This is my picture...I took it...I can't even tell you what park we were at...but it's all me. As in, do not use without permission from me...thank you...
I have been writing, as you can read here on this blog, duh, but I have not really been “writing” … my own personal work…that script…that novel…or two…the book, BOOKS, of poetry that need to be typed up and put into the proper format…and if we go there…I have cabinet after cabinet FULL of short stories in need of rewriting and revamping and setting it all up into a decent format for publishing…not to mention a ton of knitting patterns to format and prepare for publication as well…
I have been swimming in this big big pond, mentally, for several months. I mean, months and months. It’s the whole—am I really good enough to do this?
I am lucky to have a rather large community around me, not just of people who are actually ‘recognized’ as writers, but of artists of all flavors, glass workers, painters, sketchers, jewelry makers, knitters, seamtresses, potters, so on and so on. You get my point. I have really creative people around me—and I love that.
But, I’m just a girl…to quote Gwen Stefani… and I get worried and scared and obsessed about not being good enough…not writing well enough…not writing enough…not being able to perform…not being able to produce…blah blah blah blah.
I have that very unique ability—or I did, since my current boyfriend is so far above doing this—to date and/or to live w men who love to play the I am so superior to you card. R has a clue as to how intelligent and how vast the weird knowledge in my head really can be…now and then…when I spring things on him from nowhere…BUT…in my past…the jerks I lived w made me feel like an utter …idiot…not much farther up the food chain than a complete mental retard…and I mean, I married that one man because he completely stripped me of any sense of self…then went on to the other man who did nothing but repeat everything negative the ex-husband ever said or did –with none of the charm or the grace that the ex-husband could throw up at a moment’s notice. Despite my complete assertion that I really should have quit school at 12—since I swear I did not learn ANYTHING the rest of my school career that I did not teach myself—or find outside a classroom (example: physics club was great—but I never took physics; I joined the club w my best friend because she took physics and wanted me to know what was going on so I could help her study…it worked.), I do tend to feel under-educated at times. Just because my public school education SUCKED does not mean I did not educate myself…because I did, I do…I always have and I completely plan to continue to do so for the rest of my life. But still…I have qualms…because I fall into the trap of believing other people, instead of my own heart and my own self.
Anyway…it is not difficult at times to make me feel inadequate. I am growing out of that—I am very empowered—I am so very good at empowering others—and I am learning from what I am teaching others…finally. Having R as a stabilizing force every day really helps. I have spent how much time, if you have followed this blog for awhile, participating in groups to help me expand, to help me find what I am after, what I want and how to get there. Ok, so I do not have the how to get there down 100%--but I am getting there. I have made so much progress in the past two years…I am utterly amazed.
BUT—where I started out was this…I worry…am I good enough to be a writer? Do I need to participate in writing groups? I am completely grateful to SoulFoodCafe and Heather Blakey. It is because of this group I finally found my own voice. It is Kerry Vincent who has had the biggest impact on me though.
Kerry is the one who told me, who tells me, just to write…to write and to write and to write some more, to just keep writing. Patti Digh says the same thing here…more or less.
That is not what you find whenever you talk to anyone who is a writer, who wants to be a writer, who has anything to do with ‘the writing business’. You need classes…you need degrees…you need to belong to this group…you need to belong to this association and that association…you need to attend seminars and you need to subscribe to magazines and…you need to do this and you need to do that…and you need to read this book to tell you what you need to do and you need to follow this writer because she will tell you all the tips and trade secrets and you need to read this blog because this is all inside information…and you need to make sure you have a public presence and you need to network and market and pimp pimp pimp pimp yourself and even then you need to do so much more work before anyone will even so much as think about glancing your way, much less thinking about publishing you in any way…and…and…and…
Now, I am all for improving yourself. I am so all about learning everything you can. I am all for making sure you get a book deal or your poetry published or your article published. I am all for being paid to write, got it? However, at some point, you have to draw the line, or you lose you, you lose your mind, you lose the desire to write, too caught up in too many other things...
Here is my line. __________________________________
See it? Yep. This is me, your freak of the week, extraordinaire. Here is my line. This is my hiatus.
Yes. I subscribe to two, maybe three (I am never sure til they arrive on the door step) writers/writing magazines. I subscribe to more farm and home magazines than I do writing magazines, hint hint. I’d rather learn about composting cow manure and which chickens to buy to have a good flock than listen to one more exhortation about this e-class or this master’s program or this conference…My writing magazines actually tend to sit around before I remember they are there and I go flip through them. Yes, as I knew when I freaked out and ordered them, they are a waste of my time and my money. But I felt more…writerly after I ordered my subscriptions…I felt more…proactive and more involved in my writing career…
Yes, in the past couple years, in fact, not all that long ago—and if I walked into a book store in 5 minutes I would still do it—I have bought tons of writers and writing books. Eric Maisel. Peter Elbow. Natalie Goldberg. Julia Cameron. Ursula Le Guin. Cindy Rushton. I have even bought writing books for E and N for when they are old enough to want to read them. Gail Carson Levine wrote it: ‘Writing Magic’ just for them, I swear.
This does not even begin to tap the number of writers on writing (oh, Mr. Stephen King, anyone?) that I currently have on my bookshelves. This does not touch the actual textbooks I have on writing, be it essays to term papers to thesis construction to dissertation presentation…from writing short stories to noveling to script writing…and everywhere in between…I have as many of the angles that I know about covered…in every way I can think to have them covered. I am not saying I have read every single one of them from cover to cover, but I am getting there.
I started to freak out a bit at the beginning of this year, with all my writing goals. It seems that once I saw these goals as actually attainable, I started to pull back, pull away, fighting the forward motion. Strange, huh? No—not really. I should know…I see it every day…in clients, in friends, in family members, on tv…whatever, wherever. It seems on the whole we are far more afraid of success than we are of failure.
It dawned on me, especially yesterday when I was playing 8 Things with the Magpie Girl, that if the only ‘official’ criteria to be a “real writer” is to be published in, like, an actual printed thing of some sort…be it book or magazine…much less an online source, other than your own personal blog or what have you…then I am a writer. If being a “real writer” is measured by the whole have you actually been paid money to write for publication…then I am a writer. I fell into those jobs, more or less. I didn’t make much money. Some of it was barter. BUT…I did do it. It counts.
Hey, look at what I do now. I actually do get paid to write guided meditations for people. I get paid to write lots of different things for people…do they get published anywhere? No. They are written specifically for one person for that person’s specific needs and/or reason.
Do I write for my own edification? Of course. Otherwise, I’d have given up on NaNoWriMo, much as I gave up on ScriptFrenzy last month—even though I contend that once I am more familiar w the medium, I won’t abandon things so quickly—as in—there is always next year!
Which brings me here, to my hiatus…the more I stress out about I have to be a visible presence online and pimp myself and my writing, the more I do not want to write. About the time this mélange began to trickle into my world, I started to find all sorts of articles about writers getting actual in print book deals—with no social media networking to be found. Like this one. I have a friend, who wishes to remain anonymous at all times, who writes romance novels…I am finding I have many friends who work diligently at their writing, use completely obtuse pen names, and never mention their writing to anyone. They simply write…and keep writing. Period. Some with no thoughts to ever publishing at all. *GASP!* snicker…
One trigger for me recently is my romance writing friend who wants no one to ever look at her, much less know her name, who knows this next novel she is about to finish will be the one that sells and sells big. I have been sending her books on writing and hope and who knows what else, for ages. She has taken my advice and written…and written…and has kept writing. She is doing what I should be doing. Writing. She may have worries about how will I get this published when I am done—but she is finishing it while she worries. A little bit every day. She is not worried about her writing group…or belong to the Romance Writers of America organization…or if she she get a subscription to Writer’s Digest or any other trade magazine…Sure, she wants to be published, but she won’t be doing any book signing tours or anything. We hermits must stick together, you see. It does not in any way make her less a writer …do you see?
So, my own personal hiatus is to stop being driven to write in order to produce something for someone that really does not click w me or work for me…instead of working on my own writing…I will stop pursuing the education of the writer and I will be the writer. I will stop trying to network and market and plug myself…not entirely…because, well, I just can’t anyway. For me to not blog at this point in my life is like saying every single pen in the house is out of ink…and all my bottles of ink have gone dry…then they put me in a dungeon and my feces won’t stick to the walls when I use it to write with sort of scenario (what? You’ve never seen the movie Quills?)
If you hear less from me, or more from me, or different things from me, consider yourself lucky. If not, oh well, at least you know I am working…and very happy about that.