I remember a day in the early 1990s when I was in junior high school in Canada. I was in grade 9, listening to my math and science teacher talk about a former student of his. She had started high school the year before and came back to visit him. That’s pretty easy, since the high school was next door. He told us about his former student’s experience in high school.
She was one of the top students in his math class, and so she entered the AP (advanced placement) math course in grade 10. This was an accelerated math class in which you take a double dose of math in grade 10, then advance through to grade 12 math by the end of grade 11. That was my intention when I entered high school. What he told us though is this, and I’ll paraphrase.
Don’t enter the AP math class. None of you will do well. It’s too difficult for any of you. She was the top student in the class, and she couldn’t do AP.
A math teacher told us we couldn’t do it. He told me I couldn’t do it. I was the top student in his math class, actually. Well, I entered high school and I took that AP course. And you know what? It wasn’t that difficult. I finished grade 12 with an overall average of 98% in math. I received many awards and scholarships based on my math and science marks (physics 97%, chemistry 96%, biology 94%). I was the top math and science student in my graduating class. No wonder I have a lot of science-based posts on here.
You see, I didn’t listen to him when he said that I couldn’t do it. Well, I did it, and I excelled.
But what does this have to do with writing? A lot, I think. Writing a novel is a lot of hard work. Much of the time, you have to keep yourself motivated. I keep telling myself that I can do it. I’m going to finish this book. I’m going to finish this short story for Camp NaNoWriMo. I’m going to finish my second book, my third book, etc. I just need to put my mind to it and get it done.
The big thing is that I can’t listen to the people who say I can’t do it. They say it’s a waste of time and I will fail. It’s too difficult. Well, I say that I can do it, and I will do it. I may not write a bestseller, but I’m going to do my damnedest to write a good book.
If you doubt yourself because someone says you can’t do it, don’t listen. If you tell yourself that you can’t do it, shut up and just do it. You can do it.
I teach English for a living, and I’ve often had students say that they can’t speak English. This is even from high level students. I tell them that they are speaking English right now. You can do it. If they’re worried about the mistakes they keep making, I tell them the mistakes only make them better. Don’t worry about the mistakes. Just try, and they can succeed.
So, if you love writing and you have a story to tell, don’t listen to the naysayers. I don’t. I believe I can do it.