Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Positivity makes the world go 'round
"I'm concerned you will fail..."
As a teenager, these words were enough to make me want to lie in bed and hide under the covers for a very, very long time.
They were spoken by my Year 12 English teacher. Yes, she thought I might fail English. Of all subjects, this was the one I was best at, so if I was going to fail it? You might as well tell me I was terrible at everything.
Mum had other ideas, and encouraged me to prove that teacher wrong, to show her that I had it in me to not only pass, but blitz it. Which I did, resulting in an almost top mark. In hindsight, I think that's exactly what my teacher hoped I would do. I think she used those words very purposefully, wanting to make me do the best I could. What she didn't realise was that she chose the wrong person; if it wasn't for my mum's constant encouragement, I would have just given up. Hidden from the world.
It seems that should have been a warning sign - I'm prone to wanting to hide in bed when things get overwhelmingly negative in my life. (And by 'overwhelmingly' I mean 'even slightly'.)
I didn't write after I finished school, until I began this blog. That's eleven years of having that teacher's voice ring in my ears. That one thought of failure was enough to scare me away from my dream.
But, I'm getting better. When I recently had some not-so-positive feedback on a manuscript, I almost stopped writing again. I actually didn't write any fiction or do any manuscript work for a few weeks following, feeling almost paralysed with self-doubt.
Then, after a recent rejection, I took a day off writing. I spent a day swearing I couldn't do this, that I was terrible, blah blah blah. Then I woke the next day, sat down and read through the feedback (that this particular editor had put together very thoughtfully) and used it to improve the manuscript.
From eleven years, to a few weeks, to one day.
This week, I've had some positive feedback (which I have had a lot of during all that time, by the way - I just seem to have focused on the negative). And I couldn't be more thrilled. This is what I live for.
I'm smiling, I feel I could conquer the world. I'm convinced - I can do anything.
Positivity makes the world go 'round.
Posted at 7:57 PM