One student recently wrote to me with this lament: “I used to feel enthused to document every quirky thing that I observed, writing in a rush of words. Since I’ve been at a few classes, I’ve grown self-conscious. I’ve never written for anyone else and given how gifted the people I encounter in these classes seem to be, I feel a little dumbed out. It has changed me from writing for myself to writing for others.”
So, the dilemma is … How does a person grow in skills, technique and experience when their interactions with others is nerve-wracking and often causes loss of confidence?
We all face this kind of push-pull. No joke. Famous writers face this kind of discouragement. Very famous writers, even.
Here… read this, written by Richard Goldstone, biographer of Thornton Wilder. Wilder, who won the Pulitzer Prize twice for his writing…
“Clearly there exist … frustrations and anxieties, sorrow and suspicions, psychic wounds, creative blocks, and resentments: the entire apparatus of spiritual woes that afflicts man in general and writers in particular.”
There is always, ALWAYS, someone more prominent, more talented, more creative, more prolific, more _________ than we are.
And yet, I see it again and again, as soon as a person has even a small body of writing, he or she typically wants an audience for this work. Most of us need someone to hear, read, and see us. The only danger is… (well, okay, there are many)… but one of the dangers is… once you have an audience, you have to see through their eyes as well as yours.
Feel free to add your comments and experiences.
I’ll go further on this topic in the next post.