So a few weeks ago I found myself finishing a written piece of narrative called The Lodger and I wrote a blog post here called An Ode To Writing which basically spiralled into how writing all the time can have both a positive and negative impact on my life. It was mainly a negative commentary which is why it’s ironically called an ‘Ode’. The subject of my complaining was based around my disheartened state that I was left with after writing The Lodger. It was probably about 11pm when I had finally finished it and I had already lost 30 minutes of precious sleep time. This is my first issue; how could a story that only contained 700+ words take up so much of my time? Was I jeopardising my focus at college for some sub-standard piece of horror that I thought of whilst trying to conjure some artificial fear in me before getting to sleep the previous week?
Enter my second concern – was I satisfied with the work that I would be submitting to a teacher who had seen much better work from me? I needed to maintain expectations! I recall thinking that the idea of The Lodger was interesting and different, however my recollection of its execution did not interest me in the slightest. It wasn’t something that brought me utter shame and despair every time I even heard the word Lodger but this was also going to be submitted for a competition where I would be pitted against my fellow Creative Writing classmates to see who’s piece would scare the most and I’m a very competitive person and the words runner-up make me cringe more than the word loser. It’s all or nothing and I should have given my absolute best.
So reluctantly I emailed it to my teacher and requested that he submit it for its fighting chance in the competition and after a few weeks of anticipation, I receive an email stating that I became joint-second place with my friend. Now it may not be first place (and curses to thee who bested me – and congrats) but I remember a warm sense of pride (as well as the automatic disbelief) in myself whilst reading my name in the winners list. To be recognised for your work that puts you through any level of mental turmoil is really rewarding and is really a different feeling altogether. It’s also taught me something.
Being overly critical about something that brings you joy can really begin to deteriorate the experience that you normally feel from it. So what if it’s not 1st place, gold medal standard? There is something out there that is and you can learn from that more than you ever will from grumping about over how perfect something is.
Pride comes in all different kinds of colours – including silver.