First, I’ll start with a disclaimer. I am NOT a writer, not a bonafide writer, that is. An amateur, want-to-be writer, yes. Ever since the 2nd grade, there has been a burning in my belly to sit at a typewriter, yes, a typewriter, not to be confused with a laptop, keyboard or tablet and write my great American novel.
Spurred on by the likes of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Mary Louise Alcott and Jerry West (the pseudonym for Andrew Svenson), my best friend and I would devour these books plus others the moment new chapter books were checked into the school library.
From second grade until my senior year of high school, the library was my home away from home, filled with words, paragraphs and chapters that peaked my imagination, dragging me along the mysteries of who done it and why did they do it? Filling my love-lourne heart with enough romance to bring me to tears when the obligatory break-up would occur.
Flash forward to my early fifties and not a story has been written, not a manuscript submitted, not a rejection notice returned. This despite the fact that there was promise at first being that one of the first poems I submitted was considered as a possibility by the card company for which I submitted my poems. Not bad for the first time I submitted something.
Then what did I do? Nothing. Instead of being motivated and spurred on by the experience, I did nothing. Nothing. Was I afraid? Lazy? A self-saboteur? Likely all of the above. I look at my artwork, writing and photography and compare them to things I see others do (Yes, I know I am not supposed to compare) and I feel my work is just as good, if not better than others who have created and maintained a decent business for themselves. The difference is, they’ve done something about it; whereas I have not.
Even my photography in which I have spent a lot of time on improving has given me pause to think about where it could take me. It’s become good enough that friends and family have been encouraging me to go into business. Flattered, I often say that I liked my job…which is true, because it afforded me the opportunity to pay for my hobby…also true. I would also say that I didn’t want to turn something I loved into a chore…also true.
There were, however other truths…there were times when I wanted to explore the option of creating a business for myself, even if it was just to earn some extra cash. At one time, I posted some of my photos to photoblogs designed for want-to-be and bonafide photographers to be showcased as the photo that not only best depicted the theme or word chosen by the organization, but also had merit in the composition, exposure and overall presentation.
The very first picture I submitted was selected as the photo of the day. Not to be bragging, but rather to give an idea of what this really means, there were on average between 300-500 photos submitted for consideration. This time, I didn’t throw in my towel so quickly. Less than a month later, another one of my submissions was selected. And did I mention, many of the other photographers submitting photos for consideration are respected photographers with very lovely portfolios. In other words, I felt good about the fact that my work was being sized up against other quality work.
On top of that, Haagen-Dazs had a summer contest in which they picked 50 photos which best depicted summer. Contestants were allowed to submit somewhere around three entries for consideration. I submitted one which was happily selected as one of the winning photographs. The prize? The honor of knowing your photo was one of the 50 selected. The truth? It was honor to just have my picture selected especially in light of the competition I hope I went against…the truth is, I was hoping we would at least get a free pint of their gelato ice cream. No such luck.
Did this spur me on to increase the number of photo I submitted for consideration? Sadly, no. Oh, at first I did try. There were many good blogs and instagram challenges in which one could participate, no written invitation required. Instead of being motivated, I found it difficult to manage. It wasn’t easy to find the perfect setting for the challenge so instead of improving and pushing myself, I took fewer pictures and was less than satisfied with the results. I also had trouble keeping track of the words or themes for the challenges. Writing them down every morning didn’t help.
After a time, I gave it up and it took some time to build my momentum back up. I was happy with my decision to call the whole challenge thing a day, but there are times when I wondered was I sabotaging myself again. Perhaps there is a bit of truth in that, but overall, I haven’t regretted my decision.
All of this to say what? I’m not even sure at this point. The daily post’s theme right now is Writing 201 and the assignment is “How – to How – to. I think dad’s tired of waiting and ready to cut through all the snow so I can finally open my shop. I am so close, I could cry. So tomorrow I get back on track. Better yet, today, I get back on track; after all, it past midnight which means tomorrow is now today. My post will be about using a nifty little app called Steller to create short stories that can/will help you break through writer’s block…guaranteed. I promise!