She did not plan; she merely let herself go, and the overwhelming life in her did the rest. It is only when youth is gone and experience has given us a sort of cheap courage that most of us realize how simple such things are. – F. Scott Fitzgerald
If I was afraid of heights, this blog would be my skydiving. I’m hoping that by letting myself go and facing the fear of my failure, I won’t be afraid anymore. I want other timid writers to join me in erasing fear and finding voices here. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s cheap courage reminds me that I have never failed but found other ways to live a happy and genuine life. It’s easier to trust myself than to create a plan that I will never meet.
I don’t attend graduate school for creative writing and I don’t have a journalism degree. In fact, I spend most of my days in front of a computer scheduling calendars. A job, believe it or not, I actually kind of enjoy. No one is paying me to write this and in fact, I’m shelling out cash to a website provider to write this because it frees me. I am showing the world that I’m not afraid anymore and that the world (that’s you) doesn’t need to be afraid anymore either.
This is a blog about writing. Here, I intend to archive the beginning of my writing life. I want to record every embarrassing rejection, awkward handshake, and forgotten deadline. I want to share the good too: events I attend, other aspiring writers I know, and the few actual accomplishments I may have. I don’t want to hide from what interviews gloss over when they ask writers how they made it and they say, “By writing.”
I certainly don’t argue that fact, but in a time when everyone has a brand, I also believe there is a little more to it. Like developing a voice, creating a community, and carefully mining a skill. The desire to write is a gift, but the practice of writing is not. It takes work and imagination and determination. I’m going to address what it’s like to be the new kid on the block in a world where it appears that everyone had an internship at Vanity Fair or has an MFA in Poetry.
One day, I hope I can look back at this experiment as the full documentation of how “I Made It”. Because then when someone interviews me and asks, “How did you do it?” There’s a little more advice than just “Write.”
Amanda Kusek is a stubborn blogger, poet, essayist, dreamer, and the founder of Cheap Courage. The blog is her experiment in sharing the weird journey that one goes on from a nobody with a pen to a somebody with a hardcover. She wants other new writers to join her on the journey and shares her tips, musings, and motivation with them through the site.
Amanda currently writes for AnonMagazine.
She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.