In 1994 I closed the door on a career that allowed me to see the world, both the greatest and worst of humanity
2000 saw me put on robes for my first degree, actually I skipped out that day to pack and find my next home for 3 years
I donned my I’ll fitting blue suit when we laid my mother to rest. Broke ass college student and at that time a failure in most people’s eyes.
My 2nd Chance to walk through graduation saw me in the same blue suit. This time pointing to the sky ensuring she saw my success
A new suit, actually 3, after I had a run if success and a marriage found me in yet another uniform
Hospital scrubs, hat and footies is was my clothes 3 years ago as I brought into the world my greatest accomplishment ever and the greatest I can hope to attain
By Maja Todorovic
Mistake. Not very popular word in our vocabulary and it is something you usually don’t want to hear about. But guess what, we are all just humans. And it means we all do make mistakes. It’s a natural part of learning curve and there is nothing to be ashamed of.
I’ve been in research and writing for about twenty years and after 50+ published papers, numerous research projects, two dissertations, 3 books and year and a half of blogging, I still do make mistakes. And I don’t mean like grammar and typos. Sometimes I don’t manage to express myself as clearly as I wanted or at times I’m not assertive enough to share my work… but that all doesn’t matter.
I’m not talking about these kind of mistakes. I’m referring to behavioral attitudes that many young or new writers somehow acquire that can slow down or even hinder their success in writing as a profession.
First mistake: They don’t embrace their talent and passion (enough)
So you like to write. And you write daily. You have a favorite pen and notebook that you carry around with you all the time so you can write whenever you feel like. But your words never see the sunlight beyond the pages of your notebook. Or you have a novel captured in your computer file that you’ve been working on for ages, but you simply can’t finish it. I know. I’ve been there too.
Most of writers have. You are afraid to share your writing. We all fear judgment, rejection, negative opinions. But these are all just opinions. Rejection letter is more a sign that you need to get deeper into your writing than it shows that you are a bad writer. It shows that you are trying and that’s what counts. In one of my recent posts I wrote:
Instead of thinking about fear, think of legacy you’ll leave behind.
Every writing will find it’s right reader. If it’s honest and authentic, it will. You must share your work. It’s the only way for your message to be heard and it is a perfect way for you to find motivation to improve your writing even more. You are building a bridge between you and that outer world you want to communicate with. The world that want to hear your story. The world that want to be part of your experience.
Embrace your love for writing: start blogging [read more about blogging here] (if you aren’t already), submit that story or poem to your favorite journal and finish that first draft. Finish it and be proud of yourself.
Second mistake: They don’t test the water before diving in.
What I mean by this is that many writers hurry too much in advance to profile themselves as a fiction or non-fiction writers, short story writers and ext. I believe that the best approach you can apply is to experiment and simply play. Yes, play. Try different genres. No matter how uncomfortable it gets.
Not only are you improving your writing skills this way, but you’ll get clearer picture of where you would like to go with your writing. Learn more about yourself this way. For instance, when I was seventeen I got fascinated with earthquakes and volcanoes. So my first degree is engineering in natural sciences. It was followed with job in research and teaching position. Than I branched out into management, still doing research and teaching.
At one point I began to flirt with applying arts in learning programs and innovation management. And as I did somehow radically changed my fields of work and interests, they have something in common: writing and teaching – which is my predominant occupation today. One that is fulfilling, contributional and somehow connecting all my talents and skills together.
So try new things, don’t narrow yourself to one or two styles and writing genres. You are a writer who’s opinion, experience, ideas and creativity matters. Your writing matters and you don’t have to decide now what kind of writer you are. You are a writer. Period.
Third mistake: They don’t treat themselves as a real writers.
For me this is very simple. You are, or you are not a writer. Don’t proclaim yourself to be an aspiring writer, beginner writer or recreational writer. If you are serious about writing, than switch your mindset to think and treat yourself like a professional. You become what you identify yourself with. From that kind of thinking you will find motivation for inspired action to move into more professional realms.
Educate and invest in yourself in mastering your writing skills and building an audience that can serve for your message to be shared and received by the world. That is what you want. And there is nothing wrong to get paid for your words and services. Does your writing bring valuable contribution? Does it entertains, offers solution or maybe people can learn form it? You can find freelance writing job opportunities in areas you are skilled or experienced in.
It might be hard at the beginning in a highly competitive market but you have to start at some point if you want to become a full time writer. Search for additional paying opportunities like contests and journals. You can also offer a course and different types of content creation that are related to writing. But start early, start now.
These are three typical mistakes I have noticed that newbie writers often fall into. Instead of conclusion, I want to share this beautiful poem by Marge Pierce that so eloquently encapsulates all previously said. I hope it will inspire you to treat your craft as an expression of art, because ‘the real writer is one who really writes’.
Alternately titled: “Are you a newbie writer? Try to avoid these three commonly made mistakes.”
Guest post contributed by Maja S. Todorovic. Maja is an educator and writer from Belgrade, currently living in in the Hague, Netherlands. After finishing her PhD in Organizational Sciences and years of academic work, she switched her scientific pen for more creative expressions. With 3 books and 2 dissertations published, now she helps people find their writing voice and experience creativity through their own words. You can connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.
It was a day we should have wanted to remember
My back had gone out 3 weeks prior and I was in 3 pain meds and a bottle of wine
She was battling the demons in that flask
We both thought we knew each other, we had no clue
I was suffering from liquid and pill courage and rage I did
She was an introvert thrust into the spotlight
We both had our abusers in the audience we shouldn’t have survived
It’s been almost 4 years 2 newborns 8 surgeries a 3 week layoff and buying our first house 2 cats adopted one is missing an eye, list a child custody case, we shouldn’t be alive
This is what two brassy people in love look like to us we don’t back down we don’t give up
My fingers roll over the words printed in ink so many years ago
Never in cursive since I’ve always failed at penmanship, should have been a doctor
These days my thumb grows callosed since now we type with one finger
I prefer the roughness of paper and pencil
When I read aloud, my fingers follow the words like they did when I first learned to read, now I trace the words for my daughters, but really it’s the only way I can focus
I want to gently tug at the letters untill they are free from the page and see what pictures they would make if allowed to flow freely
I’m still puzzled at how we decided these shapes of lines and portions of circles define our very existence, we put the value of life and death in them, would we be better off being illiterate
The most important job in boot camp besides latrine queen is floor God
Yes the latrine is the first room a petulant drill Sargent wants to rip apart
But just ponder this, how can the drill Sargent get to the latrine, or anywhere for that matter, he or she must walk
The military is obsessed with shiny things, but what is the shiniest, a freshly and properly buffed floor
Yes go ahead look down you know I’m right
There is nothing like seeing your reflection gazing back at you with ponderous intent than your own reflection
There is nothing as temporary and fleeting as that same floor blemish free for mere moments before a misplaced geel beat smashes down, indicating domination, respect, intimidation
I can still hear the heel taps my drill Sargent wore that announced the end of peace and contemplation
It caused panic and disloyalty amongst fellow prisoners if their own volition
There is nothing as satisfying as standing just outside of the barracks or a long hall, inhailing neverdull and floor striper with just a hint if bowling alley was that you bartered for with a pack of smokes or some Thunderbird and knowing you have reached perfection, when you Bellow socks only muther fuckers and the drill Sargent takes a tumble on his ass sliding halfway down the bay
I don’t even hear the first seventy-fuve minutes of the six hour ass reaming I’m about to receive, and neither does my crew standing like a true band of brothers, quietly admiring our work, quiet professionals who soon will separate and never attain this level of accomplishment. We are the floor gods, you are only allowed in our world when we say and after we have mentally masturbated ourselves for a task completed
Even the drill Sargent pulls us aside to quietly tell ya how impressed he is, only to cut that feeling off as it leaves his mouth. For a nano second we are his equals, nay, his betters
Look at that buffed floor and know that people who you are not worthy to associate with gave prepared the way
80 mph, back wheel lifts up
I’m flying faster than the bike
I’m landing on my hands
These hands that make magic on a keyboard
Make music on a tuba or bass guitar
Make women moan like never before
I land and roll to a stop on the ashpalt
My leathers are scratched, my jeans torn, helmet still on scraped and cracked
I’m alive, in pain, but alive
A year later I’m in the horn of Africa
Dodging ak fire from starving tribes
Cursing out my commander since we aren’t authorized side arms
Dodging the locals who cough up their TB and malaria
Trying not to be the next international incident
It’s late, 4 lane highway 3 hours of overtime just completed
I’ve decided to break it off with my girlfriend and kick her out
I’m too close behind the car in front as it swerves hard into the left lane
T-boned into a truck that a few minutes before crashed into another car
Off duty cop, drunk, his buddies show up and threaten me
I ask for a breathilizer for both, they decline as the paramedics arrive
I’m asked 30 times if I’m alright and I just want a smoke so they let me
As I stand there in the dark lights flashing someone puts a hand on my back and that’s when I collapsed
I’m in the ambulance I’m at the ER
My girl shows up in tears and I forgot to kick her out for 2 years
It’s labor day weeken
I’m moving from Chicago to Virginia
I’m driving solo 15 hours each way
I’m on my 3rd trip
I’ve thrown out my back and I 2 weeks I’m to be wed
I have succeeded to the chagrin of those family members who molested me