Courage…..if you don’t have it, can you build it?

I follow a couple of different blogs that are geared to writers, and something interesting occurred within one day of each other back in March. Rachelle Gardner (an editor) posted an entry talking about having a “thick skin” in the writing/publishing world, and Kristen Lamb talked about courage in her post “Voice – The Key to Literary Magic part I”. What I took from both posts (which arrived in my inbox literally within one day of each other) is that one needs to have courage.
Now, I don’t think I have a lot of courage. Kristen refers to the movie, “Midnight in Paris” (which I haven’t seen, but it is in my queue on Netflix and I will get it this week), and how the main character, Gil, lacks courage. In Kristen’s short summary of the movie, I can identify with Gil – I too yearn to leave my life as a teacher and become a “real” writer (although I don’t make the $$$ Gil is making as a screenwriter – curse the luck! LOL). So why don’t I? A lack of courage, a lack of finances, a lack of believing in myself – these are the reasons why. You see, I don’t have a fiancée snipping at me and my dream. I’m perfectly capable (and able, and do) of snipping myself! But I’m working on stopping that damn inner voice!
Rachel’s blog post also hit home with me. I too have a fragile heart – although the vast majority of people who know me would never think my heart is fragile. I’ve learned to become a master at hiding it, and portray myself as not caring one way or the other about what others say or do to me. Oh….how I wish this was in fact the truth! It’s not, so as Rachel points out in her blog – you learn to survive.
This is what I’m learning to do. Survive having the man I was falling in love with fall in love with another woman. Survive having people who I thought were friends saying they would read my writing and give me feedback, but they didn’t. Survive the uncertainty at work – going in day after day, never knowing if that day was the day I would be fired for something I didn’t do, and had no knowledge of. Basically, surviving life in general!
So maybe this is what courage really is. Learning from past experiences, surviving the pain (and joy) that comes from living life, and waking up each morning willing to try again. I may never develop “thick skin” and I may never have the courage to throw caution to the wind, quit my day job, and spend one year doing nothing but writing. I think courage is an individual thing, and something that we can help to grow (however small the growth may be) over the course of our lives.

So what about you? Are you willing to wake up each morning, and try again? Are you willing to work towards accomplishing a goal, no matter how small the steps you take may be?


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. littlewonder2
    May 04, 2012 @ 12:39:48

    I definitely think that courage is something that can be grown. I’m trying every day, even though I’m not always so consistent (unless when it comes to writing to challenges on wordpress. Oh, why can’t I be like that with my actual writing?).

    I definitely am willing to go step by step, even if those steps are small, because I already do! And I’m hopeful one day I will really have a “thick skin”, or something akin to it. Time will tell.

    I didn’t even let people read my writing in the past, or tell them about it, so I’ve already improved. 🙂


  2. Julia Stevenson
    May 06, 2012 @ 17:36:14

    Trying to grow and become more courageous is HARD! But you’ve got a head-start on me – you’re 22 and I’m 40. Keep trying and taking steps forward – vetter to always try than to stay stagnate! 🙂


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