Thanks and Trust

Last week, I found out that I won the concerto competition for my orchestra–The Emory Youth Symphony. (For the non-musicians, this basically means that I get to play a big solo piece in a frilly dress with the orchestra) I decided to enter the competition on the fly–only a week before. So honestly, I did not expect to win. Like at all. Therefore, you can imagine how immensely shocked I was when my conductor called to tell me that I won. Two months ago, I had absolutely no intention of entering or winning the concerto competition. Now, the plans for my spring have taken a twist with extra practicing and dress shopping.

Even though I’m still not planing on pursuing violin in college, I’m excited to have won. After all, its a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Not many teens get to stand up in front of a one hundred piece orchestra and five hundred people in the audience to play their concertos. And who know? Maybe I’ll write a novel with this experience as inspiration…anything can happen!

But there is a small part of me–buried deep inside–that almost resents winning. That wishes that I was receiving the positive feedback and encouragement in my writing instead of violin. That would gladly be a mediocre violinist if I could be a more advanced writer.

I’ve been struggling with these feelings for the last two weeks. The fact that my draft of my current book is going (what feels like to me) very poorly doesn’t help the sensation either. I can’t see any visible improvement in my skills and without feedback, I’m not sure how to improve.

I haven’t been able to completely silence these feelings yet. I’m thankful for the opportunities God has given me in music and I’m trying to trust Him to grant me the opportunities that will glorify Him with my writing.

I love this quote by Ira Glass…so encouraging for someone who wants to quit.

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.” ~ Ira Glass

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