Today, yesterday, and the day before, I’ve been filled with some serious self doubts! Am I a good enough writer? Do I have the chops to write? What the hell am I doing thinking I can actually write a full-length novel, when I can’t seem to get 3 damned paragraphs written correctly? What the hell’s wrong with me?
A small, tiny bit of criticism, and off I go running with my tail between my legs, and fill myself, my writing life, with self doubt. Hell, I knew something was wrong with the text, and I asked one soul to review a few paragraphs, and my world went plummeting. I plummeted. I began to question everything I’ve ever written, everything I thought I could do. I began to doubt… myself! So I took the weekend off from writing to lick my wounds, wallow in self-pity, and generally had a miserable time with myself. And just for the record, that person didn’t intentionally make me feel bad about what they had read. I asked for their true opinion. You hear that? I asked for it!
Now the question to myself is, “Do I have the chops to write, or not?” Am I up to the task? Am I able to do this thing I call writing? Can I bring my books to fruition? And, if I can’t endure a 3-paragraph criticism, how am I going to feel when I get rejections from the publishers and agents about my entire book! And I know, after reading many, many articles about it, that I will! I’m no fool. I don’t live in a faerie castle where I believe all things are magical, and all things work out the first time, and…, well, I do, but that’s a story about me personally, where I believe everything is inherently good and positive, well, in my heart. But, I do live in the real world too, and I know, in the real world, people are cruel, and harsh, and self-absorbed, and manipulative, and brutal, and damn, I think I’m not seeing people very positively today, am I? You see what I’m saying though, yes? Life is tough, people can be tougher, and if I’m such a friggin’ softie, do I have any business writing in the first place?
My answer to that is, “Yes!” Yeah true, I’m too soft, and I need to grow a tougher shell to be in this business, but I’ve done a lot of incredible things in my life that I was petrified to do, yet I did them! Maybe not as well as somebody else did them, but I did the things I dreamed about doing. Like when I was singing professionally as a ‘lounge lizard’! No, I’m not being a butt towards singers who travel a circuit and sing in clubs every weekend. That’s just what we singers referred to other singers as, who did the same thing as us! And for the record, we called ourselves that too! The truth of it is, I wasn’t a fantastic singer, but it was a dream of mine to do it, and so I did. And, I’m an artist too! My work isn’t top notch stuff. I didn’t go to a school of fine art to learn technique, but I love my work, and I’ve sold my work at art shows, which meant that other people loved my work too. That wasn’t easy, and I was scared to put myself out there like that, but I did it. And, I’ve always dreamed of publishing my novels as well, and so I will! Maybe I’m not the next J.K. Rowling, and I’m okay with that. There can only be one, her, right? But then, there’s only one of me too! And I think I’m pretty damned good, as a person, and, as a writer!
I’m happy to see the back of this past weekend, because I questioned myself over this very loooong weekend, why do I write? Why do I feel compelled to write? And here’s the conclusion that I came to after some major soul-searching. Actually, it was more like, I swam to the depths of my soul, really digging around in there, searching the hidden corners for the truth, and then digesting what I’d found! The first answer is, I have a lot to say. But that’s not really the truth in its entirety. I mean, it is the truth, as in, I always have a lot of things to say, (and, if you’ve read my older blogs you’ll remember that I was lovingly(?) called ‘Motormouth’ by my family,) but who doesn’t have a lot to say? And that really doesn’t capture the essence of what I found while searching the deepest regions of myself. No. The deeper truth is, I like making people feel! I really love when someone reads one of my stories that they laugh, or cry, or, are scared shitless and can’t sleep because they’re afraid some creepy little hand is going to crawl out from under their bed, up their blankie, and grab their arm in the dark! I love freaking people out, or shocking them into a fit of laughter, or that they blush when they’ve read something of mine that makes them feel a little hot and bothered in their underoos!
To me, writing is all about making people feel emotion about something! I don’t think there’s a better reward for writing than that. That’s the bottom line in my humbled opinion. I write so that other people, anyone, can feel something they weren’t expecting, or weren’t looking forward to feeling, or were shocked to feel, or maybe, didn’t want to feel, but guess what, they felt an emotion about something I’ve written! Not Rowling, but me! My writing. My words. My thoughts and stories. Mine. So what if I received a criticism on 3-paragraphs I wrote and knew weren’t effective to begin with. The reader got the gist of what I wanted to say, but it wasn’t as effective as I wanted it to be, and I asked for the criticism, I expected it because I already knew the paragraphs didn’t work. Does that mean that the rest of the story that I’ve written is shit? No. It certainly doesn’t. It simply means that those 3-paragraphs were shit, and now that I know what I knew to begin with, I can go back and re-work those paragraphs so that they will convey what I want to convey, and, be effective in their telling the story that I want to tell! It’s as simple as that! I’m no J.K. Rowling, or any other writer, and to be honest, I don’t want to be them. Really, you ask? Really, I answer. I just want to write my stories, from the nightmares that I’ve had, and tell it to my readers in the best way I can so that no one will be able to sleep afterwards because they were too scared to sleep! So, the other writers can be who they are, and do what they do, and I’m going to go and fix those three paragraphs so that they are effective, and I want you to know, I’m happy to be…I’m Just Me!