This was a huge win for me. Seeing my article published in a magazine that you could actually hold in your fingers.
The day it arrived
What I will say right off the bat, and I’ve said it before, is that writing is a difficult career choice. It’s difficult to make a living from writing solely and there’s a lot of rejection, critiquing and frustration that goes with it.
It’s certainly not for the faint of heart. However, if your anything like me it goes without saying that writing is rarely a choice. You’ve either got it or you don’t and if you have, well it’s a difficult road ahead.
“Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.”Franz Kafka
When my first article was published it arrived hot off the press. It was still kind of warm when it arrived,it had that smell that new books have. There on page 3 was my article on the social makeup of society (I get the irony).
Unsuccessfully, I’d attempted to get two children’s novels published before I had turned twenty. Was I really ambitious? Definitely, but with the rejection came an overwhelming sense of failure.
I was so disappointed after slogging away for all those hours, convinced at the time I was writing a best selling novel.
After sending them to various publishers, and receiving a handful of rejection letters I gave up. I couldn’t handle anymore shameful rejection. I was embarrassed about what I had written, maybe I wasn’t anywhere near as good as I thought I was. I decided that was it and that I was going to forget I’d even wasted my time writing them.
Hastily, I gave up, way too easily. I’m like that. It didn’t even cross my mind to request feedback
After deleting my novels
A few months later I started to get something that I like to call writer’s withdrawal.
For me personally, I stop sleeping. My mind starts to burst with creative ideas and writing is the only way I can get them to stop.
So I started a blog, I was in my early twenties at the time (my blog no longer exists). I started posting a combination of short stories and poetry.
The process of publishing things was really painful. They were snippets of things I’d wrote, my personal stash of non-edited raw material and I was posting it for the whole world to see…
In reality I had a very small following, it was merely a minute fraction of the world’s population but it didn’t feel like that, my soul felt exposed.
After a few weeks I saw a job advertised as a freelance writer. I sent them the link to my blog.
It landed me a role with Interact magazine, I was over the moon and seeing my writing published in a magazine was one of the proudest moments of my twenties. It was something I could tick off the bucket list.
The Nothing Part
Then came the nothing part, I’d had my article published, I was finally doing what I loved and then that was it. I didn’t get asked to write anything else. I was so upset. It was a huge pitfall after an almighty high.
I wanted to share this experience because it was something that I wasn’t prepared for at all. Looking back I think it’s one of those things that you learn to accept when you’re self assured. You roll with the punches.
There’s no guarantee that you’re going to get work, be successful or have a regular income. I felt lost and rejected. I got really down and I was a mess emotionally.
Then one day to my absolute horror I received a notification on my blog and a poem that was now flagged as copy written. Someone had literally lifted the poem from my blog and stolen it and actually copyrighted my poem. I deleted my blog immediately.
But, inevitably, I started to miss that creative space I had made…
A year later I started a new blog called ‘Allurement Gal‘ and started to blog about my lifestyle and diet. Health has always been important to me, I find my diet has a huge effect on my mood, hormones and energy so it made sense to blog about it.
I gained a small following on Bloglovin‘, it wasn’t that big but I was doing okay. I won a couple of small awards. I posted them on my blog like badges.
Still, it was just a hobby. I was writing for non profit and if I’m being honest my heart and soul wasn’t in it. My funds were running dry and I needed an income.
I got a full time job working in a kitchen. I was fed up with having no money. My blog posts started to dwindle, they were far and few between until eventually I just kind of gave up.
I kept thinking to myself what if someone I work with reads my blog posts and laughs at me. So all that hard work went down the drain because I feared judgement.
You can run, but you can’t hide….
Over the next eight years I ran away from my creativity. I was determined to become successful at anything, and everything I put my mind to. Writing ended in inevitable failure and I wanted to be successful.
For the longest time, I threw myself into any job role that was offered to me. I tried to gain as much experience as I could. I distracted myself, I stayed as busy as my body would let me, I tried not to be creative, but deep down I missed writing.
Perhaps it’s because I find writing therapeutic, that I always come back to it; or maybe it’s something that I know I’m meant to do.
I’ve always struggled with the pitfalls of creativity. In my mind I always thought it would be like a step by step process. You do one thing, and then another door opens, and then another.
The truth is, reality isn’t like that. No one talks about the times in-between success, the feelings of not being good enough, the rejection or the giving up and trying something else, but I guess these are all important parts of the puzzle too.
What makes people successful isn’t that they don’t fail, it’s that they’re not afraid to fail. They’re willing to try and that after every defeat they pick themselves up and try again. This is the recipe of success.
What the future holds
I’m still on a journey when it comes to writing, I know I’ve got potential, I just need to nurture it.
When I was growing up my parents would say things like ‘creativity is a good hobby but it’s not a reliable income’ which is true, but for the longest time I have viewed creativity as a negative characteristic. A hindrance or fault almost.
When I start to write I become so immersed in what I’m doing. I can put some food to cook on and forget about it, only to realise three hours later when burnt and a pungent smell of burning comes soaring to the room where I’m writing. Nothing else can immerse my attention like that.
I realise now that I can’t run away from myself. I am a creative person, so here I am, faults and all.
Success isn’t that easy road you take. It’s the one that trips you up and takes you to places you never thought you’d see.
Success is difficult but that’s why you should never stop trying. Who knows what the future may hold? Maybe one day I’ll get my novel published. You know what they say, it’s better to try then not at all…
What have been your pitfalls, on the road to success? Comment below.