I love this quote. Ira Glass (of This American Life fame) sums up everything I ever needed to know to feel better about my writing, and it’s 100% true. My first writing memories are melodramatic stories about exiled princesses who can turn into animals, djinn who fall in love with scruffy thieves and down-on-their-luck innkeepers who embark on entirely unsuitable romances. And these stories were awful. Seriously, they were awful. The dialogue was stilted, the plots were cliché and the characters were flat.
Eventually my characters started getting better, but there was still something missing. I started writing plays (terrible, awful 10 minute pieces of crap), but I never felt proud to attach my name to them.
Once I hit college it got better–slightly. People started praising my work in a different way–there was less of that blank, insincere “this is so good…” and more of “this line is strong, but it could be stronger. I love this character, but her reaction doesn’t make sense right now.” People started taking my writing more seriously; they started to take me seriously as a writer, and I responded–my writing responded.
Today I was re-reading a spec script I recently completed and I realized… I’m proud of myself. I’m proud of my writing. I wouldn’t hesitate to send that script to someone who asked for a sample of my writing. I can proudly say that my writing has been published. It’s mostly on websites like Starpulse or through my friend’s zine, but I also contributed to two books–small contributions, but contributions nonetheless. It makes me feel like a writer–an amateur writer, but a real writer.
It’s a good feeling.