I was in the process of writing a Christmas-themed post when I came across this while reading someone else's page. Reverb10 is a one month twitter and blog project, based on reflections of 2010 and hopes for 2011. From December 1-31, you respond to each of the prompts described on the main website. Since it's December 2nd, I'll post both today's topic as well as yesterday's.
December 1-One Word
If I were to pick one word to describe 2010, it would be the year of dreams. My biggest and most desired dream was to go to college; and not just any school, but the school that I had pretty much fallen in love with after only visiting for three hours. I spent hours working on my application and several weeks writing and re-writing essays, knowing how badly I wanted to go there. I'm now currently a creative writing major at that University, and believe it's one of the best things that has happened to me in the past five years.
Of course, I had other aspirations as well; during my senior year, I made several lists of short-term and long term things that I wanted to accomplish. A lot of them involved stepping out of my comfort zone, and there were several times that I wanted to give up because I was afraid of what may be on the other side, so to speak. When it came to prom, I was scared of putting so much effort in to getting a date and having it yield no positive results. When I went rafting on the Colorado River, I constantly had visions of myself getting seriously injured or worse. Yet, I pursued them without a whole lot of preparation, and both experiences turned out to be incredible.
In regards to 2011, I hope that will be the year of doing. I have had so many visions and aspirations aside from the ones I mentioned above, many appearing to be unrealistic or unable to fully grasp. In the past, I feel like spent more time dreaming and wondering about something rather than getting off my butt and putting that dream into action. Most of the time I put off pursuing it because I was afraid; afraid of getting hurt physically and/or emotionally, afraid of chasing after something only to realize that it was the wrong thing at the wrong time. And ultimately, afraid of failure.
I don't want to live in fear anymore, regardless of what happens. It's true that sometimes you don't get everything you want, nor do things turn out the way you expect them to. But that doesn't mean that you shouldn't try. In the end, it's not really about an accomplishment in itself that matters. It's what you learn in the process.
In regards to writing, the one thing that keeps me from doing it is just plain ole' procrastination. There have been plenty of times where I have come up with ideas for a story or have had something happened to me that I could write about in a poem, only to have a month or more pass before I actually write it down.
But now that I really think about it, another thing that interferes with my writing (or hesitation to write) is wondering how people will view and react to it once they read it. There are blog post ideas that I have conjured up, only to type a post and delete it out of fear of what the other person on the other side of the computer screen may think once they read it. For the longest time, I refused to share my creations with my family just for that reason. There are certain topics as well as happenings in my life that I long to translate from pen to paper, but constantly go back and forth on whether or not it's a good idea. I don't want to dig out skeletons that might be better off left in the closet, or reveal things about myself that I might end up regretting talking about later on.
But the way I see it, writing is my voice; if I don't use that voice, than I will simply be silent and feel like I'm hiding who I truly am. And if I hide who I am truly am, than I am not living the best life that I could be living. The kind of life that I want to have.
The solution is simple in itself, but often difficult to put into practice. For one, there will always be people that either dislike your work or disagree with your opinion (sometimes both). You cannot allow one or multiple people to determine whether or not you'll be a successful writer. There are also those that use constructive criticism, and I need to be more open to that. If I'm being true to myself in my writing, and being true to what is in my heart, than that really is all that matters.
In regards to procrastination, I've learned that a piece prose or poem does not need to be completed in an entire day; that is, if one gives themselves enough time to get it done before a deadline. I've made it a goal to write a little bit each day. In college, it's hard to find time to do actual free-writing (meaning anything aside from research papers or homework assignments). So I need to set aside time an hour or two each day to completely devote myself to it. As of right now, I don't have any specific time slot because it really depends on the amount of studying I have to do or other tasks that need to be completed. Nonetheless, it is a goal of mine.
The one thing I keep reminding myself is if I want to accomplish my dream of being a published writer, I need to do so fearlessly and efficiently.
Take a chance, because you never know what could happen in the end.