Discouragement (as a Writer and Artist)
By Laura, age 16, California
The crayon in hand began to dispatch its color upon the page; nothing more would have satisfied the young girl other than drawing. As the years went by she was always praised and honored for her art. Those first few years in grade school encouraged her to continue drawing and to improve. As her time in grade school was about to end she found a new calling - writing. Having been congratulated on her abilities as an artist and writer those years in elementary had given her the hopes of becoming a professional artist and writer.
The crayon in hand had disappeared, its place taken by a colored pencil. The colored pencil now drifted across the page, pleasing its master. What else did the delicate equipment need? It had no other purpose than to do what the master ordered, right? Not exactly - the young girl had plenty more to learn. Junior high dawned upon her and yet again her peers praised her, but she had found competition amongst her. This new school called upon new recruits, a competitor or two. The young girl was able to easily surpass those in her old school ... now what? Her foes had much more talent than her, and yet she kept practicing, taking pride that she was at least better than most. Those two years weren't as discouraging in her art as they were in her writing.
All artwork by Laura.
Her English teachers never gave her a satisfying grade, an average paper was all she was able to write. High school was just around the corner - same campus, but different teachers. Her 9th grade English teacher was actually pleased with her writing. Had she improved over the summer? She thought so, having had summer English homework that had her practicing thesis statements and introductory paragraphs.
That was what she liked to see, for the rest of the year she was satisfied with her essay grades. It wasn't that her teacher just gave out grades; it was that she had learned how to write better. She was still amongst the great artists in her class and one of the best writers so far too, but what would come in the 10th grade?
Lazy teacher, yeah, that's what she got. A lazy English teacher who didn't teach, just talked. She was slightly satisfied with her essay grades, but felt like she hadn't improved. She made new friends too, friends who surpassed her in the visual arts. She strived to learn their techniques and improve, but it seemed like laziness got the better of her. Had she thought, What's the point? They're better than me ... I should just give up? Looking back, she most likely thought this deep within her mind.
Junior year began and she got a teacher who swore to them that she'd make writers out of them even if they didn't like writing. This pleased her. Her English teacher had graded a few of her papers, timed writings and one-page analysis essays, but she received average grades. Academic writing did not seem to be her thing. After she got back her first graded essay she frowned, looked at the teacher's comments, and sighed.
"I'm great at intros, great with commentary; it's just my concrete details that lack." She was discouraged. In her first few years as a serious writer she had to improve on her commentary since she had plenty of details, but now she lacked details and had plenty of commentary. She had to find a balance; she still has to find a balance.
As an artist, discouragement continued to dawn upon her, but now, having to think about college and her future career, she decided to take a break and think about it all.
Winter break, almost halfway through junior year, she browsed through the internet and watched some anime, just thinking. That's when it hit her. Her father had bought her a book on learning Japanese and another one on how to draw manga. She was an average anime/manga artist and needed much improvement, along with her writing. While watching anime she finally got an idea about the ending and central conflict of her story. She learned that she must not be discouraged by anything and strive for what she wanted. Get up off your lazy ass and work, woman!
Although I didn't have an internet connection for almost a year or so and had plenty of problems with my computer, that wasn't the main reason why I stopped with my art or writing. I was discouraged by all those better than me. Laziness draped over my whole being and destroyed me inside out. What's the point? I'll do it later.
I'm almost a senior in high school and I have to step it up! I apologize for my laziness and promise to do my best from now on. My New Year's resolution: continue with my writing and my art, improve my writing and my art, and not get discouraged or overwhelmed. Just practice!
NOTE: Yes, this does explain why I have stopped with Jigoku. No, I have not permanently stopped with the story, it shall continue, but I've learned a few things while I stopped writing the story. During my winter break an idea just hit me, and now I finally have the plot for my story. I just have to work on fleshing out my characters a little more and developing certain stages of the story. So instead of more chapters of Jigoku you'll be seeing character profiles and summary. Looking back, Jigoku just started as a mere speck in my brain that has developed into constant daydreams. Those first few chapters were just things that got into my head and I just typed them. I've learned from artists and writers and now know the path I'm taking, so just be patient with me, just a little longer I promise! <3