I’ve been reading Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice On Love and Life From Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed for the past day and a half and I am so absorbed in every piece of advice this woman gave to people that I’m convinced she’s more qualified than a licensed therapist. I once read Shirley Manson (lead singer of Garbage) recommend this book on Twitter and I forgot to check it out until lo and behold, there it was, waiting for me at my local library last week. I simply could not put it down for about two hours last night. I came across one chapter titled “Write Like A Motherfucker” and it resonated with me so much that I felt it deserved a blog post.
In “Write Like A Motherfucker,” a young writer in her twenties was asking for some guidance on what to do with her inability to..well, write. She was so torn up about why she couldn’t write a book at twenty-six that she basically started panicking and having those “I could have been better than this” moments when you think of yourself at an older age. What went wrong? Why couldn’t I write that book when I was in my prime? She thought she didn’t have it in her.
At first I thought she was just some dramatic cliche of a writer. Sure, a lot of us feel somewhat tortured yet a lot of us have reached a better state of being. I’ve seen both sides, thankfully which can be very refreshing. But then once I finished reading her dilemma, I thought to myself “holy shit…I do this too.” I bring all of these horrible thoughts unto myself and it drives me to insanity where I think I’m a failure before I ever even write down a single sentence. Most of it is my fault; that I can own up to. But a lot of it stems from past toxic relationships with others who constantly pressured me to “move faster before it’s too late.” I just never got their poisonous mantras out of my system.
I think when you’re in your twenties, you tend to put so much pressure on yourself because according to society, that is the time when you are supposed to make something of yourself, and when we come up short, we think we’ve failed at life. Yet little do we know that if we just wake up that space in our brain that’s saved for common sense, we just might realize that the first step to success is to push forward and try. I know how daunting a blank page can be, but once you start the flow of your creative energy, who knows what might pop out of you – and I mean that in the nicest way possible, of course. That feeling of apprehension is scary, but that’s how you know it’s working.
As Cheryl says, “the only way you’ll find out if you ‘have it in you’ is to get to work and see if you do.” People find success at different ages. The fact that we as a society rely on deadlines for when certain life events should occur is absolutely absurd and quite archaic.
“Nobody is going to give you a thing. You have to give it to yourself.” We owe it to ourselves to do everything we possibly can to find out what we are made of. It may take decades until we find our true calling, but we will only find it if we make an effort to. If we cease to try, then we will never find out what we are capable of, thus leading to a life of regret and utter failure and disappointment.
So if you are like me, between the ages of 22-29, and you feel like you’re a failure as a writer (or a person) fear not, my friends! There’s a solution to all of your problems: pick up that pen and/or computer and WRITE LIKE A MOTHERFUCKER!