The other day I had an idea for a story. It crept up on me and floated across my imagination, and I was entranced by it. It was only the beginning of an idea, snippets of dialogue, blurry images of characters, but it was still an idea. And I wanted to write it down. I wanted to bring it to life. For the rest of the day I would occasionally scribble thoughts in my notebook, and that evening I finally sat down at my computer to type it out.
And for awhile, it went okay. It wasn’t the most brilliant story ever, but it was coming together. It couldn’t be perfect, not the first draft. And maybe not the second draft either. But writing isn’t about choosing the perfect words on the first try. It’s about laying the foundation to create something wonderful, something magical. It’s about giving yourself the freedom to play with words, constantly moving things around until you’ve told the story as you imagined it.
But last night I hit a wall. The words stopped being easy, stopped flowing from my fingers. The story was still there, tapping on my shoulder, but I couldn’t breathe life into it. I couldn’t recreate my ideas into words, and there was nothing more frustrating. Because I could still see the story playing through my mind. I knew the characters and their pain and heartbreak and desperate hope. I had fallen in love with them and with their story, and not being able to set it free was distressing. Finally, I sat back and thought to myself, “Maybe I’m not meant to write this story.”
Maybe I’m not even meant to write fiction. Not a novel. Or a play. Or a short story. Maybe I’m not intended to be that kind of writer.
The thought broke my heart a little. Because I knew I wanted to be a writer because of novels. I found so much beauty and freedom in between those pages. I was inspired and enamored, and I wanted to do that for someone else with my words. I wanted to create a book that someone would fall in love with.
I wanted to make something beautiful. I still do want to make something beautiful.
I’m a firm believer in the idea that you can’t be good at everything. And I don’t think we’re meant to be. If everyone was able to do everything themselves, the beauty and mystery of life would start to lose its luster. Things wouldn’t be as special. Life would be predictable and obvious, and we would lose that aspect of being inspired by the talents and gifts of other people. We would all be the same, and we were all created to be unique individuals with unique talents. We are intended to be different, and it is our differences that make us special, wonderful, and absolutely amazing. There is no other like you or like me, and that is beautiful. Freeing even.
But only if we can accept it. Only if we can look at ourselves and say, “I don’t have to be everything. I only have to be me. I only have to do what I was made to do, and do it well.”
I was made to write. I believe that with all that I am. But I can’t write everything. I can’t be the poet or the dramatist or the screenwriter. I can’t be the next John Keats or Tom Stoppard, because I’m not meant for that. And maybe I won’t be the novelist; the next Jane Austen or Jack Kerouac or Ray Bradbury. Maybe I was created for something else, created to be completely myself.
Because perhaps we have to let go of some of our dreams in order to fulfill the ones we are destined to live out. Maybe recognizing that we can’t be something we believed we were intended to be only frees us to fully embrace what we are meant to be. Maybe letting go allows us to reach out and grab hold of something else, something worthwhile, something meant only for you.
Each of us was created with a purpose. We are here for a reason, to do something special that only we can do. God created each of us with certain gifts and talents that the world needs. You are needed, because you have something only you can offer to the world. And it might not be what you thought it would be. It might be something completely different from what you are doing now. It might be something you had never in a million years considered, because you thought it was beyond you.
But even then, you are meant for greatness. You will shine brightly in a world that needs your light and your gifts and your talents. And I encourage you to embrace them and become them and use them as God intended, even if it’s not in the way you expected.
Thank you for reading! And maybe (definitely) follow me on Twitter. I’m pretty entertaining.