For years, I didn’t talk about writing. I was embarrassed to tell people I wrote fiction. Labelling myself a writer felt fraudulent, at first because I hadn’t been published and later because I hadn’t been published anywhere ‘big’. Then there was the possibility that my dreams would go nowhere. What then? Then I would be, well…ridiculous.
The irony is that my work didn’t truly begin to develop until I went public and embraced my writer identity. Outing myself meant taking my dreams seriously. It was a raising of the stakes, a necessary step.
I know now that following any kind of creative path means falling on your face a lot. Rejections and failures are part of the journey. I’ve grown comfortable with that.
Still, I have days where I feel ridiculous.
When I get rejection #20.
When another mom at the playground asks if I’ve sold my book yet.
When I’m midway through the first draft of a novel and realize it’s every bit as shitty as the last first draft I wrote (I mean really? have I learned anything? are they always going to be that shitty?).
This post is a note to my future self. It’s for those days when I feel foolish for falling again and again and again.
In her autobiography, My Story, Marilyn Monroe said this:
Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.
Some days that quote is my mantra and I wanted to put it somewhere where I wouldn’t forget it. Because while being ridiculous is necessary, it’s also beautiful and courageous.
So, future self, and anyone else out there who’s striving for something that’s out of reach, making lots of mistakes and feeling ridiculous: keep it up. I love when you pick yourself up and stumble onwards. You’re my hero.