to hold you there such as life. Obstacles abound. You could have a child or more. Bills from college come in and in a frantic mode, you settle for whatever you can find to combat them. Sometimes, little whispers of you’re not good enough to do the dream come. It also may just not be your time.
There isn’t a creative out there that hasn’t doubted themselves at one time or another. Or even multiple times. I think it’s part of the mindset of an artist. You have to be open to a bit of the pain in order to get it down on the page. That’s how we touch people. Open their hearts. By opening ours within the pages. It soaks the ink with laughter and tears. If you don’t feel anything when you’re writing, I’m not sure you’re reaching your reader. It’s a delicate art, refined by time. Those that came before us, suffered for their work. Just as those who will come later will do the same. It’s all part of the storm.
It’s hard to buffer all of that. And have a life too. A lot of artists isolate themselves from the world, but you don’t have to do that. There are plenty as well that have families and great loves. We are all made up of who we are going to be. There’s no changing that. We might make some mistakes, some wrong turns but in the end, I think those mistakes and twists uncover a part of ourselves that was meant to shine. Those land funnels hover over us, just out of reach, waiting to wreak havoc in our lives, to toss us to and fro, and help us recover.
When we do get flooded with an overload of business, it’s time to take a step back and remember all the lessons we’ve learned. Writing doesn’t come easy. Sure, one would think, all you do is put your fingers to the keyboard. That’s true to a degree. But what flows down to those fingertips come from the heart not always the head. Of course, there has to be balance. Technical details still have to brush the page. You need to know how heavy that GIS (Geographic Information System) is, if it’s relevant to the story. It helps to give weight to your words.
You can’t have all light and fluffy banter. There has to be some anchor to grasp hold of just in the nick of time and save yourself headaches later. Otherwise, we’d have no reason to research to learn the ropes of information needed to tell a story. All of it threads together to show the thought, the passion that goes into a work. Otherwise, we’d just have a bunch of meaningless sentences strung together. We have to make sense of things for the readers including ourselves. Yes, get in the habit of reading your story. It speaks volumes.
When you read your story, you hear catches in the words. You find the awkwardness that needs to be rewritten. The baldness of your paragraph that needs fixed. There’s a lot to discover between those words. Reading the story aloud grasps what could be better. I don’t do this step usually till the end of the writing and when I’m sure I’m done editing. Only to find that there’s more to do. With good reason. You want to give your story the most impact, working on this step gives it an edge above the rest. I didn’t originally think it would work but once you try it, you realize how much better your story will be.
The comfort you find in words passes on to others. It can help readers get through their day, their year. An illness. A death. Something that comes together in what seems no time can have such an effect on others. I’m sure it has always been this way. I mean, look at the Bible. People have read it for years for the same reason. Stories bring meaning to people’s lives. A character facing an end, or a beginning jolts them to an awareness they didn’t know before. It helps them to cope with nightmares they’re going through. It teaches them lessons in how they want to be as a person and how that character struggled to do the same.
Think about sitting around those campfires over the generations. It’s where it all began. Telling stories. A rapt audience. The combination still can’t be beat. Yes, if your dreams lead you to writing, hold on, even in the opposition of storms in your life. Storms make us stronger. They pull us together. Bring comfort from one another. Dreams have always been a hard thing to follow, to tend to at times. They probably, honestly, always will be. It’s part of youth, of challenging the status quo. It’s not done with contempt, but love. Hold on to your creative streak. It will bring you happiness given time.