How to Write Like a Badass: Part 6
“When you sit down to write you sit down with all the writers who’ve come before you.” — Badass Laura Thomas.
(YES, we will get to the last Badass post; BUT FIRST! I want to share with you the ultimate Badass surprise that accompanies the end of this series. Press THIS button. Go on. Press it. It won’t kill you. Well, it won’t kill you if you’re a REAL Badass. Otherwise you might self-destruct. Good luck.)
(Ok, back to the real post:) I’m going to tell you a secret: I’m not really a Badass. I know, I’ve basically lied to you this entire series. But how else was I going to catch you attention? No, please don’t leave, it’s me, not you. Just let me explain.
In a way, you can’t be a self-proclaimed Badass (unless you’re Tony Robbins. He could pull it off). Whether or not I’m a Badass, I don’t know, and really, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is there are other writers I look up to whom I deem Bonafide Badasses. Most of them I’ve never met, some of them are dead, yet I still consider them my mentors. And trust me: we all need mentors. They remind us yes, this does suck at times, and yes you can do it anyway.
Even though writing is your craft, it’s also the craft of all the writers who’ve come before you. They’ve shaped one another, and have been shaped by the writers before them, and eventually shape the writers who come after. It’s the Circle of Life, baby. Just ask Simba.
If I’m struggling with deep literary insecurities, I pull out Dani Shapiro for consolation. If I need to escape to another world for a few heartbeats, J.K. Rowling is my girl. If I need some good grounding in the humility of language, I turn to E.B. White.
There’s a huge community of writers, like you, who’ve walked this path and will welcome you with open arms. The best part is there’s no competition, and there’s always room for more. I hate to break it to you, but every story has been told already. Life isn’t novel.
The good new is, novelty isn’t always the most interesting thing. What’s interesting is that all our stories have shared elements, and now we’re witnessing a new creation from your lens.
The questions we ponder in life — and write about — will never be answered. How maddeningly wonderful! We as humans will grapple with variations of these same questions in perpetuity; chewing on them, giving them different shapes, colors, and textures. Believe me, there’s always room for more lenses.
Don’t be shy. Go on, include yourself in this community of writers. You have much to offer. And know that when things feel impossibly hard, you’ve got support, from your Uncle Willy Shakespeare to your Auntie Harper Lee. They’re there for you, and so am I.
Shine on, you crazy diamond. May all your wildest, Badass dreams come true.
First published on The Coffeelicious