“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” -Rumi
Rumi’s advice on love is sage, and I’ve been trying to break down some of these love barriers myself lately, but Rumi was also a writer, and I’m sure he would agree that this advice is just as sage when applied to writing.
You might spend countless hours seeking stories, but what good does it do if you put up barriers against sitting down and writing them? If you dismiss every idea that comes to you as not good enough to write, if you make up excuses for finding the time to write them, if you decide that your draft needs at least 23 more revisions before sending it out into the world or that you could use at least 109 hours of research more before your story can be its best, then you might be constructing your own writing barriers.
But you want to be a writer. Why would you make it harder on yourself?
Rejection letters can sting like a break-up. When you submit to an editor or agent, you are slipping a little piece of yourself into that envelope (or email attachment) and giving someone else a chance to turn you down. You might even be afraid of rejecting yourself. What if you’ve always fancied yourself a writer, but if you sit down and actually write the stories, it turns out that you don’t even like what you write? Sometimes, you won’t.
If you want to be a writer, you are almost certainly destined to write some things that aren’t good and to receive rejection letters for even the writing that is good. These aren’t the barriers, they are just natural steps on the path to becoming a writer. The barriers come from the fear of these steps and how you respond to that fear.
So follow Rumi’s advice and seek out those barriers within. Then break them. Write freely and fearlessly. And while you’re at it, fall in love, too.