After Thanksgiving prep, Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving clean-up and prep for Yule, my art bench is back up. I painted for the first time this morning since all that nonsense started. It felt really good.
Two of my four beta readers have not finished Second Thought. That makes me think that perhaps the book is really foul for readers (because these are folks that devour books even faster than I do, which lately is not fast, but whatever….), or I don’t know. Their lives may be mirroring mine. I can analyze and overanalyze all day. It’s just a symptom of a cause I’m allowing myself to recognize recently. My self-doubt about my writing is severe – almost paralyzing right now. I aim to get writing time in today. I haven’t written since Tuesday of last week – at least not anything that wasn’t a journal entry or a blog post. So I need to get back on the band wagon. I wonder sometimes if this is how a junkie feels. Oftentimes I wonder if I’m “addicted” to writing, which doesn’t mean I’m good at it, just that I need to do it. There were a few folks in my Writing Group in the early stages of the group’s development that wrote and wrote and wrote. But they didn’t take anyone’s critique. They didn’t trust anyone. Therefore, they never grew. They aren’t in the group any more. Funny how natural attrition just evolves like that, eh?
I understand I have to go through the painfulness of putting my stuff out there, being vulnerable, if I’m to make my writing worthy of people wanting to read it. I have to get critique and then ingest it, digest it, apply it…learn. I can’t share my stories if it’s not worthy of the reader’s time. I’m very conscious of that. I try hard to make the stories ones I want to read, because I consider myself a discerning reader. But, here’s the rub: There are moments in the creation of a story – short or novel-length – doesn’t matter, where I think I’m dead on. I feel that I’ve got the reader by their heart and soul and they’re not going anywhere except the next page. Then, somewhere, at some point in my work, I can’t seem to keep holding them. I let them go like Vader with a sudden conscience.
I may have to reassess whether or not I have what it takes to be a writer. This may be a temporary low point. It may be the point of no return. It may be nothing, or it may be an epiphany that either pushes me forward, or halts my writing career forever. I honestly don’t know. I can feel change brewing, regardless.
Part of my doubt, I realized in meditation the other day is that I’ve mentored folks that have gone beyond where I’m at now. Students are supposed to go further than their teachers, yes? Just as a parent, I hope my children are more successful and exceedingly more content in their life than I ever was. Yet, for some unknown reason, it still hurts or feels somehow distressing. Don’t get me wrong. I celebrate the successes of those I’ve taught, encouraged, and cheered-on. I would want it no other way. So, when I’m not reaching my own goals, I must put a magnifying glass on what the problem is. Could I blame my full plate? Such as the issues with my special-needs child that are ever present and take up my time inordinately? Children in general, regardless if they are in crisis or with special needs, are time consuming. I was at the doctor’s office three times last week – all with a different child. This week I have appointments every day that are child-centric. Such time demands would be a big kink in anyone’s day. However, it’s a huge one in a writer’s day, I believe.
My spouse asked me yesterday if I’d sold any art recently. I haven’t. Not since before Thanksgiving. It’s distressing to have to answer in the negative to him, since he’s been so supportive. Yet, I set the art bench up again. At minimum, I can’t have unfinished projects.
Today, I’ll try to get my armor on and go out amongst the people and do my normal writing routine. Be productive, that’s got to ferret out something in one direction or another, yes? Keep going. Or quit.
For now, I guess, I am still plodding along. But, I’m thinking about every step and examining it carefully. A creative life is not for sissies. I’ve always considered myself a bit of a warrior and will fight until the end; however, sometimes you have to stop.
We’ll see. The bell may be tolling for my writing goals. I don’t know.