So this week I’ve been at LeakyCon in Orlando.
For those of you who don’t know, LeakyCon is a convention where people interested in nerdy stuff gather and revel in said nerdy stuff.
I am here with Sara Creel and in addition to doing to Harry Potte, LOTR,
Doctor Who, etc. stuff, we are doing the lit track. This means we have access to all the stuff I listed before PLUS panels with famous authors like John Green, Scott Westerfeld, Maureen Johnson and many, many more.
This morning I sat in on a panel called “I was a teenage writer.” In this panel, these super talented and supremely successful authors read poems or stories they had written as teenagers that were supposedly horrid.
The room filled with anticipation as the writers hesitantly brought out papers and shamefully read to us. But the major plots twist? None of them were altogether horrid. In every single one of them, you could see the potential. Some stories had symbolism that no 14 year old should be able to understand. Others were rich in background story. Some showed the writers ability to turn a phrase, albeit not as well as the writer can now.
At first I left feeling almost discouraged. These people clearly had talent from a young age. That’s not to say that they didn’t have lots to learn, but talent nonetheless. And I want to be writer yet I have no written short stories as a child that make me cringe.
But don’t ask me about the stories I made up in my head to go to sleep. Maybe I won’t be a novelist in the future, maybe I will. One of the writers read from a high school newspaper column she wrote because she had no examples of fiction so I’m not completely out of hope. But that’s not what stuck with me the most.
Later in the day I came to a greater realization about the panel. Life is about growing and changing and constantly evolving. So many times we look back at the dumb things we did and just cringe. We think, “How could I be that stupid?”
The thing about life though is it’s a process. You have to do the stupid things to work out your potential. One of my favorite quotes is: “Try and fail but don’t fail to try.”- Stephen Kaggwa. The greatest writer in the world once wrote did a middle school project that is cringeworthy now. The best cellist in the world started out playing scales. Picasso had to learn how to paint portraits perfectly before he could go crazy and do his own thing. When things are hard and you keep going, you improve. To be cliche, there is no shortcut to success. At the end of the day, I wanna be the person who tried hard not the person who played it safe.
Another quote I love is: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Fail again. Fail better.” – Samuel Beckett
You don’t become the best or even good at something by giving up. So work hard. Be your biggest critic but also be your biggest fan. Keep going and keep working hard.
I’ll leave you with a Pablo Picasso quote.
Inspiration exists but it has to find you working.