It’s hard for me to think of something to write about today — beyond what is looming directly in front of me. Self doubt.
Generally I don’t give in to much of this. In my life I’ve been pretty lucky. I’ve gotten most of what I want in life — but I know that while luck has played some role, I’ve been responsible for creating the situations in which I came out on top. I think that my motto for life has always been “Things Work Out” — mostly because I make them work out or make myself find a way to accept the way that they have worked out on their own. I’m not sitting in a corner office on Madison Avenue, as I thought I might be one day, and I’m glad for it. I am not the world’s best mom…and in some ways I’m glad for that, too.
But as I edit the second draft of my first “real” attempt at a novel, I’m not sure where I stand. When you spend so much time alone with your words, it’s hard to see anymore if they’re any good. The first draft was easy because I didn’t expect much of myself. And now I’ve got this thing — this story on paper, and I have to ask myself, “is it compelling? how’s the pacing? are the characters believable, likeable, relatable?” “will anyone care about this?” “is it actually any GOOD?” The only thing I know for sure is that most of the quotation marks and periods will be in the right place since I have spent my life editing the work of others.
And then I meet other writers on Twitter who I want to see as colleagues or at least as other travelers on the same path — just maybe a bit farther along… I want to see myself as being in the same category as them. I want to think that I’m a great writer, I just haven’t put myself out there quite yet to be judged so. And I find that I’m afraid. I’m afraid that maybe I’m just pretending, maybe I think I can be a writer like Adrian Walker or E.M. Tippetts (new authors I’ve discovered recently who are kicking ass), but when I really try, the world will snort arrogantly because it sees clearly what I cannot. That I’m a dilettante (which, by the way, is the worst insult I could think to give someone like me).
I’m not looking for anyone to say, “hey, buck up little buckaroo!” I can say that to myself. I’m not looking for an established writer to say “we all have those thoughts sometimes” (though that would be nice — but I know that it’s true.) I guess I just wanted to say it. Maybe someone in the same place with their work will find some comfort in knowing that they are not alone.