I know that they say that there is no favourite child. Which, by the way, I hear with plenty of salt. Plenty of salt!!!!! (imagine me screaming this).
And sometimes creations are considered children – you know the brainchild and whatever. But your creation is dear to you, you conceive it and most of the time you can’t believe that you can create something that wonderful. And you keep working at it so that it reaches its full potential. And (forgive the overuse) your heart is so fragile wherever it is concerned. You would want to follow up and make sure it is doing great in the world of publication (or wherever you put your creations). Its your baby – if you are that sort of emotional person who is overly attached to these things.
Where am I going with this?
Think of the best thing you have created.
Something you are most proud of. No one is calling you out on it so you don’t have to say you love everything equally. That post that got a lot of traffic and engagement, that video that went viral and all that stuff. Wondering what the formula was then and how to channel it again.
Or it didn’t meet society’s fickle expectations but you loved it! When someone asks about your craft, it’s the one you want to recommend.
Have you got it? Yeah? Okay
I wrote a short story in my S4. Beats me why I can’t remember the title but that story! That story! I remember the plot though – some intern’s first day at a publication house and it was just filled with mishaps. It was funny. At least all the 16 year old girls I read it to thought it was funny. It was the right blend of everything and I remember it flowed so seamlessly. Like usually for those composition writing classes, you would draft the story and whatever. This one started off with the prompt. ‘Begin your story with ‘I wake up and …’ And the words came raining down. Had so much fun doing it, gave it the twists that seemed to come out of nowhere, and paid absolutely no attention to the time as I weaved that magic.
The teacher called me out to read it in front of the class. And personally I had loved it, even before I handed it in. In my head, I started thinking of how to craft it into a novel. But then I went to chemistry class and forgot all about that. (Chemistry was just so draining)
Yet, when it seemed to get approval from the world – well I still loved it but there was this unspoken pressure where everyone was looking to me to recreate the same. Those strange comments of ‘but you know that story you wrote last time, it was too good.’ Too good to the point that I was scared the magic was done. I studied the same composition before the next writing text. Real studying (or I was probably reading it over and over to feed my petty ego). I saw how the story flowed, how to start, what to include, how to introduce the twist – you know like a real test. I was going to fashion my next story just like that one but with a few changes. So instead I wrote about a lawyer’s first case filled with mishaps. If you read the two, you would see that the second was a poor rip-off of the first.
But that’s the thing.
After getting to a particular high, I worried that whatever else would fall short and didn’t even try. Elizabeth Gilbert references something like this in her book ‘Big Magic’ and uses the example of Harper Lee, who wrote ‘To kill a mockingbird’. I don’t know much about Harper Lee or if what Gilbert wrote was true. But held in by the fear of not recreating the same frenzy with her writing, it took Harper Lee decades to get a second book out. Sure, she probably had things happening that stopped her from writing but Gilbert said that initial success can sometimes be a deterrent. People reacted so well to one thing and you worry if you can’t recreate that original magic they will see you for the fraud you think you are some days. Ok, most days.
What I read about Harper Lee, she was honestly just writing and enjoyed this story. Then the world blew it up for her. Which was a good thing. Till it was not.
There’s something to this. In your journey, you are going to have good days and bad days with your content – don’t be consumed by either.
So feel free to link one of your best works in the comments below (and no the rest of your writing won’t think you a traitor). I truly would love to check them out. And if you haven’t yet, check out the rest of the writing from AfroBloggers as we check off Day 3.