Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Your Journey As a Writer

Lindsey Rietzsch
At the age of eight I developed an interest in writing. It was my third grade teacher who discovered that I had an ability to write and because of her I became excited about it. I remember the poem that I wrote which caught her eye was a poem about Rip Van Winkle the man that slept for 100 years. I remember rhyming about the silly details of his experience such as “worms crawling in his nose and mushrooms sprouting between his toes”. She was so amused by it she sent me around the school to read it to the other classes. I remember after that, my grandma, my parents and any adult that heard my poem laughed so hard I thought they’d kill over. Never before had I evoked such a reaction from anyone. I really enjoyed it.
As time went on, I grew to love writing. Entering contests, winning awards, and even using it as therapy! Upon entering junior high I really needed an outlet for all the stress, changes and fear that I was experiencing. I found that writing about my feelings was a way to let them out and help me deal with my challenges. Though I seldom shared them with anyone other than my best friend, I found that the more I wrote and the more I shared the better my writing abilities became and the more I enjoyed it. 

Then during my junior year in high school I anxiously enrolled in a creative writing class at school. I thought for sure that this would be an easy A - but how wrong I was. For the first time I had encountered a teacher who did not see any talent in my writing. I experienced C’s and B-'s; paper after paper. He continued to make suggestions and told me that if I changed my writing to meet his suggestions I could resubmit my writing for a better grade. I was deeply angered as I felt that my poems were becoming his poems. I’d rather settle for a bad grade than to represent work that was not mine. Needless to say that class took all of the fun and enjoyment out of writing and I came to the conclusion that I was no longer a good writer. I had lost my talent. 

At that point in my life I realized that writing was not going to get me anywhere in life and I decided to bury my talent. Occasionally for weddings and upon requests I would write. I even wrote lyrics to songs. However as I buckled down in my studies, became married and got lost in a full time job, I no longer found the time for writing and saw it as a waste of time as there were always more important things to do.

Clearly - that's not how my story ends. Along the way, one event after another, I was reminded why writing had once been so important to me and the passion came back!  It started with writing songs, in a journal, on blogs, and then came my first book. Just like that the door was wide open to several opportunities all from those initial baby steps. 

Are You a Good Enough Writer?

If you have questioned your ability as a writer because of unfortunate experiences it's completely normal, but as cliche as it sounds, the key to moving past that is believing in yourself. If you don't believe in yourself as a writer, no one else will. It's okay to take a break but don't quit all together. After all, the more you write the better you get.

Embrace criticism and feedback in all forms. Don't take it personal or you'll never make it as a writer. Just like art, good writing can sometimes vary from one opinion to another. Use it as a tool to better yourself on your journey. 

Becoming a Serious Writer

If writing has been a dream of yours, you need to establish your credibility. Whether you start with a journal or a blog - just get started. Eventually you can submit your writings to contests, magazines or become a guest writer for other blogs. Getting your foot in the door not only boosts your confidence but opens up doors for more opportunity to share your talent! One door always leads to another and before you know it you're an established writer and author.

So, where are you at in your writing journey? I'd love to hear.

- Lindsey Rietzsch

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