I was hot, sweaty, and tired of packing. Finding a story I’d written in college seemed like the perfect reason to take a break and focus on something else.
The five pages were wrinkled, smudged with dirt, and ripped on the corner near the staple, but they represented something important. That paper was the first story I ever wrote that made me feel like I could be a writer.
As I settled in to read the words I’d written 20 years ago, I looked with pride at the big red A and the “Good Job!” written by the professor. By the end of the first paragraph, that pride was starting to diminish. By the end of the first page, I was cringing.
As I forced myself to finish the story, I was experiencing the kind of embarrassment that makes you squirm and feel distinctly uncomfortable. I flipped back to the first page and scoffed at that A. My professor was delusional, that was the thought flying through my mind.
The story had very little structure, incomplete sentences, typos, and it was so weak I couldn’t believe I hadn’t failed the assignment. I tossed the paper on top of a full box, taped it up, and marked it for storage.
Later that night, as I was going through my nightly routine, my mind drifted back to that paper. I could remember how proud I was to get that assignment back. That’s why I’d kept it all these years. That feeling of accomplishment is what led me to pursue a writing career.
I felt embarrassment at the juvenile work creeping in again and shook it off. Then I sat down with a cup of tea and spent a little time analyzing why that first paper made me so uncomfortable.
You see, I was judging it from where I am in my writing career now. I’ve spent years honing my craft, writing and re-writing pieces until they tell the stories my clients want to share. I’ve learned to edit and proofread. I know about the psychology of writing and the art of persuasion. I know about structure, building momentum, and making a point.
At 17, filling five pages with a story seemed like the equivalent to climbing a mountain. Today it only takes me a few hours. Instead of looking at that first paper for what it was, a milestone, an amazing effort, and a pretty phenomenal accomplishment for a 17-year-old girl, I was judging it by where I am now.
We all start somewhere. I started with a five-page story my professor thought was pretty great. You start with an idea, a passion, the glimmer of a story. Someday, that first accomplishment will bloom into something you can only dream of now. Don’t judge where you are by where you want to be. Just take it one word at a time!
I’d love to help you tell your story. If you are in the market for an experienced, published ghostwriter, contact me today to schedule a free call so we can discuss your writing needs. Maybe you want to write the story yourself and you need a little encouragement and guidance. I can help with that too. Schedule your first coaching call today!