“You’re only as good as your last piece.”
These are the words that a photographer friend of mine shared with me recently and I’ve been coming back to this phrase time and time again in my thoughts.
I don’t feel this phrase applies to all artists in the sense of their careers, but rather the way the artist feels inside. Or, more individually the way I’ve been feeling about my writing.
I love writing and I am dependant on that feeling I get when I’ve put together something that I feel is good. It is as fleeting as the sunset, but the satisfaction of creating something that one feels proud of is heroic and once an artist has experienced this repeatedly it is a good foundation for a career, and a healthy outlet for emotions.
This year I’ve had many articles published, fiction and non-fiction, profiles of all kinds of interesting people, articles that were boring to write, and essays that wrote themselves. Yet because I haven’t done anything I feel proud of in the last couple of weeks I feel a sense of emptiness. Some call this writer’s block, but I’ve been writing long enough to know that writer’s block is natural. Eventually the magic comes back, and when it does after it’s been away for so long it’s a powerful feeling, one that at times makes me want to get down on my knees and pray with thankfulness that I am alive.
So what am I writing about here? I am not too young to be writing about writing? That’s something for the Stephen King’s of the world to do, those who have enough experience to actually write about writing.
I suppose I’m trying to get the juices going, to write a prayer to the writing gods, to be thankful that people read what I write, that someone might even read this.
All in all I’m realizing that writing is a humble path, and when the words just aren’t coming onto the paper it’s a blessing to remember that they have flowed on the paper before, and that they will again. The words will once again come with an ease that seems like they are writing themselves. Someday I will have a book on the shelves, but for now I am only as good as what I have recently composed.
I’m just a young man who dreams of being a writer and living the writing life, and that seems like something valuable in itself.
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