I was the first person in my generational family to attend college.
I felt proud. I was going to kick ass. I began with innocent confidence that simply because I was accepted, I was good.
That all began to crumble in the fall semester. I received an F on my first paper in the English Literature class. My teacher loved the content, but the writing was awful. I felt crushed. I received As on my writing in high school. Why had they not prepared me better?
My thesis in graduate school is still difficult to read. I followed the rules—have a compelling subject; lead people into my content; write some supporting paragraphs; create a clever close. The bones were all there. But the writing lacked presence. My words did not express me or my intensely lived beliefs.
My writing was lifeless and robotic. I didn’t even care. It was so hard to write what I believed. Failure hurt so much. I had amazing thoughts. In conversation, it was easy to express and inspire people. Yet, when I tried to put my passion on paper to convey the feeling, I failed—over and over. Each attempt was like my heart being ripped out of my chest. I think I still have scar tissue. How could no one tell?
It hurt so much. I gave up. My life purpose was possible without writing.
Then one day, the hurt had healed enough. My heart was ready to share again. And the words had built up inside. It was time to let them out.
I started a blog in 2011. I wrote a little bit every day. I shared it with very few people. I wrote about my life, metaphors in nature, my children, my work, and what I learned. I didn’t care who read it—I wrote for me.
The further I went down the path of writing, the more curious I became. How can I say this, or share this idea with more clarity? I asked for help. I was ready to open my mind to what I didn’t know. My heart was stronger now. I began to care more deeply. I could see the path. My life purpose was only possible through writing. I began to believe that through practice, someday I could be good.
My writing became a holy belief in myself. A way to value who I am, where I have been, and what I believe. When I value what I believe, it helps me value others as well. It improves my work as a coach, mother, partner, and friend. Now, writers who I respect compliment me on my writing—this is unbelievably gratifying.
If you feel like a failure. If you feel writing is impossible. If it feels like your heart is being torn out a little bit each time you fail, you are on the right path for the right reasons. This will lead you to the right work and the world will respond.
Write your heart out. The scar tissue makes you stronger.