I’ve never been able to take inspiration from success stories. I know the point of them is to say, “I did it and so can you!” but for some reason, hearing the tales of other writers doesn’t give me a lot of hope. In fact, it’s usually the opposite.
While I’m certainly envious, that’s not what weighs me down. I’m not bitter at the other person’s success; I simply don’t feel like I’m going to have to same outcome.
And, honestly, it’s true. You can’t replicate success; you can only learn from it.
I can’t have Brandon Sanderson’s story, or Brent Weeks’, or J. K. Rowling’s. Yes, I can learn valuable tips on writing, platform building, publishing, etc., but my journey won’t be the same as theirs.
Doesn’t that just curdle your Kool-Aid? I’m far too formulaic for my own good; I want to do this and get that. But art is an adventure and I’ve always had a hard time with adventures.
Which is ironic because adventures have been the best parts of my life. Going to a mini-seminiary and trusting God to provide for my finances, having a child without a certain future, moving to Denver, all things that have brought me closer to God and given me greater joy.
But writing? I just want to make it. I get tired of reading about how great others have it not because I want to tear them down, but because I want to be there with them and I’m not. It just makes me want to stop writing, smash my computer, and go eat donuts.
That’s my problem, though: always comparing myself to some standard, some place I “should be” but am not yet. I have a PhD in shouldawouldacoulda. It’s like I don’t want to write unless I have the perfect circumstances, circumstances only available in hindsight.
Thankfully, I do have one inspiration that keeps me going: art.
Reading a good book, watching a good movie, listening to a good song, or playing a good video game makes me want to run to my computer and hammer out all my ideas.
It’s weird. When I read about an author’s humble beginnings and rise to success, something that’s totally relatable, I say to myself, “That can’t happen to me.” But when I read a one-of-a-kind masterpiece of fiction, I think, “I want to do that!”
I once learned that I’m a task-oriented introvert, so perhaps that’s it. People aren’t my forte, projects are. In a way, that’s a weakness; you have to be good with people or get good to develop and keep an audience. But it’s far more natural for me to come alongside a project.
Well, God help me to love people more than I do now. In the meantime, I know I won’t stop writing, no matter how depressed I get. There are just too many good stories out there.
Thanks for reading. How do you find inspiration?