I’ve Come A Long Way
I can’t believe it’s been 3 years since I published my first book. Wow how the time has flown! I remember writing each one of my books like it were yesterday.
I sometimes reminisce about what actually made me do it. You know, instead of sitting there with just thoughts in my head about publishing a book – actually putting pen to paper (fingers to keyboard), starting, and actually finishing.
When I was younger I use to write all the time. I could hardly wait to pass the stories on to someone close to me (usually my younger sister). I use to be so anxious to hear her opinion about what I had written.
As a curious adolescent, one day after giving my sister one of my stories, I read a note that my sister wrote to one of her friends. The words that my sister wrote were heartbreaking. She said, “I have to read another one of my sister’s stupid stories.” Most of you would have stopped writing right there, and I must admit that I stopped for a while.
But then I started again; something in me just wouldn’t let me stop for good. I knew that I had a voice, and despite my rather quiet nature, I knew I had something important to say. Regardless of if my sister liked it or not.
Stick With Me… The Tips Are Coming
Fast forward (a few years), and you have me in high school. I remember feeling my hands trembling writing a poem that we had to do for one of my English classes. I got up to the podium and got into character. It was in the middle of mid-terms and we had finished our mid-terms so the teacher wanted us to do some creative writing. I stood up at the podium and delivered a poem (mediocre in my opinion) in front of the entire class.
When I finished the final sentence, the entire class stood up and roared with cheers. I couldn’t believe it. Can you imagine? Middle of mid-terms, quiet in all the halls of the school, and one classroom just bursts into applause and screaming? The teacher next door came running into the classroom in a panic. My English teacher replied to her hysteria by saying, “I’m so sorry one of our students just wrote and delivered an exceptional poem”. That was a pivotal moment for me.
That started my fire. The fact that my dear mother cannot even read and write, further added to the passion. I know that my words mean something to someone and that’s the reason why I call myself an author and a writer. I know that through my stories I can reach out to people that may be going through their own personal struggle and offer them some encouragement.
Just A Little More… I Promise It’s Worth It
I remember writing a letter to my brother one day. I didn’t know how to get through to him. He wasn’t nice, and he was rather abusive to me. One day I took a pencil and a piece of paper and I wrote down exactly what it was that I was feeling. When he came in the room after he read the letter, he hugged me tight, wiped my tears, and told me he was sorry for being the way that he had been towards me. It was then that I knew that my writing had an effect on people.
So when I decided to actually start publishing my books, my fears from my childhood of course crept in. Along with the sickening feeling of inadequacy when the “real writers” wrote their nasty comments about us “wannabe authors” that don’t make money or have big named publishers. Despite the constant negativity, my heart just wanted to keep moving forward.
7 books later I don’t have my name on the new york times best sellers list, and I am honestly not paid handsomely for what I do, but that doesn’t make me any less of a writer. When I hear comments like “you changed my life”, “I live because you gave me strength”, or “I never thought of it that way”, I know that I am doing my job. So I wanted to take the time to share with you what I’ve learned about writing and the creative process over the years.
Hopefully this will offer encouragement to some of you, shift your perspective if you are thinking of giving up, or simply add to the well of resources that I know you have already collected.
And Now… The Tips
8 Tips To Help You Go With The Flow Of Your Passion
1. Never Compare Yourself To Others
I know how it feels to see some people at the top of a list, on magazine covers, and on tv, and to feel like crawling in a hole when you think of your work in comparison. The truth is… your voice means something. The people on the tv and magazines are meant to reach people sometimes on a wider scale. That doesn’t mean that your artistry/voice is not important. Imagine someone that finds your blog that was just about to give up on life and reads something so profound that makes them want to live another day. That matters too.
2. Take Your Time
I cannot stress this enough. I know we all want to see the finished product, but the true happiness/joy comes from really making love (in a sense) to your craft. It’s the journey through and to the finale that is the real indulgence. Pace yourself. Don’t be so quick to just finish. Savor every moment.
3. Be Your Own Unique Voice
There is a way that you write or perform that people will connect with. You do not have to copy anyone else. I know again that sometimes we feel like we fail in comparison to other people, but your style and the way that you deliver is important. Being genuine translates. It just does. So do you in the special way that only you can.
4. Don’t Discount Your Ideas
Sometimes I get an idea for a project, video, book etc and I just let it vanish into thin air. Later on down the line sometimes, I kick myself because I didn’t write it down. Sometimes it’s just not the proper time to post/share whatever you are thinking about. That doesn’t mean that your ideas or stupid or won’t be relevant in the future. So write it down. Any idea. Big or small. That way you can go back if you are inspired to use that idea.
5. Write From Your Heart
I write to convey feelings/emotions/ideas. The reason that some can feel my writing is because I do not write about intense emotions that I have not experienced myself. Let me be clear, just because I wrote about the jungle in Journey Through Sattara doesn’t mean that I have actually been to the jungle. It just means that I know what it feels like to be in an environment that certainly feels like one.
When my characters cry, I am crying writing the words. So conveying feelings and doing it from the heart is a very important factor in any creative expression. I am sure you have lost someone close to you, or been through a tumultuous time, or experienced joy beyond anything you can accurately express with words. Those experiences are your resources. Pull from them, dig deep, feel them, and then express.
6. Don’t Publish For Other People
Man… I really need to get that framed. It’s so important. There are so many different people from different walks of life that will not get your artistry. It’s just the way of the world. So when you write or perform just find your own flow. Find the reason why you do it, and just do it. Leave how other people interpret your work out of the equation. Everyone has a different perspective. I want to add a quote by Paulo Coelho.
You Don’t Need To Explain Your Dreams They Belong To You
7. You’re Not Going To Learn Everything
People don’t follow their dreams or flow because sometimes they feel they are not educated enough, don’t know enough, or simply don’t feel adequate enough to pursue their destiny. I am here to tell you… you are not going to know everything about your craft. It’s just not possible, until you get into the thick of it. No amount of training is going to prepare you to genuinely express yourself. It is only a skill that can be developed through trial and error and experience. Just do it. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. You will learn along the way. Note: that does not mean to not have some kind of basic understanding, I just mean you don’t have to study for 25 years before you actually get up to do it.
8. Celebrate Your Accomplishments
If you don’t, the artist in you will get resentful that you are taking its precious resources and turning them into just going through the motions. Give yourself a treat. Stop, relax, rest. You don’t have to jump right into the next project. It is exhausting sometimes. Have you taken the time to really reflect on what you’ve created? You birthed something into the world. That is an accomplishment in itself. Do you know how many ideas are floating around that never come into existence? Give yourself a pat on the back. Congratulate yourself for at least creating something. Anything.
I hope this is helpful to you. From one passionate artist to another!