Do you ever wonder what path you might have taken and where you might be right now if something hadn’t impacted you in a certain way? I recently read about a writer whose mother had said she (the writer) couldn’t write. When I read that I immediately did one of those mental jigs where I was going, yes!! Me too!
By me too, I mean that my mother also said something similar. I’ve been writing since I was nine. When I was in my early teens, I was writing romance. Nothing of quality, I can assure you, but I was writing, and I thought it was good…no, I imagine I thought it was great. *grin* But I digress. I told my mother what I was going to do. I remember exactly where I was standing (upstairs hallway) too. My mother’s response was, “…be prepared for a pink slip.”
I remember stumbling back to my bedroom and thinking my mom was right. Who was I to think that I could even dare to submit a story to a publisher. I allowed that single moment to affect me for the next 18 years until I got the nerve up to submit a book to Harlequin. It came back with a nice form letter, but I wonder how much further along in my writing career I would have been if I’d not allowed myself to be influenced by my mother’s words.
Now, many years later, I’m left to wonder if she might have been saying something different than what I interpreted her words to mean. What I heard was — I wasn’t any good so why bother. She’s gone now, and I can’t ask her, but I’d like to think that what she really meant was, go for it, just be prepared for the reality of rejection if they don’t want it. You can do it, just accept that it takes hard work to achieve something.
Whether that’s what she meant or not, I’ll never know, but the fact that I allowed those words to cripple me for such a long time makes me wish I’d been a little more confident in my storytelling abilities. However, the fact that I overcame the negative impact of that moment shows growth on my part. Do I wish I’d been more confident sooner? Sure. But that’s neither here nor there. *grin* Wherever I am on the path is where I’m supposed to be on the path.
I still have family members who still scoff and speak derogatorily about my writing romance. They say I write smut. I say I write reality. Sex is supposed to be fun, loving, exciting, and sometimes naughty. Maybe it’s smut to them because their sex lives suck. *shrug* Who knows. But what I do know is this —their negative words are have absolutely NO IMPACT on me. That’s thanks to my mom. Regardless of what she meant when she mentioned the pink slip, I’ve learned not to let the negativity or perceived negativity of people’s opinions, thoughts, and words stand in my way to accomplishing something I want to do.
So what about you? Has someone every told you that you couldn’t do something? How did you react?