Artists and Writer: Our Own Worst Critics
In December of 2013, I made a clear decision that life is far too short for not doing what you dream to do. For me it was writing. I write poetry and prose and have dabbled in screenwriting, which I hope to do much more of in the near future, along with motivating and inspiring other writers to follow their dreams. I started a Facebook page and I first thought only a few friends would be a part of it and of course like everything, simply because they had to. I never thought anyone would read what I wrote, let alone like it or relate their own journeys to the words I’ve spilled onto the page. That was true for the first week, then others started liking the page and leaving feedback. I won’t lie and say it didn’t make me feel good. I was getting positive reinforcement and it snowballed from there. My writing efforts became a daily release for me but with it, also came a self-doubt that what I was putting out wasn’t good enough. I had never really had others read my work and the new found vulnerability was real.
I think so many creative individuals become their own worst critic. I am no exception to that notion. I have written for years, going back to my early teens, when I’d write silly little rhyming love poems and short one-page stories. I picked it back up in college when I was introduced to the likes of Robert Frost, D.H.Lawrence, Dylan Thomas and Joyce Carol Oates. I was hooked. I started reading again, started writing again and was gung-ho to ace the class. Well, I nearly failed my English 2 class, which was rather ironic, since most of the course is opinion based and left to personal interpretation. I look back on that class and I realize that the teacher was raking me over the coals simply because when asked during the first day of class to introduce ourselves and what we wanted to achieve, I said I wanted to be a writer. I don’t want to say that Mrs. Patricia Scully discouraged me from writing, but subconsciously it may have added to the self doubt that I have had about anything I’ve written after.
Now fast forward 20 years and all the life that had been lived and passed, giving me much more experience and wisdom. The poems went from silly, rhyming, puppy love poems, to heartfelt, rip open your soul, type of pieces. Still I felt they weren’t good enough. It’s second nature for all artists to want perfection. At the end of the day, a writer will always feel something can be written better, different, with more feeling, more blood, more soul. Ask any artist if their work is good enough and I’d venture to say that most will pick it apart and give every flaw they see. I am no different. Many artists are themselves struggling from the inside in one form or another. The ability to produce the finished work is in and of itself, a masterpiece. There is something beautiful in being able to take an idea, a vision, a memory and create words, sounds and visual depictions of those feelings without losing any of it from mind to platform.
Unfortunately for me, I have lost so much of my early stuff because it was all written on small pieces of paper, never saved or the notebooks were lost. Not that I’d want to post it and use it to showcase my writing, but I’d like to be able to look it over and see how much I’ve grown as a writer and chronicle my creative journey. I have always been a natural storyteller and poetry for me is just a short story that uses a limited number of words put into the perfect sequence to create a visual for the reader.
Having the Facebook page, has solidified the desire to become a full-time published writer. I am putting forth the time and daily writing to become the best writer I can be. Even if the page only had a handful of followers I’d still write. If my words impact one person, I am fulfilling what I feel I am destined to do. My Writer Jay Long page, on Facebook, is now followed by over 100,000 individuals. Those that I feared wouldn’t ever read or relate to my words, have now all become my voice. Without them, my words simply sit in silence. The likes, comments and shares I receive are at times overwhelming. I try and personally respond in one way or another to each comment or message. For me it’s a small way to acknowledge them and thank them for taking the time to offer their support. Putting myself out there reinforced that I can write and what I say is important, at least for those that read it.
If you had no fear, would you write? What would you write about?