I pride myself as a budding writer now and I have not come to realize how liberating it is, to see myself as what I am-budding until recently.
I remember when I initially wanted to become a writer. It was roughly three years ago. I came across a short story by my friend Phylix, some of you are familiar with his works on my blog. So I remember loving that short story, I went through the comments and realized there is a community of writers out there.
I started following Phylix closely and generally the entire writer’s community then on facebook. I started imagining the days I’d get to write half as good as he did. After reading a few short stories on Facebook I decided to write one. You cannot begin to imagine how horrible it was. Thinking about it now even gives me creeps, the story was coated with layers of errors that it might have actually made your eyes bleed.
I’d never read a book, well except compulsory ones like ‘purple hibiscus’ and ‘INDependence’ and ‘Last days at Forcados high school’ but that was years before I wrote that short story.
I remember how people came to praise me in the comments for that horrible story, thinking about it now I can’t help but wonder if their praises were a sort of mockery or really genuine or simply what it was, a way of encouragement. Phylix didn’t praise me, he called me out for what I was. A horrible writer(LOL) he attempted to correct a thousand and one errors in the story but I think at one point he gave up.
I stopped writing after that first story, which was more or less a horror story.
Why am I talking about this, recently I watched a speech Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie gave the 2018 graduating class of Harvard, where she said her first novel was put away in a drawer after getting so many rejections. She said she had put it away after admitting the dreadful truth that the manuscript was simply not good enough.
It made me remember this story and another series that I tried to write a while back, I only got to publish four chapters out of the fifteen chapters I had written. The truth that I came to realize then, was that the series was terrible. Which in reality made me doubt myself. Made me think I wasn’t good enough.
I was lucky to have Phylix there, he told me this doubt happened to the best of us,
Thinking about it now, you are never a writer if you hadn’t always doubted yourself.
he told me that it’ll get better, that I’d get better.
After that horrible series, I never published my writings for almost a year. During this time I read more, I started researching what it means to be a writer, I never really knew what it entailed. I thought it was just imagining Something and then writing it down.
But writing is more than that. Writing is lending a voice to the world, it’s speaking to people through your stories.
I doubted myself for so long that it became a part of me. (Never doubt yourself) Recently I started writing again, more like I started sharing my writings again. People have been commenting how good I am and this time I think they are saying this genuinely. Even I have come to realize how good I have become but not exactly great though, just your regular type of good.
Recently I made a friend from college, Jennifer. She is peculiarly interesting. We started talking recently and she told me how she loved to write on paper than type on a laptop or phone. I told her it was unsafe for me to write on paper, that someone could just come across it and read. She said she had always imagined that someone would stumble across her writing and tell her how good she was. I laughed and told her that I don’t like sharing my writings until I’m ready.( This is me saying I don’t like sharing my writing until I had battled with my inferiority and actually come to overcome it)
She said something that has quite stuck with me since then. She said “that’s because you know how good you are”
She also said she sometimes envied me. In her words, I saw an opportunity. An opportunity to help lift someone from the abyss of self-doubt, just like Phylix and Victor Somto and my a million other friends did to me all those years ago.
I’m home on a break from college and I’ll be going back soon. I’m definitely going to read Jennifer’s stories when I do. I am going to tell her that she can become even better than me, I am sure Jennifer knows this but then she needs to hear me say it, just like I needed to hear Phylix say it all those years ago.
As I said, I now pride myself as a budding writer because I believe I am still in the process of becoming one–a writer–
I believe I am still in the developing process. So while I am still developing I have decided to lend my voice to the world, to get as many people to develop along with me. I believe there are a million more stories to be told.
My friend Dean wrote on his status “We write so that we may have a way to placate our pain”
He is right, deep down we all feel this pain and this need to tell a story. I know I do.
So that’s what I’m going to do, I’m going to try and placate the pain by writing more.
It took me years to rise from the abyss of self-doubt and inferiority. I hope it doesn’t take you that long.
Cheers to writing and reading more.
By the way, if you haven’t read The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker, you definitely should. It’s one of my all-time favorites. I cannot begin to tell you how much Karen’s writing inspires me.
Till I get the chance to write something like this again. Ciao