My brain picked up original today and ran with it, sure, it was closer to a lumber, for which I am now making a pot of coffee (a little pot, 4-cupper, I don’t want to wake my brain up that much). Through many tangents, I thought about writing and original ideas and how some people “borrow” the work of others and how the internet has unfortunately made cheating and plagiarism so easy.
But because my brain is much happier not dwelling on cheating, it went back to writing. From some single digit age, I knew I wanted to be a writer, well, as well as the first female baseball player, a rock musician, a forest ranger, an oceanographer, and who knows what else. But a writer—always.
I had cheap notebooks filled with bad penmanship and cross-outs and an awful lot of stories and poems and ideas.
On my very first assignment for composition class, my instructor scrawled: “If you want to major in English Literature, you had better learn how to write.” Pow, right to the chest. Unfortunately, according to her, via every subsequent assignment, my writing stayed mediocre.
That experience derailed me. I transferred to the modern language department and started studying Spanish and Italian. I continued to write because I had been writing from the time I could scratch letters on paper. Inevitably I finished my English degree, shared my creative writing with another instructor who was a good teacher, who understood that students should be given support as well as criticism and she encouraged me.
Later I discovered that my circuitous route was not very original. I have dialogued with many writers who share to varying degrees my experience. There was someone who impeded their progress, convinced them that they would fail. Many writers don’t listen. They are sure of their dreams. For some, like me, we put credence in the opinion of someone who possessed just a few more years of education than we did and let them become the voice in our heads that said: you don’t have the stuff to make it.
While I’ve had a few pieces published, I also let the constant flow of rejection letters land and stopped writing for a few years.
Now, my idea of “making it” is different. Sure, a best-selling novel would be fantastic. However, I share my writing openly, here. There will be people who hate it. There will always be people who hate it. But if I can make someone smile or think or laugh or have a better day—for me, that’s making it.