I've been writing since I was a teenager. It was a form of escape for me during a time when we're all a little extra about our feelings. I wrote original stories, fanfiction, short stories, journal entries. You name it, I probably at least attempted it. Even some incredibly bad, angsty poetry.
But I never thought publishing was even a remote possibility for me. I'm horrible at editing, I have no degree in the literary arts, and I have a day job. How could I ever possibly attack this mountain of a task with all of these shortcomings weighing me down?
I found the answer in others. These are the scissors that helped me cut loose the fears that weighed me down.
1. J.K. Rowling's Existence: Now, don't get it twisted. I do not, by any stretch of the imagination, think I am anywhere near the caliber of writer that Rowling is. Not by a long-shot. But I cannot think of any other book series that transported me so much into another world as Harry Potter did with Hogwarts. I felt magic deep in my bones with the Harry Potter series and that magic was created by a woman who simply would not give up on her dream of being an author.
"An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded, and I was jobless, a lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless ... By every usual standard, I was the biggest failure I knew." - J.K. Rowling, 2008.
I figured that I didn't need to be the biggest failure I knew to at least try to make my dream come true.
2. Elizabeth Gilbert's Unabashed Self Indulgence: I have no problem admitting that I am a devout follower of Liz Gilbert. I feel I've drunk enough of her Kool-Aid to call her that. Eat, Pray, Love got me through my first heartbreak, Big Magic made me believe in magic outside of Hogwarts, and Magic Lessons helped me see the whimsy even in the side hustle. To me, Liz Gilbert's greatest quality is her audacity to say yes as much as she wants. And she lent me some of that courage through her writing and her podcast.
3. Stephen King's On Writing: I'm a small-time King fan. I think my favorite books are the ones he writes through the female lens: Dolores Claiborne being my favorite. But his non-fiction really did it for me. On Writing is the headmaster over my shoulder, yelling at me to kill my darlings. It's the perfect mix of inspiration and degradation; something every narcissistic little scribbler needs to keep in balance.
4. Jillian Michaels. Yes, seriously: I started listening to Michael's podcast in hopes of gaining some fitness tips. What I found was a wealth of life hacks and motivational parables that made me believe in possibilities that I never really put on the map for myself. Her book, Unlimited, is a treasure trove of stories that made me say "Ok, there's no excuse. If they can do it, I can at least try." I heartily recommend giving it a read and seeing where it takes you.
5. Poor Television/Film Writing and Lack of Diversity in Entertainment: I got sick and tired of seeing so much potential for amazing lesbian relationships turn into poor excuses for heterosexual pandering or the death of the gay characters. Period. You want good motivation to create something? Go find someone wasting the potential of something beautiful. I'm looking at you, Once Upon a Time.
Now, to end on a positive note, I'd love to hear what inspires you too. Shoot me a comment or continue the conversation on Twitter and Facebook.