When I was growing up in small town in southern Louisiana I was a very timid child. Nuture and nature fueled my imagination that the world was a very scary place. I was polite and helpful but didn't feel comfortable interacting with others on a personal level so few people knew the real me.
Being an adult doesn't change the fact I'm a private person. That doesn't make me stuck up or self centered...just very introverted and prone to moments where the slow pace of silence is a welcoming sound in a world hell bent on loud, fast action.
There are two moments in my life helping me to change how I see the world. The first is when I became an instructor at my TaeKwonDo school. I'm not sure why I even agreed to enter the program because I lacked the poise and confidence I saw in the faces of other instructors. Even my best friend wasn't sure I would make it as an instructor because he knew how cautious I was. But here I am, fourteen years later, surprising everyone including myself at my ability to command a class while sharing my love of the martial arts.
The other moment helping change me is when I decided to become a professional writer. Every time I begin a new story I am putting a little bit more of myself out there for people to get to know me. My author's 'voice' comes shining through in my words, helping others to see a different side of me. But I think the most amazing thing I have discovered by becoming a writer is the fact it liberates me in some ways from the shy person I used to be. It's all in the "I's"...
I HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE HEARD
There is no guarantee anyone will actually LIKE what I write, but I still have the freedom to put my stories out there. The worlds of my imagination dance around in my head until I have the chance to share them with others and have even managed to gather a group of readers who look forward to what I write.
I HAVE THE RIGHT TO FALL DOWN
I'm a perfectionist in most things and used to take rejections of my work as a personal mark against my character. How foolish of me to think agents and editors would factor in such a personal slant on such an impersonal decision. Publishers have to consider the marketability of a particular project, no matter how much they might love the work, while writers have to realize it's okay to get rejected...to fall down and struggle to get back up. Just as long as we DO get back up every time...
I HAVE THE RIGHT TO SEEK THE HELP OF OTHERS
The old saying goes that no man is an island and that goes for writers as well. While writing is a solitary endeavor, the writing industry is not. It's a swirling, throbbing mass of positive energy and support for all things writerly. I shouldn't be afraid to ask others wiser and more experienced for their help because I know there will come a day when others will ask the same of me.
I HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE UNSURE
Publishing is such a free-flowing industry where deals are make in a blink of an eye and success can seem to happen overnight. No matter whether a newbie author or an established one, all writers have moments of self-doubt. Times when a writer wants to pull their hair out and give up. But it's not as simple as that. Writing has a life of it's own and is the driving force behind my waking moments...and many of my sleeping ones as well. I can't allow any doubts of future successes...or failures...to cloud my judgement of the here and now. I was BORN to do this despite what anyone else may say.
I HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE ME
I may never become the next J K Rowling or Stephen King. My books may never win any awards or be made into movies. But that doesn't mean my stories have no value. It doesn't mean I shouldn't announce to the world I'm a writer. While I continue to improve my skill as a storyteller every single day, I will never be able to alter the core person I am. A part of me will always be shy. A part of me will always be unsure if anyone will like my stories. A part of me will even wonder if I'm ever going to find an agent (something I've been working on for three years now).
But one thing I AM sure of...
I HAVE THE RIGHT TO WRITE
And so do YOU!