Friday, May 15, 2009


Creative people are often fragile. The ones that survive tend to grow a hard outer shell to protect all of the caramel-y goodness inside.

I have a friend who was in a singing competition this week. He's a pretty good singer in my opinion. Heck, he could probably place on American Idol if the stars aligned to give him all the right opportunities to be on the show. He placed last in the singing contest this week (8th out of 8). It wasn't because he's a bad singer. It was because he was the first person to sing, so the judges were reserving higher scores for later in the competition after seeing others.

Also, any sort of competition is very subjective based on the personal preferences of the judges. I have learned this very well with the writing contests I have entered. A story or poem that places first in one contest might not even place in another contest. It's all about the judges' taste in writing; or in this case music.

This same friend is an artist. Or at least used to be. He does not actively do art these day, but he is incredibly talented. The same thing happened to his art - he stopped doing it because of the subjective criticism of a contest, and it really is a shame. He was really talented and he no longer believes in his art.

As writers, we are faced with the same self-doubt about our art of choice. It can block us up. It can shut us down and make us feel like we will never amount to anything as writers. But to succeed, we must believe that we can do it. Writing is part practice, part luck. If you keep writing, not only will your writing improve over time, but you will have more opportunities to be in the right place at the right time to make it in this big scary world. There is always a place for you and your art. You just have to keep believing!

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