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Thanks so much for visiting HipWriterMama, my blog about children's books, authors and readergirlz!

It's time for a change. I've decided to focus my attention on my writing blog, www.vivianleemahoney.com. Hope to see you there!

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Inspiration Monday: Take Yourself Seriously

How many of you let other people know what your dreams are? Or do you secret it away, hiding your herculean efforts, until the moment of truth comes and you can unveil your masterpiece? Or, do you let a few people in, and try to juggle everyone else's needs since you don't want to change the status quo, while you waste away, not having the time to work on your heart's desire?

Two of my favorite things to do when I was young, was to read and write. Sure I loved to do other things, but reading and writing were the things I had to do, sure as I needed to breathe. My family really didn't understand it too much. Still, my parents faithfully brought me to the library every week, so I could lose myself in the book stacks and carefully make my selections.

Then, when I was in third grade, I remember my English teacher asked us to write a story. I was hooked. That's when I knew that's what I wanted to do when I grew up. Write. I mean, can you even imagine? Creating a story for other people to enjoy and to even want to read it again, and again, and again? Now that was my idea of the best job ever.

Though, for some reason, I was always close mouthed about this dream. When people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would always say the right things every solid American citizen wishes for their children. President. Doctor. Lawyer. Professor. Dentist. Financial Whiz Kid. I mean that's what gets the respect and money in this land of opportunity.

When I first started college, my major was biomedical engineering. I convinced myself it would be cool to learn how to meld robotics with medicine. And it is absolutely fascinating stuff. And it really is. To read.

My freshman year, I took a Creative Writing Class. I was so thrilled. What a relief it was to write, when all my freshman days were filled with biology, chemistry, and physics. Oh my. So imagine my disappointment and grief, when my professor told me I didn't have what it takes to write a good story. Instead of getting angry about that and wanting to prove him wrong, his words cut me to the core, shredding all my dreams. For years, I believed this professor, and stopped writing. For a little bit. When I started to write again, I squirrelled my work away, not telling a living soul about my dream in fear of the laughter that would follow. Because in the back of my mind, I wondered whether my professor was right, maybe I really didn't have the creative knack to make it as a writer.

But you know what? I've had it with doubting myself and my abilities. I've had it with my old professor, whose words haunted me for years. I've had it with all the naysayers and dream busters.

My kids are a big reason for this. I want them to know they are capable of reaching their dreams. What type of message am I sending them if I can't work toward my own dreams?

The only way to do this, I think, is to take yourself seriously. I know this is easier said than done, but really, if you can't take yourself seriously, who will?

Be responsible for yourself. Take those classes, join those critique groups or professional organizations. Practice, practice, practice your art. State your dream, loud and proud. Make sure you allow yourself the time to work on your dream. Enough time so you're not cheating yourself. Yes, you may disappoint people in the process, but in the end, you will disappoint yourself far more. It is all a balance, and one you will need to figure out how to manage so you can succeed.

Take yourself seriously. Treat your dream seriously. And by the way, it is totally okay to allow people to treat you and your work with respect.

What are you going to do today, this week, this month, this year, to take yourself seriously? For the sake of your dream?

20 comments:

MyUtopia said...

I too have always loved reading and writing. Although I enjoyed writing a lot earlier on. Before I knew how to write I would just tell all the neighbor kids stories.

PJ Hoover said...

I used to not tell anyone about my writing. Now I tell the world! Feel the fear and do it anyway. I so agree about the professional thing. Why should anyone else take me seriously if I don't.
Part of my thing I did was have professional publicity photos taken. Also, I'm having a website designed. And I have my first speaking engagement scheduled!

Callipygia said...

Great I've been ready to read anything that you are willing to share with me!

LiteracyTeacher said...

Thank you for being so open with all of us about your experiences.

You've inspired me... take a look at this:
http://mentortexts.blogspot.com/2007/07/yes-i-am-serious-person-thank-you-very.html

Sarah Amick said...

I've written a poem in response to your post. Hope you enjoy!
http://amicksarticles.blogspot.com/2007/07/my-serious-life.html

Jim D said...

That rejected PB is going back out Friday.

Thanks!

Jim D.

HipWriterMama said...

My Utopia,
That must have been cool, being the story teller to the neighborhood kids. They must have loved it!

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Tricia,
Can't wait to see your new website. A speaking engagement! Please tell all.

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Callipygia.
Okay! Thanks!

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Literacy Teacher,
Nice post. I'm glad you're taking your dream seriously.

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Sarah,
What a beautiful poem. Thank you for sharing it!

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Jim,
Now that's what I'm talking about. Go for it!

Elaine Magliaro said...

Vivian,

I think that being a writer is more about having a passion to write than having a talent for writing. I hated writing assignments in school. Back when I was young, we got instruction in grammar and rules of punctuation and sentence structure--but never really learned how to approach the writing process. I did enjoy writing things like
song parodies, skits for high school plays with a friend, etc. I wanted to be a comedy writer.

About thirty years ago, I started writing children's poetry. But for years my days were filled with teaching and taking courses and raising my daughter and going to soccer games and track meets. I continued to write--but when I had the luxury of time. Now that I am retired and my daughetr is grown I have returned to my dream of being a writer...once again.

I was planning to send out some of my poetry manuscripts this month.
Of course, the crash of my hard drive has put that on hold. This week, I am going to continue work on a collection of poems I began in May...but I'll be writing all the drafts in longhand for the time being.

Little Willow said...

I act, sing, dance, and write. I aspire to be known for all of those things. I'm constantly writing in my mind. Working towards things? I need to get more of my original stories and scenes down on paper. Happily, I'm currently in a play!

Candace Salima . . . the LDS Nora Roberts said...

Go HipWriterMama! I had a college professor at Ricks College who said I said really going to go somewhere with my writing. She taught me more than any writing teacher I've ever had. Then I went to BYU, majoring in English Non-Teaching (closest thing they had to the Creative Writing major they have now.) This professor's name was Clinton Larson and he was HORRIBLE. If you didn't write like Ernest Hemingway you sucked as a writer. I didn't write for three years (I found out later he had that common effect on numerous students. He should NEVER have been teaching. NEVER!)

Well, while I can appreciate the technical skill of Ernest Hemingway, I've never liked his work. Ever. For cryin' out loud, the guy was sooooo depressing.

I'm called the LDS Nora Roberts for a reason. I write in a very vivid, lyrical style . . . painting a picture that literally pulls you into the story and lives of my characters. He HATED that!

Now I'm published, five times over. What an idiot he was.

So, what's my point. Pay no attention to that idiot professor. In reading your blog I can see you have skill. Continue to do all the things you encouraged others to do. Rock on HipWriterMama!

Anonymous said...

I am 11, and I love to read and write. I would love to be a writer some day.

HipWriterMama said...

Anonymous,
Keep up the reading and writing! This will help you work on your craft and work toward your dream.

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Candace,
Thanks for sharing your story and for your kind words.

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LW,
You are one talented, accomplished woman. I still don't know how you do it all! Can't wait to hear more about the play!

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Elaine,
I know the pain of a hard drive crash only too well. It is painful, isn't it? I love your poetry, so I'll keep my thoughts with you!

Jen Barney said...

Thank you for your kinds words.... I will continue to keep my dream going...

HipWriterMama said...

Jen,
You're welcome. You can totally do it.

Deb Logan said...

Excellent post! Thanks for sharing because this kind of courage is infectious. Here's hoping lots of us catch the bug!

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

I love hearing about how people overcame the negative input of others. I mean, I would far know that everyone was supported all the time, but it doesn't happen that way sometimes. I've had to learn over and over that other people's opinions aren't necessarily correct just because they're other people's opinions. Hurrah for everyone who's persevered, and exhortations of "courage!" to those who feel like they can't.

HipWriterMama said...

Deb,
Thanks for visiting. Wishing you the best in your quest.


Alkelda,
Love that--"I've had to learn over and over that other people's opinions aren't necessarily correct..."

cloudscome said...

Thank you for these inspiration posts. They keep pushing me on! Blogging has really been an open door for me to start to take my writing seriously. Of course I am not letting it stop there. I am gathering courage to face the rejection letters too.

I remember one of the first times I told a new friend (who had published two children's books) that I wanted to write children's books. She laughed and said "Don't quit your day job." That cut me so deep I am still trying to recover. That's how fragile I am.

HipWriterMama said...

Cloudscome,
Amazing how negative people can just suck your confidence dry. Thankfully, I've finally started to tune them out.

Based on what I read on your blog, I believe you enjoy writing for the sake of writing and to create good stories. Carry forth the light within you to guide you towards your dream. You can totally do it.

Little Willow said...

You are so sweet. Thank you. We open in a week!