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  • Writer's pictureS. E. Shinault

An Open Letter to Aspiring Writers

Aspiring Writers, listen.

I was there. Right where you are. Comparing myself to all the successful authors with dozens of already published works, or the ones launching their debuts to share with the world.

It's heavy. Watching other people meet their goals or fulfill their dreams. Even if you're there cheering those people on, and you're genuinely happy for them, you still can't help but wonder, "when is it my turn?" You feel like you're working so hard, but you're still getting left behind.

I'm here to tell you, you're not.

While I'm nowhere near the success levels as some authors with 6K plus followers on their social media, or over 1,000 reviews on their books, I am still proud of the progress I've made. I didn't publish my first novel overnight. You won't either. It's one day at a time. There are no shortcuts, not really. Not if you want to stay true to yourself and your craft.

So, keep showing up. Even if you can't do it every day like all the elitist writing advice tells you to. up when you can. Chisel away at that passion project little by little. Michelangelo's Statue of David wasn't carved in a day. Or a week. Or a month. It took THREE YEARS.

There's no reason to hold yourself to the impossible standards that are imposed on us in this modern age of highlight reels and hustle culture. It will only bring frustration and heartache. That's not to say that you'll wake up and just magically stop caring. Some days will be worse than others. Some days you will get caught up in all the perfectly curated grandeur and wonder what you're doing wrong. You'll wonder when you'll finally get to share your own success story.

You'll get there sooner than you think when you decide this is what you really want. People MAKE time for what's important to them. I don't discount the inevitable obstacles that will come your way. I had to deal with that, too. I'm still dealing with it, and will continue to deal with it in the future. Sometimes you will get blocked, either by life circumstances or your own self doubt. Probably, it will be both. Push through it. Work when you can. Don't give up.

And though I wish it weren't the case, things won't necessarily get easier after you finally publish that first book. There will be new doubts and insecurities that spring up. I'm not telling you to ignore them like they aren't happening. That's not healthy, nor is it conducive to fulfilling your dreams. But I am telling you to be brave and push through. The unforeseen challenges are what help us to grow.

I don't claim to be an expert. I'm still learning. Some might say I still have a long way to go. But the art of writing (or any type of art for that matter) is more about the journey, not the destination. I know, it's an overused cliche. And believe me, I know firsthand how tough it can be to go on that journey, trying to achieve your dream. Sometimes the trip feels more like a nightmare instead. So, I just want to offer encouragement and tell you, don't you dare lose hope. Just look at how far you've already come.

These are words that I would have benefitted from hearing on the hard days. I'm writing these statements of reassurance as much to myself as I am to you. This writing community is full of people at different stages of their journey, and everyone stumbles sometimes. Remember, it's invaluable to have people in your corner championing your work. But it's also good to be your own champion, too.

Keep. Showing. Up.

I believe in you.


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