Is it okay to be an amateur writer?
Before we discuss today's topic, I have a fun surprise to announce:
I'm back on Youtube!
Last year, I started a Youtube channel, quit, started it up again as a Booktube channel, quit again... and that was that. I haven't uploaded a new video in nearly six months, but the truth is that I miss it quite a bit. I've always had so much fun creating video content!
I explain more about why I chose to re-kickstart my channel in this short video (captions provided), but here's the gist: I'm now going to run my Youtube channel as a segment of Well-Storied.
Every week, I'll upload a new video on the craft of writing that I'll also share here on Well-Storied as a blog post, with a full transcript below the video in case you prefer to read the day's tips. Sound like a plan?
Today, I'm sharing the first video I created now that I've jumped back into the Youtube world. Check it out below to hear my thoughts on why it's okay to be an amateur writer, and don't forget to catch the full transcript below the video!
"It is okay to be an amateur writer. Here’s why…
Our society is obsessed with two things in particular: success and youth. If you are not renowned for what you do, you are considered a failure. Or pretty close to it. And, on top of that, the younger you look or the younger that you succeed, the more valid you seem to be as a human being in our society.
It. Is. Ridiculous. And these stigmas still exist in the writing world.
When it comes to writing, so many writers have it in their heads that in order to be some sort of writing success, that means that you have to be published. And, in most cases, it means you have to be published traditionally with a big name publishing house.
Otherwise, is your writing really valid?
And, on top of that, the younger you publish, the more coverage you’re going to get, the more news articles and interviews that are going to come out celebrating you as this renowned overnight success.
Let me tell ya: all these stigmas do for writers is create pressure.
Pressure to write faster, pressure to write something that you know will be marketable, pressure to write something that is really going to impress, pressure to write your very best work and publish it as your very first book.
Pressure, pressure, pressure, pressure!
If you’re anything like me, you’ve experienced this pressure for yourself, and you bought into it for a while.
What if I told you that you could ditch this pressure to succeed? What if I told you this pressure doesn’t even need to exist? Friends, I know it sounds simple and you’ve probably even heard it before, but if you’re writing, you’re a writer.
Recently, I’ve been reading this book called The Right to Write by Julia Cameron (*affiliate link), who you may better know as the author of The Artist’s Way. The Right to Write is all about the invitation and initiating into the writing world, and in page 7 of her book, Julia Cameron writes something I think is pretty profound:
“What if writing were approached like white water rafting? Something to try just for the fact of having tried it, for the spills and chills of having gone through the rapids of the creative process. What if we allowed ourselves to be amateurs (from the Latin verb amare, ‘to love'). If we could just get over the auditioning to be respected at this aspect, a great many people might like writing. Although our mythology seldom tells us this, writing is fun.”
All that it means to be an amateur is to love what you do. Are you in love with your writing? Are you having fun when you’re writing? Or, are you caving into the pressure to succeed and to succeed as soon as possible?
The reason that we so often run into writing doubts and into burnout and into writing ruts and writer’s block and all of that nonsense is because we’re taking ourselves and our writing too seriously. You have to let yourself write bad words. You have to let yourself write nonsense, write…just, everything!
You cannot approach the page with pressure.
You cannot approach the page thinking that every single word you put down needs to be so, so perfect. If you do that, you’re just going to run into all of those problems again. It’s time to break the cycle. It’s time to just have fun, to write for the love of writing.
How can you break that mindset of success? I recommend taking up Julia Cameron’s favorite writing exercise.
In her book, The Right to Write (*affiliate link), Julia Cameron talks all about how the best thing you can do for your writing is to get up first thing in the morning, or the first moment you have a chance, to open an 8.5- by 11-inch notebook, and to write three straight pages.
What you write is completely up to you. It doesn’t even have to be fiction. The point is to just get your mindset out of this idea that every page you put down, every word, has to be perfection. Instead, you simply write what comes to you. You don’t edit, you don’t erase. You just write, write, write.
This activity does take roughly ten to twenty minutes, and that may seem like a lot of time, especially if you don’t have much time to write. But I promise you, it’s one of the best ways you can break this mindset of just writing to succeed. Right?
Letting your imagination and your creativity and your emotions run free is one of the very best ways you can learn to fall in love with writing, to ditch all that doubt and burnout, and to just start rocking your writing life.
So, what do you say? Let’s be amateurs together, shall we?
Thank you so much for watching today’s video. I hope you guys enjoyed it. If you did, please give it a thumbs up and, if you like this channel and want more, subscribe. If not, no worries. Thanks for being awesome, and I will see you guys next time. Bye!"
Did you enjoy today's video? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic!
I'm so passionate about breaking down stigmas surrounding success because of all the pressure I placed on myself as a newbie writer. I don't want anyone to feel like a failure simply because they haven't published yet or because their book didn't hit the bestseller list.
It's time to stop acting like long-suffering artists and instead embrace the simple joy of writing. Have a thought you'd like to share? Comment below or in the discussion over on today's video, and don't forget to subscribe for more tips and discussions!