“I’m not interesting enough.”
“What’s the point?”
“I don’t know where to start.”
These and a million other negative thoughts went through my head before I finally quieted my mind and admitted that I wanted to write. As a struggling artist, we usually have to wait around and wait for our next gig… which often can feel like a lifetime. I had been told over and over to write in the meantime. I made excuse after excuse as to why that wasn’t a good idea. But it really just came down to fear. Fear that I wouldn’t be good at it. Fear that I had nothing of importance to say. Fear that no one would listen. But most of all, fear of failure.
My whole life I have feared the idea of falling flat on my face. As a result, I tended to only do things that I knew for sure I was good at. I stayed in my lane. The thing is, when you do that, there’s little room for growth.
Sure, you can get better at the things you’re already good at, but is that really helping you evolve as a person or an artist? No.
So I gave myself permission to do the thing I was scared of the most… fail.
Even though I told myself, “It’s okay if it’s not perfect,” I struggled with it. I would obsess over a scene until I nailed it (which looking back now, I definitely hadn’t), and couldn’t move on until I did. I was getting in my own way again. I just needed to take a deep breath and get something on the page.
We are all individuals. Each of us with our own set of experiences that have both differences and parallels. So why didn’t I feel like my version of a story is interesting enough? No one had ever said that to me. It was something that I had decided. I created that reality. When the truth is, I have experienced many things in my life that are both unique and universal.
So when presented with the opportunity to write a feature, I immediately knew what I wanted to write about.
It took me 25 years to admit that I was capable of writing and to allow myself to tell that story. It took more guts and vulnerability than I had even imagined. But let me tell you, it was worth it. I began to find validation and strength each time I wrote. It causes you to really examine who you are, how you think, why you make certain decisions, and dissect and understand those who do the opposite.
I think writing has helped me not only have a better understanding of myself, but has also given me a new sense of confidence. There was no hiding who I was or what I thought on the page. It was written in black and white. I might as well live my life with the same transparency and vulnerability.
So, if you’re thinking of writing, or telling your story… just go for it. Think about those moments in your life when your path shifted. Those moments that made you who you are. That subject or human interaction that you’ve obsessed over for the past year. Think about it and put it on paper. Take away your fear and doubt, and I guarantee you’ll find something there.
Now, it takes research, analyzing scripts, classes, and a stroke of luck for you to be good (something I don’t claim to be yet). But at least I’m on my way.
You can follow Zoe Kanters on Instagram @zoebkanters.