Things to Remember Around the Competition

I started worrying last night. Today is the first day of my very long anticipated Fiction II class. The intro class really kicked my butt so I’m pretty nervous about how tough the higher level will be.

Of course, when you’re in a writing class, everyone is always whispering about who the “best writers” of the class are. Everyone is going to be looking over your work. One bad paragraph could ruin your reputation, so it’s easy to start stressing about everyone else. Here’s a few tips on how to stay cool when you’re around another group of writers.

1. Remember that no one else is perfect: 

It’s true though! Every writer has their flaws, and everyone will mess up at some point. Let’s be real, we go through TONS of ideas before we finally have a winner.

2. Don’t let titles or fancy awards get to you: 

I’ve had classes with award winning writers, people that are top editors for the school paper, and people with tons of publications. It can feel really intimidating at some points, or even all time. (Mostly all the time for me). Just remember that you’re all in the class to learn and improve your skills.

3. Everyone has different strengths: 

I get worried in fiction classes because I’m stronger in nonfiction. Everyone has areas of writing that they’re better at than others, and that’s totally okay!

4. Be yourself! 

While it may be intimidating to be around a bunch of competition, just remember to relax and be friendly. Having a good relationship with the class will make being there that much easier.

Four tips, because I just can’t think of a fifth one for some reason. Enjoy the rest of your week everyone.

Writing Just “For Us”

Have you ever had the issue of writing no longer being something you enjoy? Whenever you sit down at your computer to type something, it’s not really about being “fun” anymore. Every letter you type, you’re thinking about your fans or judgement from publishers.

Will people like this? What if they don’t? What if I’m wasting my time? 

These questions echo over and over again in your head. Finally, you just step away from the computer because it all seems just too difficult. Writing means edits and judgement and hours upon hours of work. You never write anymore, and when you do, it doesn’t feel like it used too. You’re writing and worrying about the opinions of everyone else, instead of just having fun and doing what you used to.

I’m writing this because I’ve found myself feeling this way since last year when I started a new book. Maybe it’s just because as a writing major, writing literally “is” work that is always judged by someone else, whether it be the professor or my fellow classmates.

Every time I try to write something new, I don’t even feel like I’m enjoying myself. I’m sure that a lot of other writers feel this way too. In high school, I used to write nearly a chapter a day in my novels. I’d write so much that I’d given myself carpal tunnel and developed a cyst in my left hand that I later had surgically removed.

I think the point of this post is that we need to just remember all the things we loved about writing and somehow get back there if we ever feel off track. Everything we write isn’t going to be a masterpiece. Everything we write doesn’t have to come out perfect. Just sit down and type that story or blog post or whatever it is that you want to write. You didn’t become a writer because everyone else wanted you to, but because you loved what you were doing.

So the next time you want to write, just do it and leave the thoughts of everyone else behind. Write because it’s who YOU are.