Updated: Jun 3, 2022
If you’re wondering how to get back into the writing groove after a period of unproductivity, see Chapter 2 of “Write with Spite,” then come back here.
…okay, have you written something wild, senseless, and spiteful? Good.
Next, don’t be afraid of your work! When I finished writing my spiteful piece, I took a step back and thought, oh no. My classmates and my professor have to read this. I feared the story would be too heavy for some casual workshopping, perhaps too on-the-nose with what I was going through at that time in my life, and maybe too concerning. But, it was something I had to write both for myself and for an assignment, so there was no going back. I submitted it with a lump of fear lodged in my stomach.
At that point, I learned the true value of being an unapologetic artist. The story I wrote wasn’t Best American Short Stories material, but it garnered enough praise from my peers for me to realize my craft is just that–whatever the heck I want it to be. Some people may not like what I write, whether they find my work boring, uncomfortable, or just plain bad. However, “some” does not mean “all,” which means writers will never have reviews that are 100% good or 100% bad, so there’s no use in worrying about your work being too much or not enough. Especially as a woman, I find myself constantly worrying about my art being downplayed, discredited, and detested given the feminine identity attached to the words I write. Consider Taylor’s Swift speech at the 2016 Grammy awards:
"As the first woman to win Album of the Year at the Grammys twice, I want to say to all the young women out there, there are going to be people along the way who will try to undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame…”
Believe me when I say that times are changing in favor of artists who have waited so long to say what they want to say, and however they want to say it. Miss Swift gave her female audience a spark of hope when she added,
“ …if you just focus on the work and you don't let those people sidetrack you, someday when you get where you're going you'll look around and you will know that it was you and the people who love you who put you there. And that will be the greatest feeling in the world.”
Even if you are not a woman reading this post, it is so important now more than ever to stay true to yourself and your stories. Don’t let the fear of other people’s standards get in the way of doing what you love to do the most, especially if your writing took an unconventional turn. And, most importantly, be confident that what you are writing is as valuable as you are.