Tamara Narayan, Tonja Drecker, Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Lauren @ Pensuasion, Stephen Tremp, and Julie Flanders. You can learn more about the IWSG on their website.
For August, we've been posed the following question: What was your very first piece of writing as an aspiring writer? Where is it now? Collecting dust or has it been published?
The first story I wrote as an aspiring writer was a fantasy novel called Let Silences Be Broken. The story was about a group of magicians who get their magic by voluntarily giving up speech. One of the main characters was an albino woman pursuing a renegade magician. Their minds are blown when they encounter people who speak a different language. I may still have a paper copy somewhere, but otherwise, it's on a floppy disk somewhere in what I hope is an unreadable format.
A few days ago, an article was published on Medium with the click-bait title "You're Not Meant to Do What You Love. You're Meant to Do What You're Good At." The author of that piece apparently thinks skills are fixed and that loving to do something isn't enough to make you good at it. She says that "If everybody did what they thought they loved, the important things
wouldn’t get done. To function as a society, there are labors that are
necessary. Someone has to do them. Is that person robbed of a life of
passion, because they had to choose a life of skill and purpose?...There is only finding a job that suits you enough that the work doesn’t
feel excruciating. There is only finding what you are skilled at, and
then learning to be thankful."
While I agree that there are jobs that may not inspire passion but are still necessary for society, and I also like her later idea that we should focus on giving to others with our skills, I think settling for work that doesn't feel excruciating can still drain the life out of you. (I've had jobs like that.) None of us came into this world with skills; we had to develop them. I may have been born with an aptitude for words, but I still had to read thousands of books; study writing craft; critique other writer's work; and write, write, and rewrite some more to get to my current level of writing. I had to learn the skills for my current job when I transferred into the position as well.
How does one develop a skill? By practice and perseverance. Angela Duckworth's Grit: Passion, Perseverance, and the Science of Success not only discusses how to develop a skill, but how to develop the grit needed to follow a passion despite setbacks. Toward the end of the book, she quotes a poem about writing. I don't have time to type it out, but it talks about how when you first write something, it isn't very good, but the more you work on it the better it gets.
If you love writing, not just the idea of being an author, but the actual thinking of stories and characters, sitting in front of a computer for hours on end to bring them to life, and sharing your work with others, don't let anyone tell you you shouldn't write. Even if your first efforts aren't very good, that doesn't mean you can't improve with dedicated practice. We may not evolve into Shakespeare, we may not be able to make it our day jobs, but it's still worth doing. So persevere with what you love, no matter what anyone else tells you to do.