Did you know that I’ve always loved writing? Probably not because I haven’t been writing to you in a long time. Videos have been fun, but I will be giving you a different “flava” today.
I can remember journaling at 8 years old when we were traveling as a family through Europe. Sure it was my teacher’s assignment to me since I was missing school, but I remember loving every moment.
As I grew up and the work increased and the deadlines got shorter, writing became not fun. It was this thing to get through, and quickly. I remember writing under a deadline for my college newspaper and thinking, “Nope! This is not the kind of writing that I like to do. I hate this!”. Which was pretty inconvenient for a girl studying Journalism in her senior year of college.
It was during one of my Journalism classes that it hit me…I am not a journalist (also inconvenient when I was majoring in journalism). I remember the teacher, an award winning journalist for the Associated Press, saying that you have to want the truth more than anything. You have to be willing to fight for it and be objective, and do whatever it takes to get the truth to the people. Oh, and to get the facts straight. Right….facts. Truth, huh.
I thought, “Where’s the fun in that? Aren’t good stories way better with a little whipped cream and a cherry on top? And what is truth anyway? Isn’t it all subjective? Sounds pretty boring to me.” So I stopped writing. I knew I would hate having to write objectively using facts, so I quit.
I graduated from college and went into sales.
Years later I received a comment about myself that I have never forgotten. This person said, “Have you ever read Eat Pray Love? You remind me so much of the author.” And that comment happened 3 times by 3 different people in 2 days. I had read the book, and enjoyed it…but also couldn’t help but cringe as Elizabeth Gilbert so intimately shared about herself and her life. I loved it, and I hated it too. It made me squirm, and then jump for joy. I didn’t know what to make of this comment, and decided ultimately that it was a compliment.
I think these people were referring to my ability to speak so openly about my life and willingly put myself on public display for the sake of healing myself and maybe a few strangers along the way. But there’s still a little more to this story before I get to the point. And there is a point, I promise. Keep reading!
Years later I was thrilled because I finally decided that I was ready to write and wanted to write. I wasn’t attached to what that meant or what it looked like. I just knew that the desire was back and I would be answering it!
I bounded up the stairs to meet my friend (who was an energy healer and shaman), and the minute I saw her I announced that I wanted to write. I was so relieved and excited about what this would look like and desperate to share the news with my friend. What a relief to have my writing mojo back and feel unstoppable! Or so I thought.
She said, “Oh Anna, you aren’t a writer. Other people are writers, but not you. It’s not your natural gift, and it will be really hard for you. A different direction would be much better.”
Pretty rough huh?
That wasn’t the worst part.
The worst part was that I listened. And I didn’t just listen, I believed her. I believed that her opinion was more important than my own. I believed that because she worked in the “spiritual world” she knew more than me.
So I didn’t. I didn’t write that book. I didn’t write that article. I wrote everyday, but I never shared it. Sure, I wrote some blog posts over the years, but not the books I longed to write or the screenplays that played in my dreams.
And that is the point everyone.
What do people say about you that you believe? Or what do you quit, just because you don’t like ONE way that it looks?
No surprise that this inspiration to write came to me while reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s newest book, “Big Magic.” I have a 9 hour layover at the Atlanta airport and had no idea that my desire to write would be hitting me over the head today. I’ll share with you the exact passage that inspired me to write to you.
Here goes: “Let people have their opinions. More than that – let people be in love with their opinions, just as you and I are in love with ours. But never delude yourself into believing that you require someone else’s blessing (or even comprehension) in order to make your own creative work. And always remember that people’s judgments about you are none of your business. “
She goes on to say this that I swiftly highlighted and dog-eared: “Lastly, remember that W. C. Fields had to say on this point: ‘It ain’t what they call you; it’s what you answer to.’ Actually don’t even bother answering. Just keep doing your thing.”
With that, all hail to Elizabeth Gilbert for once again inspiring this girl to write again. I won’t be quitting this time. I am a writer.
What do people say about you that YOU can give up! Haven’t you had enough already?!