At this time, our family had only one computer, so it was pretty common for us kids to compete over computer time. My siblings wanted to play computer games and I wanted to type my stories.
Obviously, I took the conflict personally. There are two things I have since learned from this:
First, rich writing comes from a rich life.
While writing must be a priority in order for it to progress from a hobby to a craft, writing also must take a back seat to relationships with real people. Too many writers have ignored their families and sunk themselves into their work, to the destruction of the relationships that they most should have fought for. Don’t let your writing become a point of contention between you and your loved ones.
In this circumstance, I could have just switched to writing by hand until the computer was free, or I could have worked out a computer schedule so that everyone had a chance to use the computer in their free time. That would have been a much more mature response than simply responding in anger. Of course, I was eleven at the time, and, like that of most eleven-year-olds, my temper was a work-in-progress.
Second, writers tend to take setbacks or obstacles personally.
Look, the truth is this: Every writer faces obstacles. What separates the men from the boys, or the women from the girls, is perseverance. Will you let those obstacles frustrate you and stall you? Or will you see them as opportunities to improve and improvise? The winning writer is the optimistic writer, who focuses on constructiveness, not complaining.
There’s another unfortunate truth and that is that people don’t really care about your writing until you’ve actually delivered. Nobody cares about those hours of solitary work until they can read what you’ve written. That’s why it’s so easy for people discount your hard work and to respond in a way that can be discouraging.
You have to accept that as a fact of the writing life. Don’t let it get to you. Instead, let it motivate you to produce. Prove them wrong. Show them your stuff. Make them take notice. The only way you can do that is to ignore their jibes and snipping and to just get writing.
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