One of my favorite things to do with writing is looking back over old material. I usually start out intending to clean things out and it ends up with me reading notebooks from years gone by.
What always surprises me about this is when I come across writing that really isn't that bad. I mean anything I come across always needs revising and improving and more often than not, it's all half-finished. Yet, I love it when I come across something that surprises me in a good way. (I have had my share of reading cringe-worthy writing).
In fact, earlier past year (think January) I stumbled across a half completed story that I started over 5 years ago. I liked it enough to finish it.
Often times with writing I think we're all a bit hard on ourselves. I get that way too. Yet every now and then I am reminded that sometimes being hard on myself, means I get in my own way.
About a month ago, my mom found a poem I wrote when I was about 18, right after graduating from high school. I had maybe tried revising it once or twice but I had forgotten about it completely until she found it. She encouraged me to submit it somewhere but as I looked at it, I thought, "There's so much work to do on this." So, I tabled it and figured I would get to it eventually.
On a slow weekday afternoon, I dug up this poem and thought, "Well, I may as well try to clean it up." I polished here and there, giving it more rhythm in some places, replacing a few word choices.
Then I submitted it, thinking to myself it would enter a seemingly endless cycle of revision, rejection, rinse, and repeat.
But it was accepted.
I couldn't believe it! This little poem that didn't seem likely to find a home (in my mind, at least) was going to be published.
What I realized now is that I think as writers we are way too hard on ourselves sometimes. I am certain I have ditched projects far too soon and ignored story ideas that were hidden gems. I think it comes down to getting out of our own way sometimes.
So today, as you look on your own writing, I encourage you to write despite that lingering self-doubt. Over this past year, I've learned to write even despite that sing-songy torment says, "This isn't going anywhere you know." Look into the eyes of your self-doubt and say, "So, I'm writing anyways." Because sometimes the very thing we think we shouldn't write, or couldn't write, or would never work anyway, becomes something amazing. And you get that acceptance despite nearly getting in your own way.
Today, get out of your own way and write anyways.
And in case, like the meme says at the top of this post, your writing plans get cancelled because of...well, anything. It's okay, get back at it tomorrow.
My poem is going to be featured in an anthology being released later this year! Yay!