When asked about her plans for college, I once heard a high school grad say, “I’m going to study pre-med and see how far I go.” Though she was a capable student, and pre-med was a realistic choice for her, I immediately knew she would never complete her studies. A couple of semesters later she did indeed change her major.
To avoid possible embarrassment if she fell short of her goal, she publically set expectations low. In the end, she met those low expectations. She left herself an out, an escape hatch; when things got tough, she opted out.
I think many writers do the same thing.
- They say they only write for themselves when they secretly yearn for others to read their words.
- They say it’s just a hobby, yet they wish to be taken as a serious writer.
- They say they’re not in it for the money, even though they desire to be paid for their work.
- They say they’re content to write part-time, working around a full-time job to pay the bills, when what they really want is to write full-time.
We can declare whatever we want to about our writing, but we must be honest with our claims, because we will surely live up to—or down to—whatever we say. Our words are a powerful thing.