I went into this episode of Write Away with an idea. I wanted to answer student writer's questions through the perspectives of experienced creators. What I ended up with achieved that goal, but also offered something unexpected.
I had the opportunity over the last year on Twitter to meet both R. Miotto E. and Jimi Rodriguez through various events. They both had vibrant, friendly personalities and from the inception of this episode I knew that I wanted both of them on the show.
R. is a 2018 RevPit winner with editor Jeni Chappelle. Her book is an Afro-Brazilian YA fantasy that is inspired by her own family history. She also used to be a pretty serious athlete, playing volleyball at a professional level. R. is as kind as she is smart--which is to say she has both qualities in spades. As amazing as she is, R. has excuses that she could use NOT to write (as we all do!). She has two jobs to keep her busy and an adorable new puppy to cuddle. But guess what? She does it anyway, taking what little extra time she has to make her dream come true.
Jimi is the author of the book Chaos, the first book in his From Chaos Comes Order series. The book is available on Amazon and you should go pick it up now! Jimi also has some excuses--he works as a math teacher during the day and he has a family that needs his attention when he is at home. AND YET, Jimi is so passionate about telling his story that he is working on his second book in the series. Working hard, chugging away, and providing the world with the hero YA fantasy needs! Sounds a bit like a hero himself, wouldn't you say?
The point I am trying to make is that both Jimi and R. are "No Excuses" kind of people. They are passionate, they don't let setbacks or critique keep them down, they are making their dream (and maybe your dream too, writers) happen. It is easy to believe, looking at completed novels that the writers behind them don't have the obstacles we have or that they aren't real people. These two are as real as it gets.
This episode means a lot to me. It addressed some heaviness that I had in my own heart. Writing is hard work, getting it right is even harder. Lately, there have been more days that I don't want to write. Days that I am certain I'll never be good enough, that there is no point, etc. etc. repeat. repeat. My first reaction after listening to R. and Jimi speak was "Oh my god, I am SO out of my depth."
And then I realized.
While R. and Jimi are incredible people with their own strengths, so am I. And so are you. The only difference is the way we think about things. Do we face our challenges head on? Do we let critiques get inside our heads and make a home there? Or do we let it visit, take its wisdom, and bid it farewell until next time? Do we allow obstacles to stop us or build our creative muscle?
Do we or do we not want to write?
I am so grateful to R. and Jimi for their time and gracious wisdom. But most of all I am grateful to them for the passion they brought to this episode. To me, that was the real gift, and I hope that it will be for you too.
Check it out. Can't wait to see what you do with it.