Thursday, January 24, 2013

Staying Power

I was digging through my closet the other night, trying to find a file that I need for an upcoming project. To my delight, I came across some files that I hadn't looked at in years (though I never did find the one I actually need). One file was full of my early writing projects, and I quite literally had forgotten all about them.

I have been writing stories for a very long time. That's practically all I did in junior high and high school, and I loved being able to use the stories I wrote for school assignments. When I pulled out the following story, though, I started laughing:

I used to read a lot of romance novels during that time. When I say a lot, I mean that was practically all I read. In retrospect, this was not very good for a shy teenage girl to do since it gave me a rather distorted notion of what a real relationship is like - i.e. not every good man is going to be drop-dead gorgeous with bulging biceps and treat you like a queen - but at the time, I was in love with love.

I submitted this short story, Forever Yours, to my freshman English teacher. I got an A+. Do you recognize the picture? It 's from a television show called Paradise that used to be on CBS in the late 1980s. The main character was a gunfighter-turned-father who had to take care of his sister's orphaned children. His love interest was the local banker, a woman as feisty as she was smart. It was one of my favorite shows probably more for the rocky romance between these two than the gunslingers that used to wander through town.

My story was, naturally, a romance, and the hero was - you guessed it - a former gunslinger on the run, which is why this picture worked so perfectly. In my story, he rescues the damsel in distress, a woman taking a trip on her own to Nebraska to find her father, and the two fall in love.

Corny, yes. But oh, how I loved writing it.

God had a plan for me to find this the other night. Why? Because recently, the Self-Doubt Demon has been sticking its horns into me. I didn't think I could write fiction any more. I've been so focused on my non-fiction projects that downshifting to fiction is a challenge these days and I've been wondering ridiculous things. Do I still have what it takes? Why aren't the words flowing so well anymore? Should I stop? 

Yet fiction remains my passion. When I think about writing my stories, when I dream of my characters and their struggles and conflicts, my spirit lightens and I can't wait to dive back into that world again.

So when I found this treasure trove of memories - finished short stories, snippets of ideas for novels, research, etc. - I realized how I could never walk away from this writing gig. It's been a part of me for so long that I honestly do not know what I'd do or how I'd function without it.

Sure, it's hard sometimes. Sure, the Self-Doubt Demon needs slaying every once in awhile. But it's all worth it.

I actually think it's pretty darn awesome that I am still so in love with something I discovered in the sixth grade.

That's staying power.

That's passion.

And that's why I'll never give it up.

14 comments:

  1. I'm glad you're feeling confident again. That self-doubt demon is a very real thing even if it is self-inflicted sometimes; God gave you talent and drive, and those are things that can change the world for good! So brava to slaying the dragon of doubt. :)

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    1. Thanks, Faith. :) Sometimes I get paralyzed by this fear that I will never be able to string two words together again. HATE it when that happens, so I just need to rely on God to get me through.

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  2. I want to have a little chat with that self doubt demon. I want to tell it to keep away from my friend, and then I'd like to give it a good hard kick!

    Melissa-I'm glad you found some of your old writing, and I'm glad it reminded you of your true passion-and rekindled that feeling of excitement for writing fiction. You have been an such an inspiration to me to pursue my own writing dreams! Hugs, prayers and a huge vote of confidence from me:)

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    1. Valerie, you are so incredibly sweet. =D I wish I could bribe that demon with lots of chocolate, but unfortunately, my nutritionist restricts me to only 3 pieces of chocolate a day, and that little bugger needs more than that! LOL

      Thank you for your vote of confidence. It means a lot!

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  3. How neat to find those old pieces of writing and slay that self-doubt demon! I wonder if he's related to the one that torments me from time to time? ;)
    Paradise! What a great show that was.

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    1. I think those demons all spring from the same place and get together and decide fun ways to torture us. =D

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  4. I think when we find our passion, no matter what - our self doubt, other people giving their input (not always positive) - when it is your purpose, passion - there is no turning away.

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    1. Well said, Clare. Completely agree with you.

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  5. I love this post for many reasons, the biggest being the inspiration. I don't know how many times I've searched for one thing, but found something else, sometimes of even more value. Onwards fiction! :)))

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    1. Isn't it amazing how that works? Oh, and I did find the file I needed last night, so hooray for that. =D

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  6. What a treasure to find!

    My advisor over the last year told me all good writers wrestle with self-doubt. Once we think we've got the writing thing conquered, the writing begins to stink. :)

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    1. I would agree with that, Heidi. I think self-doubt fuels us to produce better work and that can only be a good thing.

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  7. I agree - we all have self doubt. It's like stage fright - I think it's necessary to keep us going, and to help us improve.

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    1. So true. I read that Henry Fonda used to vomit before he went onstage for his entire career. He never got over the stage fright, but oh, what a good actor he was.

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