By Allison Stein
Sometimes I am discouraged with my writing – with these unlikely aspirations I cling onto so tightly. Other times, I get frustrated; when I am uninspired and words feel motionless, I ask myself why on earth I am giving advice about writing. But then I recall my life before I shared my writing with others – before I gained the privilege of reaching readers by putting my impalpable thoughts into words. Only with that perspective can I see how much I’ve learned from my writing endeavors.
From my experiences, I have learned how essential determination is; I’ve realized how necessary it is to improve myself. The constant search of ways to get better is a definite part of the writing process. Whether reading a writing magazine or talking with someone who has made his or her dreams come true, I strive to learn as much as I can; being open to new information and ideas allows me to make writing all it can be. Even if you are apprehensive about beginning or advancing your writing journey, make that brave first move toward success. Additionally, find an activity that strengthens your writing; for me, this hobby is writing in a journal, which has enabled me to not only express myself and organize my thoughts but also look back at previous entries and discover how much my writing has improved. Writing has taught me the importance of pushing myself to do my best beyond my writing aspirations and to have a positive impact on people.
Other people have an inexpressible effect on my writing, after all. I constantly look forward to going to monthly poetry readings, for example; this writing group has exposed me to new techniques and approaches, taught me different methods of delivery, and – most importantly – introduced me to countless talented people who have played a major role in my life. Inspiration and encouragement from others is invaluable. I was extremely lucky to meet a mentor who guided me through writing a chapbook and supports me to this day. The generosity of others reminds me what an enormous impact all of us can have on the world. If we are determined to make ourselves better, we can accomplish the goals we strive for.
My endeavors have taught me how crucial a positive mindset is as well. Whenever I feel discouraged, I recall the day an online magazine called Amazing Kids!, which I am now a contributing author to, sent me my first acceptance letter; that moment has led me to where I am now. The biggest insight I gain from that memory is that I didn’t put limits on myself; I learn to dream wildly and fearlessly, to believe that I have the potential to realize my dreams. Setting goals has made my dreams feel more reachable, and writing them down has helped me record the progress I’ve made. Since the time I made my first submission, I have been becoming more and more passionate about what I do and what I dream of doing in the future. In fact, I consider passion the fuel that ignites a journey.
Of course, just because we have already ignited that initial flame – just because we have taken a deep breath and delved into our dreams – we won’t always accomplish our goals without conquering adversity. But the tribulations along our pathways are ultimately what strengthen us. The times I’ve struggled most are the ones I’ve made the most profound discoveries from. Before I self-published my chapbook, for instance, I was hesitant to take such a risk, to leave myself and my work vulnerable to the opinions of others; thankfully, I learned to stop being paranoid about negative possibilities and center my focus instead on how fulfilling writing is.
Even after I took that chance, I faced moments when I was reluctant to keep trying or scared to move forward; since stumbling through the intimidating obstacles of becoming comfortable enough to read my writing out loud and finding the courage to speak openly about my experiences, struggles and all, I tell myself not to be afraid of opportunities. Finally, I remind myself that I can’t give up because I have been gifted with the chance to share myself through words. I remember why I need to keep going. I strive to keep a mindset that echoes this message, that encourages me as I travel wherever my journey takes me. And I strive to somehow, some way encourage others – to give them the faith they need to reach the destinations of their dreams.