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Photo by Ronni Kurtz on Unsplash

“Will I Ever Write Something Great? Will I Ever Become A Journalist Or A Writer?”

You’ll wake up one day and wonder: can I make a living out of this? Can I write something as good as these beautiful lines I read?

You’ll think of when you started writing and realize you can’t pinpoint when this dance with symbols on a screen commenced. You’ll smile at how young you were, then reel with sorrow at where you are now.

Creation is a gift we all have. The gifter’s job is done once we, the receivers, open our minds to accept it.

For some, it’s too small.

“I’m not good enough. I don’t know many words. I need to read 100 books before I can write one”

For others, it’s too much.

“What if I spend my life doing this and lose it all? What if I sacrifice my job, my source of income, love, and everything that life has to offer for this?”

I find myself being neither. I find myself blocked by my own thoughts of what writing is, and what it could be for me: It’s not just another challenge, like the ones creatives face, no.

It’s a mindset acquired from thinking about writing more than I write.

No matter what excuse you make for not sharing your gift to the world, you’ll always be reminded, either by some event- or yourself — that you’re not on your path.

I had a glimpse this evening when my cousin, on Facebook, shared an excerpt from Anne Frank’s diary.

This line gripped me like an angry bouncer dragging me out of the club:

“And if I don’t have the talent to write books or newspaper articles, I can always write for myself.”

I read the line. Over, and over.

I read the rest of the quote and could not stop the urge to sit and write what you’re reading.

Is it because the world now knows what Anne lived for 2 years?

Is it because of her doubt as she penned arguably the most read diary in human history?

Is it the wisdom from a girl who read fewer books than you and I; who never knew what a “tutorial;” or online course meant?

When you’re called to create — like all humans are — the resistance is called to stop you. Without recognizing that there’s a force built to stop us, we end up wondering where the time went, blaming everyone, and lastly, giving excuses for why we don’t create.

“Similarly the call to growth can be conceptualized as personal (a daimon or genius, an angel or a muse) or as impersonal, like the tides or the transiting of Venus. Either way works, as long as we’re comfortable with it. Or if extra-dimensionality doesn’t sit well with you in any form, think of it as “talent,” programmed into our genes by evolution. The point, for the thesis I’m seeking to put forward, is that there are forces we can call our allies. As Resistance works to keep us from becoming who we were born to be, equal and opposite powers are counterpoised against it. These are our allies and angels.”
― Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

Anne Frank was stuck in a hole and wrote a book.

What’s my excuse?

What’s yours?

Writing grows with use; shrinks with disuse. Without using the gift, the seed of the idea, the vision never comes to light.

There is no amount of learning that beats taking action. If you don’t know what you shouldn’t do, how do you focus on what you should?

How do you fix a sentence that doesn’t exist? Or a clean a draft that’s in your mind?

All writing is rewriting.

I have done all the thinking, note-taking and idea generation I could — about writing.

But writing itself? Sitting down and doing it? I have found every idea conceivable to not do it.

A writer writes. A filmmaker films.

When Austin Kleon says: ‘Most people want the noun, without doing the verb’, that’s what I think he means.

I put “writer” in my bio. Introduce myself as one — even enjoy the clout that comes with having a few articles read and liked, but I am still not acting like a pro. I still don’t write like my life depends on it.

What would that look like?

Writing to learn how to write. Writing to add value, while discovering who I am; being unemotional about the wins and losses, the fears I have, owning the life I live while taking full responsibility and being accountable to myself first.

The only way writing improves is by writing.

Anne’s doubt got me to write this today. It can’t end here. It can’t remain as doubt because she’s dead — with a book, albeit. She wrote simple words and will never write again.

I, on the other hand, still can. So can you!

All the excuses. The lies. The reasons we use to avoid opening a google doc or turning on a camera or recording that first voice over. These only go away ( slowly ) when we take action.

“And if I don’t have the talent to write books or newspaper articles, I can always write for myself.”

And if you don’t think you have the talent to do any of the things I know you can do, guess what?

You can always do it for yourself. Tell yourself a story. Make yourself a movie. Interview yourself for lessons for future yourself.

“Document, don’t create” — Gary Vaynerchuk

That is what Anne did, really. She didn’t even consider herself a writer!

“And if I don’t have the talent to write books or newspaper articles, I can always write for myself. I need to have something besides a husband and children to devote myself to!

I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I’ve never met. I want to go on living even after my death! And that’s why I’m so grateful to God for having given me this gift, which I can use to develop myself and to express all that’s inside me!

When I write I can shake off all my cares. My sorrow disappears, my spirits are revived! But, and that’s a big question, will I ever be able to write something great, will I ever become a journalist or a writer?” — Anne Frank

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Photo by Oliver Cole on Unsplash

Now I know it doesn’t matter. I understand, slowly, that writing is more important than the book. Telling is more important than the story. Sharing is more important than belonging.

Questions, more important than answers.

Answers are final. What do you do when you know everything? What’s the point when you have the ultimate title? Which “great” creator labeled himself or herself as such?

Greatness is not something we bestow on ourselves. Greatness, by itself, means nothing.

The process- who we become -matters even more.

Will I ever be a great writer or a great journalist?

Psh. Who cares?

Will I write? Yes. Yes, I will.

If you have the gift, it’s the only way that guilt will go away. It’s within your control. You only get better by showing up. Over and over. Learning. Trying. Testing. Experimenting.

Thinking will do you no good; neither would crying. Blaming. Complaining. Procrastinating. Judging.

Writing? That you can do.

Write. Now.

Thank you, Aunty Ju, for inspiring this and reminding me who I am — a writer.

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Written by

Cameroonian writer and video creator. Featured in LEVEL and P.S. I Love You. I write about building relationships and personal transformation.