Only ambitious nonentities and hearty mediocrities exhibit their rough drafts. It’s like passing around samples of sputum. - VLADIMIR NABOKOV
The quote before the break line was sent to me by a person who believes themselves to be well meaning but is utterly condescending. I had already seen this quote on a Twitter feed I follow by Jon Winokur called @AdvicetoWriters.
When the quote was resent to my DMs by another person, it kind of hurt. I KNOW I'm not a great writer but did that person have to point it out? Of course, I respect Nabokov's work and even consider myself a fan of some of it. I am not going to question the fact that I will never in my writerly life reach the heights he did.
But I'm also not trying to. I'm sharing my work for the simple fact that I can. I don't expect a publishing deal or anyone to actually become a constant reader of this blog. I'm doing this for my own mental health and because I honestly didn't think I would ever write again after my TBI. I was practically told I wouldn't. Yet, here we are.
In the moments all of the anger and embarrassment flashed through my body, I began questioning if I should just close the blog, the social media pages and just quit. Clearly this person thought my writing little more than 'sputum' I was passing around
A streak of stubbornness is in me that's not always obvious to others. It's a bit like a small gold vein in a huge chunk of quartz. Only certain things seem to hit that vein. Other people telling me I can't do something is a surefire way to get me to do it. I have to prove them wrong.
I reread the quote. Despite the fact I don't think my writing is infectious mucus, I AM an ambitious nonentity who actually would like it if she could move up to a hearty mediocrity. Ambitious Nonentity is my current place. I'm okay with that. It's better than just Nonwriting Nonentity.
Sometimes I (and I think others too) can get so caught up in criticism imagined or real that we hold back from trying new things or continuing to do what we love. For YEARS I would start running only to quickly quit bc 1) I am slow, 2) others might make fun of the fact I am not svelte, 3) I am not naturally good at running therefore I am naturally inclined to dislike it. One day I got advice to join a running group. It seemed the antithesis of all I was avoiding.
Guess what? It was EXACTLY what I needed. Yes, I was the slowest, most overweight person there. No one made fun of me because real adults who love a thing don't do that to others. They encourage. They high-five you physically and verbally. They offer support. The make sure to offer any advice they have. They empathize and sympathize when it's tough.
The person who sent me the above quote is a better writer than I. They may indeed one day get that lucrative book deal. They DO NOT share their poorly written stories in a blog. They also send quotes meant to hurt others because they themselves feel insecure. I don't believe they are owning their place in life.
Like with running, I had to embrace where I was in order to move forward. I was a slow, overweight runner. Didn't mean I couldn't run. It just mean accepting what limitations I had and what I had to do to get where I wanted to go. Same goes with writing. I am embracing the title of Ambitious Nonentity.
Are there titles you're afraid to embrace because you feel they are beneath you? How are you planning on moving forward this year with your goals? I think accepting where you are now is the best way to get to that far shore. If you need someone to help you out, I'm here. I offer mostly cookies and top quality vodka, but I will do what it takes to help you get to your goal. I believe in you guys, even if I am just an Ambitious Nonentity.