Good things come to those who write
June 28, 2012 § Leave a comment
Do you ever have those days where you wake up and think “hey, I’m going to write today!” and you do write but end up loathing every single word you put down on paper? Yeah, me too. Sometimes it lasts for mere hours, sometimes for days or months; days and months you spend despising everything that you write. And then you wonder why you even do it, what’s the point? It’s not like anybody is even reading your work, or that anybody ever will. Why do you even write?
Those days are real downers filled with a lot of insecurities and self-doubts. It’s hard to get the ideas out of your head even though you know that they don’t belong there. You know that you’re not the best writer out there, but you must be some sort of capable writer, it’s all you’ve known for so long. Yet, everything that you put down on paper comes out horrendous. If you can’t even love what you write, why would anybody else?
All the questions and doubts cloud your mind during this period. Why do I write? Why should I write? What’s the point? It’s a really low point to be at. Maybe it’s just me because I can have low self-esteem sometimes, especially when it comes to my writing, but it can’t be just me, right? So what do you do to fix it? To remind yourself that you need to keep going even if you hate everything that you do?
Well, for me, I try to remind myself of a few good things that have come out of my writing.
Let me tell you first that I wrote my first novel when I was fourteen. It’s called Yesterday at Brewery Road and is a love story about two young women: Asia, a muslim girl from Turkmenistan, and Millie, an agnostic, Irish girl. It’s kind of a Young adult coming of age novel. It’s nothing particularly groundbreaking or wonderful but it’s the only piece of writing that I’m strangely proud of. It’s very close to my heart but not really because of what it’s about or how it affected me.
You see, a fair few people read Yesterday at Brewery Road. My friend Shaun is probably the biggest fan of it out of everyone who read the book. He told me once, quite a few years ago, that it was one of his favourite books of all time. And that yes, for him it ranked among books by real, published authors. I told him that was the nicest thing anyone had ever said to me. I don’t think I could even describe to you how I felt about what he had said. I felt like my writing actually had an impact on people other than me. But that was just the start, because Shaun was only the first person to read my book.
I let my friend Pamela read it a while after Shaun. I was pretty hesitant about it but she was extremely enthusiastic about reading it, which gave me a lot of hope and made me feel all happy inside. She finished it pretty quickly (It was only a bit above 50,000 words so fairly short, as far as novels go) and told me that she teared up near the end. I was touched when she confessed that to me. My writing had affected someone to the point that they actually shed tears over it. That was a pretty big deal to me.
Lastly, there was my friend Lubabatu. Let me tell you that at that time, Lubabatu expressed a good few homophobic sentiments around me. Have any of you ever watched the Matthew Shepard story? It’s a movie based on a true story about a boy who was beaten to death for being gay. We watched it once in our religion/SPHE class. Lubabatu refused to watch it, so strong were her feelings against gays. She was the last person I expected to be enthusiastic about reading my novel, yet she was one of the first people to come asking me if she would be able to read it. I was surprised, to say the least, and I couldn’t deny her. So she read it and she came back to tell me that she loved it. She loved it so much apparently that she wanted to share it with other friends, whom I didn’t even know. I was a little baffled at her reaction.
A few years later, Lubabatu came to me, seeming very frustrated and infuriated. I asked her what was wrong. She recounted a story about how back in her school in Nigeria, a girl was expelled for being supposedly gay, whilst another girl was beaten for it. We discussed it for a while, the whole thing turning into a rant about the injustices of the world and how gay people don’t deserve to be treated like that.
I never pretended that reading my book was the driving force towards my friend’s acceptance of gays, but I do like to believe that my novel played some part in it. The thought still makes me happy. All of these incidences do. They make me feel like my writing isn’t just for me, it’s for others too. They make me realise that I can make my voice heard through my writing, I can affect people and make them think and, sometimes, I can even make them change attitudes.
What about you guys? Do you have self-doubts and insecurities about your writing? What helps you overcome them? And what are some of your good memories associated with writing? I’m very interested to hear so don’t be afraid to leave a comment!