Vocal: The American Ninja Warrior of Writing
Competitors Supporting Each Other
I've never really been into sports. I find them boring and frankly, it's annoying to see someone getting paid millions of dollars for playing a game. However, I love American Ninja Warrior.
American Ninja Warrior is an incredible thing to behold. It combines gymnastics, parkour, rock climbing, weight lifting, and all around athleticism. But the thing that I enjoy most is when the camera cuts to the sidelines. While one ninja is running the course there are ALWAYS other ninjas standing to the side, encouraging them and shouting advice.
"Remember to breathe!"
"You got this, don't over think it!"
They're in direct competition with each other and yet, they help one another and they truly celebrate each other's victories... even when someone else's victory is their own loss.
They form tight bonds of friendship that often leads to moving into apartments together and/or training together in the off season. They build each other up, rather than push each other down. I do not think this is seen in any other sport (but again I really don't like sports so I admit, I could be wrong there).
I joined the Vocal community less than a month ago. It wasn't until yesterday that I found out there were groups on Facebook for Vocal members to share their work. When I found out, I joined right away and there, in this forum full of strangers, I found my people.
In the group, there are posts where you can leave a link to your stories and other vocal members will do the same. Everyone reads each others' pieces, leaves a heart and if you would like one, a review. There are a lot of challenges on Vocal that come with high pay offs and in that respect, we are in direct competition with each other. But as I scanned through the posts and the comments I could not find a single negative review nor a single ignored posting.
The creators here are willing to lift each other up rather than push each other down. It's so refreshing in a world where we're so often cruel to one another. Especially on the internet.
It's so easy to hide behind a screen and be a keyboard warrior. So easy to attack and criticize rather than support and encourage, and in my life, unfortunately, that extends beyond my screen.
A lot of my stories, maybe even all of them outside of the challenge pieces, include the fact that I work as a vet tech. I've written three pieces about my job specifically and the struggles the veterinary world faces. The biggest by far is that we are severely abused by our clients. Verbal and emotional assault is simply a part of my existence because I wear fur covered scrubs.
I think that is what drew me to American Ninja Warrior in the first place. To witness a world where people care more about each other and the love of what they're doing than beating each other down for a prize was in a way, miraculous to me. I craved and longed for that kind of comradery. A community to call my own where people were there for the same reason I was; but not acting like money-thirsty gauntlet throwing competitors.
We're our own worst critics. Anyone in any type of artistic endeavor never feels that they're truly good enough. A win, a top story, a kind review of a fellow writer, always met with shock, surprise and sheer happiness. Empowerment found in people hoping for a future you too are longing to find.
I belong to the Vocal community now and I'm so grateful to those of you out there that are not just here to write, but to read, to review, to encourage, and to support other creators.
Remember to edit!
You got this! Don't over think it!
If you haven't found the community yet and would like your pieces read and reviewed and to also get the chance to read what other amazing creators are publishing, you can join here: