Friday, March 19, 2010

Suffering from 'Shakespeare Syndrome?'

You're going to write, but first you want to take that storytelling course, right?

And you have an idea for a book, but right now, work is a little hectic, and you don't really know what you're doing anyway ... there's that great new how-to book out you want to read; then you'll definitely dive in.

Excuses, excuses - we all have them. And lots of us may be suffering from what author Marshall Cook calls "The Shakespeare Syndrome."

Not familiar? I wasn't either. But in his book, "Freeing Your Creativity," Cook explains: "The shadow of the Bard of Avon (or some other much-admired writer) may be shielding you from the light of your creative sun. 'I'll never write that well,' you lament. 'So why should I write at all?'"

Cook goes on to say - and I have to say I agree - that's an awfully harsh way to judge yourself. Every story, every vision, every viewpoint is original and worth being heard. Give yourself a chance. You don't have to knock it out of the park on your first try. But don't let fear stop you from trying before you even start.

Don't get me wrong. Writing courses can be wonderful. Books are terrific. But why wait? Write right now. If you learn something new, edit it in later.

My own personal "Shakespeare Syndrome" doesn't stop me from writing. It can however, discourage me from continuing. If I have a bad day, write an awkward graph or struggle with a chapter that just won't flow, I am, I admit, sometimes ready to throw in the towel. No, I won't give up writing, but I'll end up with a drawer full of unfinished projects - and that's not exactly the result I'm aiming for.

So I'll stop, take a walk, maybe read something inspirational, and then come back to the keyboard.

And I remember, then, the words of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar: "Ambition should be made of sterner stuff."

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