#DearCait: What Advice Would You Give To Aspiring Writers & Bloggers?
Dear Cait, I am obsessed with your blog and after reading your posts I want to get into writing and start my own blog. What advice would you have for an aspiring writer/blogger? I find that when I start trying to write a post, I compare it to other people's blogs and feel like mine isn't good enough. I'm scared people will think I'm a "wannabe". Any tips? Thank you in advance! - S
Dear S, firstly - thank you! I so appreciate you following along with my blog and I love that you have been inspired to create your own. I wish you all the best with it! In response to your question, I think I should start by saying this: There is no such thing as an "aspiring" or "wannabe" writer. If you write, you are a writer. Your name does not need to grace the NYT Best Sellers list, nor do you need to have a single piece of published work in any book, magazine or website to be worthy of the title.
Secondly, my advice is very simple: Love what you do. Forget everyone else. This applies to every creative person, regardless of whether they want to write, sing, act or paint. If you love it, you should do it. Art is subjective, not everyone will love what you produce - guaranteed. But what another person thinks of your craft is irrelevant because you're not creating for them. You creating for you.
“Art and life are subjective. Not everybody’s gonna dig what I dig, but I reserve the right to dig it.” – Whoopi Goldberg
On that note, be sure you really are doing it for yourself and your soul. More and more Millennials are wanting to become bloggers simply because they see the success (the 1%) of people that have amassed huge followings and are making big bucks. It's easy to be attracted to the "glamour" of the job but the fact of the matter is that most bloggers are not overnight sensations and many of us (myself included) are not making any money at all. We write simply because it's our passion. Of course, we are very privileged to be living in the era of the Internet - which has literally tipped the world of business and "regular jobs" upside down. Now there is always the potential to make money but this desire should not be the sole driving force behind your blog. If there is no true passion, blogging will soon become as boring as washing dishes out the back of a cafe.
Onto comparison - This is something I'm all too familiar with, being the ridiculous perfectionist that I am. When I first started writing, the process typically looked like this: writing for fifteen minutes, tearing out page, throwing hands up in the air and then wallowing in self-pity because I was just SUCH. AN. AWFUL. WRITER.
And then I read something that seriously changed my life...
If you've been following my blog for a while, you'll know my favourite author is Liz Gilbert and her book Eat Pray Love is basically my Bible (I'd really recommend you read her book Big Magic too). A little while ago, I was reading one of her articles titled "Thoughts on Writing". And you will never believe what she said in that article. I quote:
"...all writers think they suck. When I was writing “Eat, Pray, Love”, I had just as a strong a mantra of "THIS SUCKS" ringing through my head as anyone does when they write anything."
I almost choked/passed out cold when I read this. I could have cried. Eat Pray Love was a New York Times Bestseller for over 200 WEEKS! It has touched countless lives (not just mine) and is arguably one of the most iconic and beloved books of our time. Yet when Liz was writing it, she truly believed it was garbage. Turns out "we're our own worst critic" is totally true. Even for people like Liz bloody Gilbert!
So you think your work is no good? Join the club! But don't let that stop you from creating. What you perceive to be rubbish could be solid gold to someone else. And the last thing you wanna do is deprive the world of your magic.