I have a confession to make. I didn’t write very much in December. In fact, I had a great internal battle about whether I should give it up entirely.
Anyone who is a writer knows, you can’t just stop writing. It is something that comes out if you want it to or not. (And more likely when you don’t want it to, rather than when you do.) I pondered for a while but I didn’t talk about it. First, I was afraid my friend would think that I was looking for sympathy or pats on the head. Second, I was afraid my friends might deliver swift hard smacks to the back of my head. (Or even scarier, what if they agreed that I should give up my silly writing dreams?)
Eventually, the simple fact that I was afraid I would be told to give it up, finally sifted through my self doubt to make me realize I didn’t want to. Because if I did, wouldn’t I be feeling relief rather than dread?
I am still wrestling with that dragon of self doubt. It keeps asking me questions that I don’t have the answers to. Am I good enough? Does anyone want to even read what I write? Why would someone chose one of my stories over all the many others out there? What if I finally get my stuff where people can see it and they scoff and toss it aside before giving it a chance; because I over looked something simple, like a spelling or grammar error? (That last one really scares me. I have friends that do that so I know it isn’t just paranoia.)
Writing is a very solitary thing. You spend a lot of time in your own head. This means you face the good and bad about yourself all the time. You struggle with it. When you can, you pen it down on a page. (Pun intended.)
I am not writing this to seek sympathy. I am writing to…well, write it out. Things look much clearer on a page than they do all jumbled up in your head. I am not giving up even though I still feel a bit downhearted at the moment. I am told that many writers go through the “Am I good enough?” struggle. Big names with many book contracts under their belts still doubt themselves sometimes. It’s a hazard of the occupation.
The important thing, the thing I have to remind myself, is to just keep putting one word in front of another. If I can do that then I’m bound to get somewhere eventually.
When I get depressed I buy office supplies. I don’t know why. I just do. A few minutes ago I purchased return address labels.
Will I use them? Yes, probably. Did I need them? Probably not.
I go back to work tonight so that means for the next seven days I will get little or no writing done. The problem is the past seven days I had off, I got little to no writing done. That’s what has me down. Really its nothing new. I often hit lows like this, I think a lot of writers do. It’s that moment in time where you start to question yourself.
This week my son had the flu. This week I had my birthday. (I’m not saying which one.) This week I was attacked by a thousand things left undone while I played doctor mom. So when I finally got time to write I was so exhausted I couldn’t spell my own name let alone form coherent sentences.
I still haven’t heard from any of my beta readers. As of last week none of them had found the time to start my book. This leaves me in limbo with that particular novel. Also my Scifi novel is almost ready to go to my betas but I can’t send it to them until they are finished with the Fantasy novel. I am attempting to find a few new betas but my problem is that I don’t trust the opinions of my back-up betas as much as I trust my current crew.
I have one artist that asks just the right questions, one sister-in-law who is a born editor, and one good friend who is also a writer. They are the best beta readers I could ask for…when they don’t have other distractions or obligations.
Admittedly, I am impatient. However, this is my brand new baby that I handed over to them. No one else has seen it yet.
My woe begone thoughts make question my writing ability. I mean how awesome can I really be if my friends aren’t interested in reading my stuff? I realize that life gets in the way, but part of me (the arrogant selfish part) thinks that my words should be so entertaining that people should drop everything and read my book right now.
Then the circular logic starts. If I can’t display the patience necessary does that mean I’m not really a good writer? If I go a few days without writing does that mean I am not a writer? Have I just deluded myself that I am good at this whole writing thing just because I want to be so badly? It’s that dragon of self doubt raising its fanged maul again.
I am a writer. Why? Because I don’t give up.