One of the earliest pieces of writing direction I ever received was from a teacher who told me I had a strong voice.

I had an incredible amount of respect for this teacher, probably so more than anyone I had met up to that point (and even still now), with regards to writing or even just being a well put together person. But I was a teenager, and for whatever reason; because of the context or because it’s the way I was raised to view things like this—I took this as a criticism. I took this to mean I could never be a writer because to be a writer you have to fill hundreds and hundreds of pages with words and with a strong voice I wouldn’t have enough words to fill ten pages. 

I was a teenager. I was an idiot. That’s not the message my teacher intended to send. I can barely hold that logical thread together enough to write it. She was just telling me what she saw. She was telling me what kind of tool I had to figure out how to use. 

I took it as a challenge and spent years filling notebook after floppy disk after flash drive with a million failed attempts at saying something the way I thought it should be said instead of just saying what I really wanted and already knew how to say. And I’ve learned that having a strong voice can be a good thing. You can say much more in a much smaller space. I just had to figure what I wanted to say. And it turns out I have a pretty long list. A list that is hundreds of pages long on its own. 

I hope that at some point I run into that teacher and I get the chance to say you were right, and thank you.