I’ve decided to submit something to a writing contest. It is not much – 2,000 words or less. I’ve always wondered how my writing might hold up against others and I’ve always had a dream of my writing supporting myself and my family. However, as usual in my life I’ve played it safe and just dreamed of these things from a distance. Never taking any steps to actually get myself any closer to that dream.
I am now deciding to finally start stepping out of my comfort zone. I don’t want to be on my deathbed one day wondering whether or not I could have done something more with my love of writing.
The first step out of my safe bubble was starting this blog. The second step is this writing contest. A possible third is joining a writing group.
I’ve written up my first draft and asked a few friends to read over it and give me some honest feedback. I was honestly a bit worried about whether I could take any criticism. My perfectionist tendencies make it hard for me to process feedback at times. No matter how constructive. I know it is a way to better myself and I honestly want it, but I have to be honest and admit it does chip away at my self confidence.
One of my friends yesterday asked if I had time to discuss my story. She started it out with saying she loved how honest my writing is and how funny the story was. Then she started going through things where she believed there were some loose ends and things just needed to be tidied up.
I was surprised that I was actually able to listen to her and take notes without my inner bully chastising me the entire time. That actually excited me because it shows how much progress I have made.
But there is still an issue that I need to get over. As she gave me some suggestions of how I might make some changes to tighten things up, a part of me was thinking she had some great ideas but I could not use them. Why? Because I would be taking her idea and profiting from it rather than it being my idea.
I started thinking about this more, dissecting it (there is the analytical side again!) and I realized this is crazy! This is another area where my insecurities and my way of thinking needs to be rewired. That is what this whole journey is really about. Me rewiring my brain to have new thought patterns in various scenarios. Thought patterns which are the difference between a life of stress and insecurities or a life of joy and fulfillment.
So I’ve decided I just need to get over myself. All projects at work are a combination of various people’s ideas brought together into one cohesive effective end result. While a project at work and my writing are not the same thing, there is a lesson to be learned here. My friends giving me ideas on how to write something (which I can choose to use or loose) is not going to mean what I write is not my own. I can take their suggestions and run with them in my own way. Just because the intial idea comes from someone else does not mean that I can’t put my own spin on it and make it mine. That is what dedications are for!
So I’m going to make a choice tonight to just get over myself and take my wonderful friend’s suggestions and spin them in my own way.
And I’m going to dedicate this post to my beautiful friend, Jennifer. I am forever thankful for you believing in me and always encouraging me. For giving me honest feedback and knowing I could handle it even when I did not know it myself. And for shining a light on another life lesson, even without necessarily knowing it.