Believe. It’s a powerful word. When I was going through my divorce my mother sent me a glass ornament with the word “BELIEVE” on it. Later she sent an charm for my charm bracelet with the same sentiments. During my darkest hours of emotional turmoil the word became a beacon of hope. Everyday the word took on different meanings and I had to learn to define it not just has faith but as a personal motto. I learned to believe my life was not over. I learned to believe in the strength of friendship. I learned to believe in the love of family. I learned to believe in forgiveness. I learned to believe in hope. I learned to believe in a vodka martini after a particularly bad day. Most importantly I learned to believe in myself – not just who I am as a person, but in who I wanted to be, who I could be, and the dreams I wished to achieve.
Last weekend at my monthly Colorado Romance Writers meeting, a woman gave me some advice that resonated deep into my soul. We begun talking about workshops at RWA and about improving your writing skills. I shared with her my first book took only 8 weeks to write, and whined that I had not finished anything as fast since then. Her reply, “It’s because you believed in your story.”
There was that word again – Believe. I thought about those words over the next few days and have reaffirmed my belief in believing. She was right. I did believe in what I was doing. I didn’t just write a story because I wanted to be a writer. I wrote the story because it needed to be told. I felt an obligation to get as much on the page as possible. I didn’t stop to think if it was publishable, or if I had a character arc. I just wrote because I needed too. It’s probably why that story is still my favorite and why I return to it so often – I believed 200% in the book.
When I look at the piles of unfinished manuscripts I feel a tremendous amount of work ahead of me. I love every story but none of them I believe in as much as I did the first. I’ve never had writers block, but I have been stopped by my own insecurities and growing knowledge. I realized I need to put aside all fantasies about publishing the perfect manuscript and just focus on the real reason I choose to be a writer. I need to tell a damn good story and worry about all the editing, polishing, and boring crap later. I need to immerse myself 100% into the pursuit of putting my belief in my writing and finish these stories. I need to believe in my work and my abilities as a writer. I need to believe in my writing and myself.
Who would have ever thought a person’s life could be affected by a singular word? A word so chameleon it takes on a multifaceted life of it’s own. So many context, so many definitions, so much power.
What are your beliefs? Do you have a word that resonates with your soul? Do you believe, truly believe, in your writing?