February 4, 2011

Why I Became A Writer Instead Of An Artist


I wasn’t one of those people who knew right off that they wanted to be a writer. “Back in the day” I sort-of/kind-of wanted to be an illustrator. I liked to draw when I was a kid, and one of my childhood friends loved to write, so we decided that she would write books and I was going to illustrate them.

This is a typical picture I drew when I was about twelve or thirteen years old, and as you can see, I wasn’t exactly a child protégé when it came to drawing human subjects (truth be told, I was better at drawing houses or other square things). As a kid I didn’t let the fact that I wasn't that good detour me from the thought of being an illustrator anyway.

Then my sort-of/kind-of dream of being an illustrator completely disappeared in high school after my art teacher wouldn’t sign for me to go on to advanced art because she said I “fooled around too much” in Art 101 class. I’m guessing it was probably her way of telling me she didn’t think I had much artistic talent. The fooling around part she referred to was me making faces at my sister who spent lots of time hanging around the back door of the art room. I blame my face-making antics on “middle-child syndrome”--you know, that obsessive need that middle children (or children from large families) have to get attention. As for the part about not-pursuing-my-dream-in-spite-of-what-that-dream-crushing-teacher-thought, that part I blame on not really wanting the dream all that much anyway.

Fast forward five or six years. A pile of rejection letters from editors of magazines I submitted to didn’t crush my new dream of being a writer. Writing success came slowly and in little bits, but the thing I had going for me is that I wanted this dream bad enough that I wasn’t going to let any dream-crushing comment or rejection detour me along the way. I practiced, and took writing classes (where I still made faces at people), and attended seminars until I learned the skills necessary for editors to finally say yes.

If you ever decide to give up on a dream, don’t blame it on someone else. If someone tells you don’t have the talent or skills necessary to reach your goal, don't let that cripple you. They may be right, and if they are, then do everything you can to get those skills and foster that talent. If they're wrong, prove it. Success is the greatest revenge against dream-crushers.

4 comments:

exoticat said...

Hah! Love the photo! I think you probably made the right choice. Funny blog. :D

GioLovesYou said...

I don't like dream-crushers. Hey, that sounds like a future piece of art for me. Right now I'm working on "Gnomegio & Riffiet", (deadline: Feb 11th), but procrastinating on finishing it by writing in here instead. Thanks for teaching me that habit!

You Know Who I Am. said...

Great words of wisdom. There are always people who will try to knock you down. And you are so right that success is the best revenge. BTW, love the drawing.

Anonymous said...

You are right on in your sly, subtle attack on "dream-crushers". There should be a special ring in Hades (maybe there is) for guidance folk who limit aspirations. Your style is so addictive, like before you know it, you (one, that is) have spent all that time reading your blog while forgetting to walk the dog, etc.