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Don’t Give Up

By: Dogwood
On Behalf of Jessica Jones
| July 7, 2021 |

Do you have a dream where you want to take the ideas in your head and share them with the world? Through photography, art, music, or writing? I have for as long as I can remember. I have spent so much time daydreaming, weaving stories and songs in my head, desperate to get them on paper. Too many times I stop, drop the pen on the blank page, and give up before I get started. Anyone else?

I went to college to study music. I wanted to be a film scorer. I had dreams of working for Hans Zimmer or John Williams, spending my days in front of a piano composing the day away. It was a lofty goal, but I could do it, right? I grew up learning that I could do anything I set my mind to. I spent a lot of time neglecting my musicianship because I couldn’t write anything of quality.

What I failed to see is that, while I may have been studying music for years, I had only been writing music for months. It was a brand new skill that I had not put the hours into yet. Since I couldn’t get what I heard in my head exactly right on paper, I gave up. I missed out on what music I could have shared with the world. I swapped to learning audio engineering but gave up on that too. I got the degree but my career in music stopped when I walked across the stage.

Even though I so desperately wanted to share my creativity, I could never get my ideas onto paper. I beat myself up over this for YEARS. Creativity may come naturally but craft takes time.

Learning Not to Give Up

If there is one piece of advice I needed 18-year-old me to hear, it’s this: Don’t give up. It is OKAY not to be good at something the first, second, or fiftieth time you try it. Keep trying. You will get there! Keep the ideas in your head alive and keep trying to share them with the world. Ignore what anyone else says and keep pushing. I believe everyone has something to offer. Even if it just resonates with one person (and that person may be you) it is worth it.

Writing was my first ever creative endeavor. I started writing creatively at nine years old. Today I am 27 and this is my first time sharing it with the world with the intent to do it again and again. It is never too late to start. Last fall, I started writing my ideas down. I started to spend more time with them and develop the stories that have been swirling around in my head for years. It has been HARD. There is so much resistance. I’m finding that the more time I spend writing, learning, and pushing the easier it is getting. Slowly but surely I am making progress.

I am set to publish my first novel this fall. The same old lies keep circling in my head, “this isn’t good enough,” “no one will want to buy this,” etc. I’ve learned to respond to these thoughts with one simple phrase: so what. So what if this story isn’t great? So what if no one buys my book? So what? The important thing is that I am going to do it. Here I am and I am doing it for me.

I encourage you to put the negative thoughts about your craft to bed and just do it. Do it for you. Be proud of YOU. You can do hard things. You are made for hard things. It is okay to fall down, just don’t stay there. Get back up, brush yourself off, and try again. You’ve got this.

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The Dogwood Journal is an online magazine produced by Dogwood Media Solutions based out of Montgomery, Alabama.

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