Today’s post is inspired by the You Tube video I posted below. (The video is a little over seven minutes.)
Okay, so now for my take on this topic.
I think there is value in being honest with yourself and with those around you. This is something I’ve been working on recently. I had no idea that when I made the decision to write for passion in March 2018, I started a series of events that changed everything in my life. These changes weren’t just writing related; the changes are impacting how I deal with money, personal relationships, and my walk with God. I think once you start to seriously examine one area of your life, other areas end up coming into play. It’s like a domino effect.
But all of this did start with my decision to write for passion. Writing for passion requires honesty. It requires a writer to sit down and ask, “What do I really want to write?” On the surface, this seems like it would be easy to answer, but the reality is that the answer is surprisingly complicated because the writer has to come face to face with what he/she truly values in life. The writer has to tell the story in a way that lines up with what matters to him/her.
As soon as you start being true to yourself, you will upset some people. This can’t be avoided. Not everyone is going to like the changes you’re making. They would prefer you to stay the way you used to be. I think that’s because your new way of dealing with the world is not always compatible with the way those people deal with the world. This new path isn’t going to be a good fit with everyone in your life. Whatever your truth is, you will have people who don’t like it. That’s okay. Your mission is not to change other people’s minds. Your mission is to be true to who you are. If someone doesn’t like it, let them go.
Speaking as a writer, I have received criticisms from people ever since I decided to write for passion. Quite a few of them were pretty vocal in letting me know how much they hated my new characters and/or stories. When I wrote to market, I rarely received criticism. Now I receive it about every other month, and some people aren’t even kind in how they approach me. There is an upside to this. The more criticism you receive from other people, the tougher your skin gets. And I’m almost at the point now where the criticism doesn’t even bother me anymore. The thing that matters is that I wrote the story I wanted to write. So there might be that period of adjustment where you have to push through the negativity in order to continue down the path you started walking on. I think the criticisms are worth it because it’s fine tuning me as a writer.
Sometimes if you are catering your story to the greatest number of people (aka writing to market), you won’t be writing something that has the ability to touch people’s hearts. Stories that resonate with people are those in which the writer has invested him/herself into them. These are stories people will remember. These are stories that people will want to read over and over. These are stories where people are connected with the characters so intimately that they forget they’re even reading a book. I’m not looking to win popular approve or to make a lot of money. I’m looking for stories that matter to me and to those who like them. I will say that while I’ve had my share of critics, I have also received lovely feedback as well. The key is to focus on the positive.
Don’t be afraid of taking that first step toward being true to yourself. What matters is growing as a person. I’ve found that the first few steps are the hardest. There will be fear while you’re going into this. When I made the decision to write for passion, it was hard because I was giving up some nice money and I knew some people wouldn’t like my stories. I had days where I had to remove myself from the Internet just so I could be alone to figure myself out.
My original goal of being true to myself as a writer has led to my new goal of being true to myself as a person. (This is the domino effect in action.) Just recently, I have been working on establishing healthy boundaries in my personal life. And these were boundaries that I had overstepped and others had overstepped. No one is perfect. We all have room for improvement, and It can be difficult to speak the truth to someone else, even when you are being kind and respectful. But if you’re dealing with people who can’t accept you for who you truly are, then are they really worth associating with? The answer, of course, is no. You want to honor other people’s truth, but they should also honor yours. Otherwise, the relationship isn’t healthy. (As a side note, by honor I don’t mean “agreement”. I mean “respect”. You can agree to disagree and still maintain a good relationship with someone.)
The bottom line is that as soon as you start being true to yourself in one area, I think it starts this snowball where other areas of your life start coming into play. The road isn’t easy. There will be some pain along the way. But if you think about it, babies have to fall before they learn to walk. Children fall off the bike before they can ride. There will be scrapes along the way, but if you keep going, you’ll be much better off for it. And you never know… Maybe you’ll impact someone else’s life for the better, and they will impact someone else’s life for the better, too. You might just be one person, but you can make a difference.