Lately I have spent more time at the theater than I have spent writing. It happens this way sometimes. I love both the solitary life of writing, and the energy of creativity and talent in a theater. My last post referenced Little Women, Jo’s manuscript and travel. I had just finished costuming Little Women when I wrote that blog.
I recently finished costuming Man of La Mancha. I believe most people are familiar with the story of Don Quixote and if you are not, read the book or see the play/musical. It is a wonderful story. But, as I was sat and watched the beginning, which I watched each night, certain points of the dialogue really struck me. It happens right after Cervantes is thrown into the dungeon to await the inquisition and the Governor finds a manuscript in his trunk of costumes and props. This is Cervantes’ work, his writing, and he does not want it lost or destroyed. The “Governor” asks him if it is valuable. Cervantes' response is “only to me”. The Governor offers to ransom it but Cervantes has no money. Further, the Governor states that it is paper. Cervantes replies “manuscript”. The governor counters, “Still worthless.”
Worthless? No manuscript is ever worthless. Anyone who has written a novel, short story, poem, song, etc knows that their work is not worthless. At least not to them. The same goes for any artist. Perhaps that is why rejection is so hard. I know of no author who was not rejected before an agent or editor saw it as valuable and arranged for publication. But, the road to publication can be a long one and I think at one point or another a writer simply feels worthless. For some, it is the first rejection and others, the twenty-fifth. We also mustn't forget contests. Often, despite the helpful comments, the low score is what stays with you. With so much of what a writer could persceive as negative, thoughts begin to creep into your mind that you had been wasting your time when others see the work you slaved over, lost sleep over and polished to almost perfection as not worthy of publication, a decent score, or in other words, worthless.
If or whenever you get that feeling, kick yourself in the behind. Any creative activity for which you have a passion for is NEVER worthless. It does not matter if you are the only one who is going to read the story, see the painting or hear the music. If it came from you, from your heart, mind and soul, it will never be worthless.