So, it only took three days! Yup, three whoooooole days for me to wonder exactly I had gotten myself into this time. I spent a good portion of yesterday looking at all the amazing blogs that are part of the Write 31 Days challenge and with each click I felt like an outsider. This is a condition I find myself in. A lot. Who was it that said “Comparison is the thief of joy”? OK, I am a total geek and I know the answer-just wanted to phrase it as a question. It was Teddy Roosevelt.
Gorgeous graphics, wise and well crafted writing, great topics and all around perfect looking blogs for about three hours and I was left wishing I hadn’t done signed up. What can I possibly offer to the conversation? Nothing interesting or new, that’s for sure. After a healthy dose of self loathing with a smidge of pity thrown in for good measure I was reminded why I chose-yes, chose-to do this. It was a challenge to write. Something I have wanted to pursue and have always loved.
My earliest recollection of wanting to write was when I was maybe 8 or 9. I had seen a contest in the local paper looking for stories of unsung hero’s and why they deserved to be recognized. In my most earnest, youthful way I set out to write a story for the contest. I knew right away who I was going to write about!! I was so excited! I wrote my little heart out, sent my entry in and waited. It is SO hard to wait when you just know you are going to win! I got my first rejection letter a few weeks later. I didn’t understand, I mean, how could I have lost? No one had ever written a song about Frederick Douglass Jr.-come on!! See, what my little old writer self didn’t know was that unsung meant unrecognized. I realized this-and learned a great lesson-when I read the winners submissions.
I continued to submit for different things and was even published (kids section in the local paper-no big digs) once or twice. Somewhere along the way I gave it up. Don’t know why-maybe it was the rejections out weighing the acceptances-but I think it had more to do with the increasing inhibitions that accompanied growing up. And comparison. I developed a severe case of ‘others’. Others were better at almost everything so why bother.
Fast forward a few years (ahem) and I am still dealing with comparison. AND, I am still allowing it to steal my joy! The definition above has some interesting points to it-especially the bit about a “voluntary…restraint on the direct expression of an instinct”. This implies a willingness to act against what one really wants. Is this what I do? Do I willfully allow comparison and all the other negative thoughts inhabit my thoughts? Do I allow what I think others think of me get in the way? Do I allow that voice that says I am not as good as _______ keep me from taking the next step? Have I spent too many years wanting to fit in-to be as cool as or as good as or as whatever as? Uh, yeah.
I wish I knew who said this-I couldn’t find an attribution but I give props to whoever did. I still nod yes when I read it. This is where I want to be-to have that confidence in where I am and quit comparing myself to what everyone else is doing. I may not be changing the world with what I write but I am writing none-the-less so that alone has value. I am still getting lots of rejections-more that 30 so far this year for my art work (none for writing cause you can’t get rejected if you haven’t sent anything off!) and I am learning to let it slide right off. That it isn’t personal and that I need to keep going.
I will probably talk about rejection some more on down the road but I will leave it alone for now. For today, just today, let’s focus on forward motion-on taking that next step one at a time and not all at once. I am looking forward to following a lot of great bloggers out there and I know I will learn a ton and though I am truly sorry I couldn’t get a song written about Mr. Douglass I am grateful that I remembered that the desire to write goes a long way back. AND, maybe its worth going forward with 😉
What holds you back? What is your ‘thief’? Let’s shake them off together!
Enjoy the AND because that is where the journey is happening-