Ralph Waldo Emerson
Speak Less by Laura Kimball
What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and in intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness. It is the harder, because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know I. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
I once received a fortune cookie that read: “Speak less of your plans, you’ll get more done.” What’s one project that you've been sitting on and thinking about but haven’t made progress on? What’s stopping you? What would happen if you actually went for it and did it?
Today's challenge is apropos of the way many of us are living our writing lives. I know I sometimes think about things so long that by the time I get around to doing anything concrete about it...actually putting some words on paper..the ideas and inspirations feel stale and old and hopeless. I think to myself, "I must be crazy. No one will ever want to read this." I let my assuming that no one will ever read something I wrote prevent me from ever finishing it. In reality it doesn't matter if no one but me will ever read it, that is not the point of the work. Is it? What I mean is, if you write well, from your own truth, and your own experiences, the readers who find your work meaningful to them will follow.
It is an almost constant struggle to do what we feel and know, deep inside our selves, we must do and not worry so much about what other people will think. Not everything we write will resonate with everyone, but if we are to find our true audience we cannot sanitize our work to the point that it is no longer our work. We are all individuals, as writers and as readers. We are all attracted to different genres and styles. I, for instance, find the currently popular fantasy/vampire stuff absolutely tedious and just not my thing..but that's not to take away from someone who immerses themselves in every new edition and spends hours creating new and exciting characters. More power to them. I think anything that gets kids reading is a good thing.
Even though it's not for me, I can appreciate the work it takes to write one of those novels well. The key word here is 'well'. I've found through the years that just because something is popular, it doesn't mean it's well crafted, or even good.
We all have to figure out what it is that we want to say to potential readers, and we should be aware that what we have to say has value. It is a struggle sometimes to live our lives on our own terms, really and truly. And to put what we have to say, and not what we think others want to hear, into our writing.
Now, I am going to follow the advice of that fortune cookie and speak less of my plans and see how much I get done!
Good luck to everyone in all your writing endeavours, and in your lives as well! Let's get those old projects dusted off and see what happens if we just go for it and get them done!