I have a confession to make. I used to be a terrible writer. In English, my native language no less. Now, I would like to preface this by saying that by making such a statement I am not saying that I am a great writer. But I’m a good enough writer to get paid for it from time to time and I’ve dramatically improved from my younger years.
In High School when writing essays started to be really important, I would consistently get Cs and Bs. I was almost a straight A student, and to have English as the one class holding me back really bothered me.
I would get my papers back and they would be covered in red ink. I didn’t have a firm grasp on principles of grammar and I wasn’t clear in my writing; it wasn’t engaging.
I started learning Spanish, which really helped me understand English. I started to better understand how verbs work, grammar, adjectives, etc. Starting from scratch and learning the basic principles of language really helped me with understanding English. It made sense as I have been speaking English my whole life, before I even knew what an adjective or past participle was.
I slowly started to become a better writer. I graduated high school and moved on to college, where my writing skills would be put to the test.
Initially, I was a Philosophy minor, which required me to write nothing but essays as my homework. I also had to pass a Freshman writing test to prove I was “good enough” to move on to be a Sophomore. In my Philosophy classes, I would get so excited talking about ideas, thinking about reality and perception and more. But my writing issues still remained. My writing sounded like a book report. It was stale and bland, each word dying on the page.
After being frustrated and realizing that if I wanted to master Philosophy, I was going to have to be an engaging writer and a clear communicator. I started meeting one-on-one with my professors each week to receive feedback. I started going to the Writing Center for tutoring.
I remember how happy I was when I got my first A on an essay. It was so rewarding for me. I passed the Freshman English exam and was able to improve my writing throughout college.
I wish I could say that I had a natural-born talent at writing and that I’ve always been good at it. I’m often envious of people who are good at something without much effort. But that’s not the case.
However, my writing has improved because of perseverance. My writing has improved because I learned another language, I started reading more, and really cared about improving.
Why am I telling you this? Because I think it’s amazing that 10 years ago I would receive papers covered in red, looking at the editing bloodshed. I was embarrassed and felt like a failure.
Now, I get paid to write. Not a lot, but I still get paid to express my thoughts in a creative way. I sew words together to make them sound pretty. I re-arrange them to make them shift their meaning. I create copy that sells in a friendly, unobtrusive way.
I still have so much to learn too and that is the exciting part. As any type of creative, your work is never really “done.” I still make stupid mistakes, or have major bouts of insecurity, or even have epic fails. This week I received my first big writing rejection. I tried my best and worked really hard at it, and it still wasn’t good enough. The sting of rejection is always painful, but it’s something that I am getting better at dealing with.
I put my big girl panties on and kept working on other projects. I looked back on how far I’ve come and was simply amazed that I AM a writer. Writing used to cause me so much distress. Now it is fun, pleasurable and intense.
So, why is this important? Because wherever you are in your life, whatever struggle you are dealing with, it can get better. If your financial situation sucks, or you feel like you can’t do something, don’t give up. Just keep going and commit yourself to learning and getting better.
You can learn something and improve, even if your mind is telling you, “I’m just not good at that.” Don’t confuse talent with skill. You can learn skills, talent is just a predisposition or an aptitude for something. Hard work does pay off (eventually).
So whatever stumbling blocks you are going through, know that you can overcome it. Work at it. Every day. If you are feeling comfortable, work harder. Do something that scares you. Remember the people you admire are just people. They are not more or less special than you.
So get out there and start doing. Start creating. Start improving. Change things around in big or small leaps. Do what you want because there is only one life. Stop self-sabotaging yourself by saying, “I’m not good at that,” or “I can’t.” Say, “I’m still learning.”
You can do it. I believe in you.
Melanie’s Notes: Check out my other writing around the web.
Also, if you find value in my content and you like what I do, would you consider nominating me for Best Debt blog for the Plutus Awards, starting August 1st? It would mean a lot to me.