If we’re totally honest with ourselves, then we have to admit — we all have great expectations for our writing. We have dreams for publication and maybe even some hopes for a broad and adoring audience, it’s true. But, what we really want is to write well. No, we want to write something brilliant and beautiful and provocative.
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The way we imagine it in our heads, the way we hear our words sounding never seems to quite work out that way, though. We write feverishly and are thrilled to lift the pen from our masterpiece only to return to it a day or so later and find it to be a ghastly mess.
How did something that felt so right, go so wrong? Those great expectations may have something do with it. We can’t all match the genius of a Charles Dickens, after all. Or a Shakespeare or a Fitzgerald or Neruda.
And guess what? That’s not what we should be aiming for anyway. In fact, the more work to emulate other writers or be something that we are not, the more likely we are to become disenchanted with our own writing.
Aiming for perfection is one thing; veering off your own writing path is something else. By striving to create our own unique writing voice, we allow ourselves imperfections that just may be that little bit of brilliance we were seeking in our own writing.
Where to start? Begin by shelving those great expectations and just write what your imagination gives you. Explore your deepest thoughts and ideas for more innovative writing and care nothing for the rules or standards you think you have to follow. Finally, work to free yourself of the kind of self-doubt and insecurity that can paralyze your creative impulses.
Kerri S. Mabee