Tune Out The Critics And Don’t Try To Be Perfect

I have a wonderful support system around me. A support system well worth crowing about. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that. Family, immediate and extended. Friends from all facets of my life; school, writing, radio. (Networking’s pretty important; if people like you, they’re apt to like what you do.) Friends who’ll watch sports with me, friends who would go to a Garth Brooks concert, should he and Ms. Yearwood come to town. Cross your fingers!

I’ve got people on my side who have been–and remain–steadfast believers in my talent. “Derek’s a writer,” they say. Sometimes, I believe them. Then there are the moments I silently scoff.

Regardless, I appreciate them all.

Think back on your life. Somewhere within it there is that person–that one person, lurking, waiting to be a reminder; maybe it’s an ex from long ago, maybe a bully who just never “got you”–who really affected you. Who said you weren’t good enough, and against your better judgment, and because it’s easier than taking the time and effort to prove them wrong, you believed them. We put so much more stock into what our critics say than we do into that with which our true believers counter.

“I’m not a good enough writer to write that story,” I’ve said to myself so many times. Buying into the non-hype, you might say. Result: That story went unwritten each time I had the chance at it. Whereas if I had just sat down, put my fingers to the keyboard, and trusted myself a little, there’s no telling what would have come to the page.

Sure, every writer wants to write the perfect piece. That faultless gem that everyone falls over themselves to first represent, in an agent’s case, and then to read, once it’s in print. But those gems have no chance to exist if writers don’t first trust themselves to hammer out an imperfect first draft.

Don’t try to be perfect. And don’t spend so much time giving your critics the air time in your mind they’ve never deserved. Surround yourself with believers. With friends. With the kind of support every artist needs.

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