Dear Younger-Writer-Me, As You Embark upon the Journey of Publication,
Here you are, finally. I'm thrilled to see you pulling those poems and stories out of drawers, seeing them as a reader might see them. It's an exciting time, and I'm so glad you're here. You've been writing for a long time. You're good at it. You love words.
No matter how it may seem, how you may regret waiting so long to get started, remember you're not too late or too early; you're exactly where you need to be. And it's great that you want to try now to get published. One of the most wonderful parts about being a writer is connecting with others, fulfilling that promise of communication. This is what you've been moving toward ever since 4 year old you began jotting poems and thoughts and lines.
You need to know that it's not going to happen right away. This dream of yours, it's not going to go the way you want it to or the way you think it should. As clever as you are, as much as you crave and think you deserve it, there are no shortcuts. You can't manipulate this. Strap on your hiking boots and pack light. It's going to be a long journey. You'll get lost sometimes. You'll want to turn back. You'll want to crawl back into your comfortable skin.
Above all, trust the process. Let go of the outcome. Allow the universe an opportunity to bring this to you instead of you working so hard to make it happen.
Focus on the writing. Like any other skill, it takes practice. You will learn and improve and all those ideas aching to emerge will sing. It takes time. Ten thousand hours. More.
Be brave. Enter contests. Share your work. Ask for help. Listen. Try out other people's suggestions. Sift through the information you're given for the shiny specks. Remember that words are fluid. And there are so many of them! Move them around, discard them, replace them, make up new ones. There is no one right path. You will get there however you get there.
The only way to fail is to stop writing.
Even on the days when you receive a crushing rejection, remember your words are important. The world needs your stories. You are the only one with your particular truth. You must carry on. You've been given a gift – the love of the written word, the patience and wonder it takes to create poems and stories – share it with the world. Love yourself enough to resist judgment and comparisons and envy and those other wastes. Write like the world is on fire, and it's your job to save it. Write like you're an alien visiting from another planet. Write like your heart will stop beating if you don't.
And someday, when you do get published, pop the cork, dance a jig. Then remind yourself it's not about you. You didn't do this. It's the words. And how they flow through you. Pick up your paddle. Go back to the river. Always go back to the river.
You, A Little Further Along the Trail
Thank you, Javacia Bowser for the "Write a letter to your younger self" #bloglikecrazy prompt!