“Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts” –Anne Lamott
Scrolling through Pinterest for inspiration, it felt really good to read this and know that there’s hope for me yet. When I try to write stories I keep them as well hidden as possible, fearful that my friends and family will find my work and reveal to me how terrible it truly is. I go through tiny heart breaks when I realize my writing isn’t as moving as that of Jhumpa Lahiri or as intellectual and genius as Toni Morrison’s work. Encased in a cage where I only have these polished products to read, and a cage in which I only have what I regard as the best novels, the rational part of me realizes it’s hardly surprising my feeble efforts and divided attention don’t add up to a masterpiece.
Recently I’ve been going through my “quarter life crisis” as I’m realizing that biologically speaking, my brain is reaching its peak. It is at this time in my life where my creative abilities are at their best. Knowing this, occasionally I panic and wonder if I even have the potential to write something that affects people, changes them and the way they think about things. My dream would be to create something so imaginatively addictive that it becomes its own world, enticing and inspiring hundreds, maybe thousands, providing a refuge between two beautifully designed covers. Maybe it is in fact too much to aspire to be the next J.K. Rowling, seeing as she didn’t even imagine the dimensions her literary world would create.
My point is, we talk about body image, but we don’t talk about “talent image.” Everyone knows the obsession with putting one’s best self forward, manipulating their bodies in photos so we perceive only their finest features. What I want is for famous and revered writers to show us their first, raw, “no makeup” attempts. Show us the writing that sucked. Adele, show us that video of your voice choking out on you, we know it’s out there. Rockettes, show us your embarrassing rehearsal bloopers. University faculty, show us your mediocre papers and exam scores.
Please remind us that it’s not just luck and circumstance, but that hard work also gets us to where we want to be. I want to see that yes my ideas may be completely lackluster now, but that writers like Hemingway sucked too once.