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Don't stop writing

Write well and don't be afraid.

By Jessica NorrisPublished about a year ago 7 min read
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Don't stop writing
Photo by Art Lasovsky on Unsplash

I have been an insecure writer for a long time. For years I had all these ideas in my head of stories that I wanted to write, but I could never translate them to the paper in a way that matched the picture in my brain.

I waited before I started sharing my work with the world. Even though I like writing fiction, I have only shared one fiction piece on Vocal, and it went through several edits before I felt like it was ready for public consumption. I'm still the most insecure about my fiction.

Writing is...well, it's so many things. And when it becomes your passion, you have to ask yourself why.

Why do you write? What is it that drives you to put the words on the page? What motivates you to keep putting your work out there even though people won't always like it?

I started my freelance writing career this past year (2021). It's been a journey, and if I were in it for the money, I would have quit by now. Okay, yes, I do write for money a little. It is my job right now, after all. Ultimately, the medical articles are paying the bills, not my Vocal stories. (Not that I would ever say no to tips, pledges, or reads.)

Sidenote: I'm looking to expand my list of clients in the new year. You can view my portfolio here. Health and wellness niche, but I'm also open to other work. I offer highly reasonable rates.

Okay, that's the self-promotion out of the way. 2021 has been a time of learning how to improve my writing and rediscovering my passion.

And I want to send out some words of encouragement as we enter a new year. To every person writing, no matter where you are on that journey.

Keep creating!

Keep doing it. Because if there's one thing 2021 has taught me, it's that you have to keep trying. You have to keep pushing yourself because it's the only way you're going to get anything done. You can't live paralyzed by a standard of perfection. Yes, I'm saying that to myself and everyone else.

I love the story of the art students in the pottery class that the teacher graded based on two different standards. He graded the first group strictly on the quantity of pottery they created, where a certain number of pounds equaled a specific grade. The second group he graded on quality and required them to only create a single work of pottery.

And the group that he graded on quantity created the best works of art because they were free to create, as opposed to the group that was trapped by having to make the best possible piece that they could make.

The point is to keep making art. And if you keep doing it over and over again, eventually, some of it might even be good. But you have to keep at it. You have to be disciplined. And you have to get past the fears of rejection and not being good enough.

Writing has brought me into a new community that I am excited to belong to. Writers come together in a weird way. The pain and joy of writing draw us together. And with the vulnerability of groups like Vocal, I have realized there are many people out there like me. People who love to write in all sorts of different capacities are ready to support each other and grow together. There's something about that that is inspiring.

But why do we write?

Why must we persist? Why must we continue to write, even when it feels like our words are spent, and there is nothing left to write about? Every writer must answer the why question. And you have to remember why you do it when you feel unmotivated or uninspired.

Write to help yourself find wonder in the ordinary.

Writing helps me see everything as an opportunity. I see the stories and ideas all around me. Somehow, everything around me has more depth and meaning than I have ever noticed before. And the more I write, the more it awakens the wonder.

I discover things to be thankful for. I find the lessons after my embarrassing and challenging experiences. I feel and define emotions in ways that I have a hard time doing without writing.

Write because stories have the power to change the world.

I believe in the power of stories to change the world. When the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, He told stories. To teach. To help His followers understand. The story of His time on earth is the most incredible story that has ever been told or ever will be told. (Ask me about it. I would love to tell it to you.) I seek to point back to that story in some way with each story I tell, to point the glory back to Him.

There's something to the power of a story. It speaks to the soul in a way that a textbook can't. Stories resonate with us; they shape and mold how we think. They connect us to others. And when we share our stories, we make the world a richer and far more wonderful place.

There will never be a time where we don't need stories.

Write to remind yourself of the truth.

People can see writers as hypocrites. And I could undoubtedly be accused of that. I write about combating isolation throughout my own battle with loneliness. I write about fighting fear when I've been struggling with anxiety.

At the core of so many of my pieces is an effort to remind myself of the truth. I'm not writing it because I have it all figured out and feel the need to tell the world how wise I am. I about it because I need to remind myself. I write because I want people to understand the truth that I'm also seeking to understand. I write hoping that my stories help other people and remind them about the things that matter and help them think about new ideas and topics.

What we need to remember

One of my pieces on Vocal that I was most happy with was "Empty Journals," where I wrote about not being afraid to write the imperfect story. It's better to fill the journal than leave it blank.

One person commented on a Facebook Vocal page that she wanted the following phrase I wrote on a mug. (Which made me feel super happy inside.)

An imperfect story is better than the non-existent story.

That one of the core truths I've had to remind myself of time again in 2021. It's better to try and fail than live paralyzed by perfection.

I think of all the authors out there, the people who wrote and changed the world through their writings. And I can't help but wonder, what if they had given up? What if they had said, "This isn't worth it. I can't do this anymore."

What stories would have been lost? What wisdom would have been left in the past?

We come from different walks of life, and we all have different goals for our writing. But perhaps the best advice for any writer is this:

Write well and don't be afraid.

Writing, just like anything else, requires discipline and hard work. We should try. We should put our heart and soul into what we create. Strive. Work hard. Write.

But also, don't be afraid. Don't be afraid of making mistakes, failing, not working hard enough, or not meeting other people's expectations.

And somewhere in the midst of striving for excellence and not letting perfection paralyze you, the best works of art get created.

Dear writer, don't give up. Because if you, you'll never know what you might become. If you give up, you'll never make the stories that just might change the world.

You'll never know unless you try. Write well and don't be afraid.

Enjoy the journey!

Thanks for reading. If you liked what you read, consider subscribing, pledging, leaving a heart, or giving a tip.

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About the Creator

Jessica Norris

Passionate writer that is enthusiastic about writing engaging, compelling content. Excels in breaking down complex concepts into simple terms and connecting with readers through sharing stories and personal experience.

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