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Dave Carley has a great Hemmingway quote up at his site:

“If they believe the critics when they say they are great then they must believe them when they say they are rotten and they lose confidence. At present we have two good writers who cannot write because they have lost confidence through reading critics. If they wrote, sometimes it would be good and sometimes it would be quite bad, but the good would get out. But they have read the critics and they must write masterpieces. The masterpieces the critics said they wrote. They weren’t masterpieces, of course. They were just quite good books. So now they can’t write at all.” (Ernest Hemingway, in Green Hills of Africa.)

Remember while you work away the hours on your craft that some people may judge but it’s not about them. There are some people who are friends of your significant other, and there are some people who are not friends of your relationship. Likewise, there are people who are not friends with your relationship with your craft. A person’s craft is a life-altering event. It’s sort of a calling. What do you want to do with your life? It’s more complicated then “what’s your favorite sports team?” It should be more complicated.

For every person who heckles the writer or artist for staying in the background and refining their tools, there is a Michelangelo who sees beautiful sculptures trapped in sheets of block marble, willing to do what it takes to get them out for everyone’s enjoyment. For every girlfriend who wants you to drop the chapter outline in the bin on the way out to the party, there is the Oscar-winner who completely re-wrote that winning screenplay twenty-eight times to teach herself how to get it really right before sending it on. For every impatient critic who tells you you’re whittling away what was a fine story to begin with, there is a genuinely good editor who sees what you’re trying to do and encourages their senior editor to take another look at your submission.

Luck isn’t made, after all, it’s crafted.

It’s not about if you want to write. Obviously if you’ve read this far through the blog of an anonymous writer, this is something you want to do. But it’s about being good. If your priority is to be a just-good-enough-for-strokes then you can play at things and come up with a just-good-enough script. For some people, that’s what life’s about. I’m not judging. But if you want to be good, as in really good so that you solve a lot of life’s other deeper meanings and riddles in the process, so that you really have something to stand by when your done, then you’ve got to pay it forward. It takes as long as it takes.

People impatient for you to be done aren’t people who care about helping you write something worthwhile. Granted, you’ve got to pay your bills and be reasonable to your relations, manage expectations, but your writing is for you. Let it be yours. Don’t feel bad about sacrificing your leisure time to become better at your craft. Don’t let people convince you that you have to write with the door open. You have a right to structure, and preparation and personal evolution. This is who you are, after all. It’s not written on a Hello tag in smeared ink. It’s quite clearly inside. “I am a writer,” it says. There, someone said it for you. Now you write.

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